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Explaining Roofing: What Is Roof Insulation and Why Is it Important?

Roofs are essential parts of any building. They protect your home’s interior from damage by weather elements such as rain, sunlight, or snow and improve the building’s aesthetics.

The roof comprises various components, including decking, rafters, and roof insulation. Although most building owners focus on the outer roofing material when installing new roofs, insulation is just as important.

Insulation prolongs the longevity of your roof and helps regulate internal building temperatures. Keep reading to learn the significance of roofing installation. 

Does Your Roof Need Insulation?

Roofing insulation helps save you roof repair and energy costs. It keeps heat or cold inside when you need it and outdoors when you don’t. Insulation helps regulate the internal structure temperatures to conserve energy. Using less energy saves you money and reduces your carbon footprint.

Your roofing system takes more abuse from the elements than other parts of your building. Constant exposure to weather elements like sunlight, rainfall, and snow may gradually wear the roof, causing insulation damage which affects energy saving. 

So it’s best to schedule roof maintenance services with a seasoned roofing contractor to avoid premature roofing issues and repairs. 

What Is Roof Insulation?

Without a roof, a building’s walls and foundation are vulnerable to damage by extreme weather. A well-maintained roof is the first line of defense against harsh elements, making insulation crucial.

The United States Department of Energy estimates that residential energy use for heating and cooling accounts for around 48% of total energy consumption. The agency also states that a house can lose about 44% of its available energy because of poor insulation.  

Therefore, ensure your home is well insulated to enhance energy efficiency.

Roofing Insulation Options

There is a wide variety of materials suitable for roof insulation. Some are comparatively affordable and easy to install, while others are relatively more expensive and need a professional roofing contractor.  

Below are the most common types of roof insulation:

  1. Blanket or Matting Insulation

Blanket insulation is one of the most popular options because it is affordable and straightforward to set up. These options usually come in rafters or foil-backed rolls, held in place using timber battens between joists or rafters.

While glass wool and mineral are the most common materials for blanket insulation, natural fibers like cotton and sheep’s wool are also commonly used.

  1. Foam Boards

Foam boards are rigid insulation panels that are cut and fitted into the roofing. Polystyrene, polyisocyanurate, and polyurethane are the most common types of foam used to make foam boards.

  1. Radiant Barriers 

Radiant barriers are most useful in warm climates because they limit heat transfer via thermal radiation. These are easily stapled underneath the rafters. This type of roof insulation can significantly gain heat and isn’t very effective in winter. 

  1. Blown-In Insulation

Blown-in insulation involves blowing cellulose mineral fibers into an attic or void in the roof space to fill the gap and provide insulation. This form of insulation requires specialized equipment and knowledge to install, but they are quick to install and efficient in areas with restricted access, such as the voids between roof joints.

  1. Spray Foam Insulation

Manufactured from polyurethane, spray foam is sprayed as a liquid that progressively expands to up to 100 times its original volume. Once it has dried, it will act as a sound and heat barrier.

Advantages of Roofing Insulation 

Here are a few of the many reasons why you should insulate your home:

  • Energy efficiency: Efficient insulation helps you save energy costs. Roofing is responsible for roughly 30% of total heat loss in a structure.
  • Protects your roof from damage: Insulation is an extra safeguard against water and ice blockages, which may cause extensive damage over time.
  • Reducing your carbon footprint: Research suggests that better insulation can help reduce energy use, and reduced energy consumption limits carbon pollution.
  • Preventing the growth of harmful organisms: Insulation plays a significant role in regulating a building’s temperature and humidity, preventing the growth of mold and mildew.

While adding insulation to your roof may increase your building costs in the short term, the long-term savings will more than makeup for it.

Interior vs. Exterior Roof Installation

Your roof’s insulation can be installed from the inside or the outside.

External insulation prevents thermal bridging and doesn’t require you to give up any usable attic space. It is the best option if you are renovating a roof or facade. This method is preferable because it allows access to the frame from the attic. 

Interior roof installation is the best choice for new roof construction. It is suitable if you are yet to fit out the attic and enables you to keep the roof covering intact. 

Considerations to Make Before Installing Roof Insulation

Here are a few things to know and consider before installing roofing insulation:

Flat Roof Insulation is Best from Above

Flat roofs should be insulated from the above. Rigid insulation boards and a new waterproof layer could be installed on the existing roof membrane or directly on the timber surface.

Consider Whether to Insulate the Attic Floor or Roof

Suppose you want to use the attic space as a bedroom or living space. It would be best to keep it as warm as the rest of the interior by installing insulation on the roof. 

However, the floor can be insulated if the attic is rarely visited. This option is less complicated and more affordable. You can also choose to insulate the attic floor and roof, but remember that this is a time-consuming and costly process.

Fall is the Best Time for Roof Replacement

An aging roof is best replaced in the fall. If you are scheduling a roof replacement, your roof contractor can install foam insulation during the reroofing project. Doing so ensures you get your roof ready for the upcoming winter. Re-insulating your roof might reduce your heating costs throughout the colder months.

Keep an Eye Out for Potential Fire Hazards

Find a reputable roofing company that has experience installing various roof insulation materials. They’ll advise on the best insulation option and install it professionally to minimize the risk of fire hazards. 

Roof Insulation Services in Greenville, SC

A well-maintained insulated roof ensures that your home stays comfortable and reduces energy costs. If you’ve noticed a peak in your energy bills, you probably have faulty insulation in your home and roof. Call Greenville Roofing now to schedule a roof inspection.

Our seasoned crew has the expertise to get the job done. Get in touch with us today to learn more about roof insulation in Greenville, South Carolina.

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