Commercial Roof Insulation – What Are Your Options?

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As energy costs continue to rise, value engineering in the roofing sector has picked up a pace as clients begin to realise that they can take the opportunity of re-roofing to help them save money over the long term.

Having a roof replaced is usually an unwelcome investment; it you don’t do it you’ll be in serious trouble and your building will deteriorate. But when you do it, you don’t see any tangible benefit, like you might if you had your office interior refurbished.

In this article, we will look at how you can change that with the opportunities that introducing insulation into a commercial roof system can offer.

Current Building Regulations state that, when more than 25% of the roof on an existing building is replaced or refurbished, the thermal performance must be upgraded to meet the current requirement. But we are finding more and more of our clients are wanting to exceed bundling regulations because of the financial benefits insulation will bring.

Various sources calculate that 25% of the heat generated in a building is lost through the roof. That means that 25% of your heating costs are completely wasted. With gas and electricity prices set to rise by 800% that is starting to look like an eye watering waste of money!

The Ofgen price cap is set to rise by 80% in October for domestic customer, which is worrying enough, but even more so when you remember, there is no price cap for business!

Generally speaking, older buildings will lose more heat because they are likely to have less or no insulation, whereas, more recently constructed buildings are likely to have some. Because it is older buildings which are also more likely to require a new roof, this provides the perfect opportunity to value engineer roofing projects (and there are many other ways) by introducing insulation or increasing the existing provision.

Don’t forget, you can add insulation to any roof at any time, not just when it is being re-roofed.

There are a number of different ways in which insulation can be incorporated into a new commercial roof:

Insulating Commercial Flat Roofs:

  1. When replacing the existing waterproofing, insulation can be installed within the new roof build up as part of a ‘warm roof construction’ or as an ‘inverted roof’. Existing flat roofs, if caught early enough, can have additional insulation added without having to incur the cost of stripping off the existing waterproofing.

Insulating Industrial / Metal Roofs

  • Industrial roofs, warehouses and the like are usually covered with trapezoidal roof sheets. There are two options.
  • Composite panels. These sheets are factory produced and comprise an external coated steel weathering sheet, a core of PIR rigid insulation and an internal, coated steel liner sheets. (Aluminium options are also available). They form a long rigid sheet, which are often installed using a crane and large areas can be covered in a short time. They can be used to replace an existing roof covering or in some cases, to sit over the existing roof coverings.
  • Built up systems. These use a similar principal to composite panels but the individual parts are built up on site and the PIR insulation is usually substituted with insulation quilt. Sometimes it’s possible to use the existing roof as a liner sheet, reducing costs and inconvenience.

Insulating Traditional Pitched Roofs

  • Although we think of commercial roofs as being more industrial in appearance, many are constructed with traditional roof coverings, such as slates and tiles. These usually have traditional loft spaces which are relatively easy to insulate using quilt. Some areas (such as sloping mansards) can be insulted with a rigid PIR board. Often a combination of both is the best answer.

How To Decide?

Any commercial re-roofing project requires a bespoke solution and the same applies to the introduction of insulation. Often properties have a variety of roof types and constructions and a range of solutions are required.

There simply is no ‘one size fits all’.

The team at Maguire Brothers have over four decades experience installing various insulation schemes across commercial properties in all sectors. To find out how we can assist in upgrading the thermal performance of your building, please get in touch.

This article, as with all other articles we produce, is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute formal advice and should not be relied upon as such. For bespoke, unbiased advice relating to your commercial roofing project please contact us and we would be pleased to assist.

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