What Will the New Year Bring to the Roofing Industry?

12/30/2013 | By Richard L. Fricklas

A look ahead at 2014

Hybrid systems are regaining popularity. Consider ordering insulation by thickness instead of R-value. The University of Wisconsin hosted a roofing program at its Madison campus in December.

With the arrival of a new year, it is time to evaluate those roofing issues that have recently changed, as well as those that reflect long-term stability and durability.

How Much Insulation is Enough?

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The September 2013 issue of Interface Magazine, the journal of RCI, noted many transitions taking place in the building envelope.

The 2012 International Building Code (IBC), as cited in the Interface article, provides climate zone maps of the U.S. that list the required R-values when the thermal insulation in a commercial roof system is:

  • Above the roof deck
  • Beneath the deck in a metal roof system
  • On the floor of an attic
The December issue of Roofing Contractor suggests a systematic approach to insulating new structures and retrofitting existing roof inventory.

Looking backwards, the oil embargo of 1972-1973 highlighted the sudden demand for energy conservation. A typical roof structure at that time was one with perhaps 3/4 to 1 inch of roof insulation, generally wood fiber, perlite, or glass fiber, with R-values around 3 per inch of thickness. On the West Coast, fiberglass underdeck batts with an R-value of 7 might be used.

Hybrid systems used perlite or glass fiber as a fire barrier, laminated to the desired thickness of newly introduced polyurethane foam. Today, we have reintroduced such systems using cover boards, usually of gypsum board.

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