Commercial Roofing Insulation: An Introduction

Commercial roof insulation is, as you may have guessed, a specific material that is placed under the roofing membrane. This creates a thermal shield of sorts, designed to regulate the temperatures of your building. This means that the insulation is critical in moderating heating and cooling as well as the costs that coincide with those. Since (I’m sure) money is an important aspect of your life, one of your goals should be to do whatever you can to save it. 

That’s the point of considering a roofing insulation material: limiting the amount of heat that comes and goes from your building. This becomes especially pertinent if your building is in an area that goes through some big climate fluctuations. If you see your bills regularly high (either from too much AC use or too much heating use) then maybe it’s time to consider investing in a roofing insulation based solution. Today, we’re going to go over the basics of commercial roofing insulation.

What are the major types of insulation?


In the world of roofing insulation, there’s a pretty vast assortment of materials. Each of them has their place with different quality values, be it cost, R-value, installation, or necessity in your particular area. Whatever your needs are, an able contractor will be able to offer the best recommendations. A quick list of roofing insulation types is…

  • Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso)
  • Extruded Polystyrene (XPS)
  • Expanded Polystyrene (EPS)
  • Mineral Wool
  • Spray Foam
  • Fiberglass

What are the performance qualities of roof insulation?


When installing commercial roofing insulation, a whole lot depends on the current roofing system that you’re working with and the advice of the manufacturer. Since the types of materials vary greatly (all the way from a foam-like substance to concrete) there’s a few important facets to consider, such as…

  • Insulation R-Value (Thermal Resistance)

The R-value is the term that is used in construction when referring to the insulative qualities of a material or group of materials. This quality examines all of the material aspects of your roof, the most of which is contributed by insulation. If you’re doing a side-by-side comparison of two materials, note that materials with a higher R-value will be more effective as an insulator. 

Of course, this comes with the potential for degradation over time. On top of the overall wear and tear, there is also the Law of Diminishing returns to take into account. This means that if a layer is too thin there is minimal benefit, and if you have too many layers this can add stress to the surrounding materials. 

  • Durability and Resistance Factors

With everything that the elements have to offer us, durability is another very important issue to consider when looking for commercial roof insulation. With the front line of defense being your roofing material and the membrane beneath, your insulation layer becomes the second line. If the materials aren’t enough to hold off an onslaught of weather, then your building that those materials are working so hard to protect is in danger. 

There is also the quality of impact resistance. Moreover in recent years, companies have been striving to create roofing materials that are more resilient to extreme situations. This includes hail, larger debris, tree branches, and more.

  • Fire Resistance

No one wants to imagine having to worry about this as a possible issue, but there is always the possibility of a fire. Always look at the fire-resistance properties and make sure that there has been proper fire testing for whatever materials you may be considering. Another important thing to look for is the fire-rating. Look for a UL Class A or an FM Class 1 rating. 

As mentioned, this is really just a basic rundown of commercial roofing insulation systems. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact Pro-Seal.

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