Insulation. The basic function of any roof is to offer protection from the elements for people and their possessions. Roofs can also provide insulation, retaining heat in the winter or cool air in the summer. Certain roofing materials – especially those of fibrous origin – offer strong insulation.
Roof insulation can take many forms. The most commonly used material is felt or plastic sheeting; sometimes with a reflective surface. These materials are installed directly underneath other roofing material. Synthetic foam batting or material from recycled paper products can also be positioned or sprayed into roofing cavities to enhance the roof’s insulating properties.
Without proper insulation or ventilation, roofs can begin to experience weather-related problems like ice forming near overhanging eaves. When the ice melts, it can be absorbed into the roofing material, causing issues. Called “ice dams,” these pockets of ice can form when heat escapes through the top of the roof, melting snow at the uppermost point. The water then begins to refreeze as it flows down the roof and collect under shingles and other low points. Over time, this can destabilize your shingles, add stress to the roof and destroy drainage systems and gutters.
Drainage. A roof’s primary purpose is to shelter people from water. However, as large amounts of water collect on a roof, there has to be some kind of drainage system to direct the flow away from the property. This will reduce the chances of water damage and the need for repair.
Many large commercial properties have flat roofs. Their size necessitates roofing material that is highly impermeable to water. Otherwise damage will occur quickly. Low pitch is the most common material used to water proof commercial roofs.
Metal roofing can be beneficial in areas with heavy snowfall because its smooth surface allows the snow to slide off as it becomes heavier. Metal can also resist strong winds effectively.