Your roof protects you from the elements – rain, snow, wind, and the like. It also protects your home from fluctuations in temperature – as long as it’s well insulated. A properly insulated roof can be the difference between a comfortable home and a drafty one. And when your roof is well insulated, you can save money on heating and cooling each year, all while doing your part to protect the environment.
Every part of your home needs to be properly insulated (more on that in just a little bit), but insulation is especially important for your roof. In this brief article, we’re going to look at why you need to insulate your whole home, then we’ll take a closer look at why your roof, in particular, needs to be resistant to heat transfer. Let’s get started.
Why your whole home needs to be insulated
Some insulation is better than no insulation, but a fully insulated home is best of all – and that means you’re going to have to insulate your roof. To understand this, you have to understand the physics behind how insulation works. Don’t worry, this won’t be a whole science lesson. Insulation is pretty straightforward – it stops thermal transfer. Basically, there are pockets of air held between material, and these pockets of air stop heat from entering into your house in the summer, or leaving your house in the winter. Here’s the problem: heat is hard to confine to a particular space. If there’s a spot where heat can escape from or enter into, it will. That means that a single weak point in your home’s insulation can lead to a ton of heat transfer. In other words, one weak point seriously reduces the effectiveness of your whole home’s insulation.
The level of insulation you’re going to need will depend on where you live, of course. Learn about the levels of insulation that are recommended for your climate zone, and make sure to have at least that much insulation in your roof (and throughout your house). As we’ll soon discuss, though, sometimes you’ll want even more insulation than what’s recommended.
Why your roof is the most important part of your house to insulate
We just went on a bit of a rant about why you need to insulate your whole home, so it’s understandable if you’re wondering why roofs are particularly important to insulate.
Two words: ice dams.
You see, when your roof isn’t properly insulated, heat will rise up through your roof and melt the snow on top. The water from that melted snow will then trickle away from the heat source, back into the cold, where it freezes. Soon enough you’ve got an ice dam that threatens to damage your roof and eavestroughs. That’s why insulation is particularly important for roofs – at least when you live in a place where it snows!
Over insulating your roof
One option you can consider is over insulating your roof – and, indeed, your whole home. Doing this can seriously reduce your monthly energy bills, as insulating above the standards set in your climate zone can almost completely eliminate heat transfer. One insulation company that handles a lot of over insulation to meet standards like Passive House, Quik-Therm Insulation in Canada, talks in length on one of their blogs about how R-values (the ratings used in most climate zone insulation guides) are not the only thing that matters when evaluating the quality of your insulation.
If you decide to over insulate your roof, make sure that the insulation you’re using provides a vapor barrier without creating scenarios where humidity is trapped in your insulation. You’ll also want to ensure your home is properly ventilated if you’re over insulating your whole home. Devices like ERVs can ensure that air flows through your home, all while helping you save on your monthly energy bills.
Insulating your roof can help you increase comfort in your home, save you money, and reduce the chances of ice dams. There are many different kinds of insulation out there, each of which are best applied in different climates and structures. Do your research, and your home will be well insulated in no time! Also, don’t forget to maintain your roof and eavestroughs as well.