There’s so much to worry about with a roof that for the average homeowner, it can just be nearly maddening, can’t it? You’re bombarded with a billion choices for the design and slope of your roof, the material you use, the whole ordeal of seeking out a contractor (and you better have a good contractor like RGB, or you’ll have unforeseen problems down the line). It makes you want to throw your hands up in the air and just pay someone else to worry about it for you.
You can do that, and you might wind up with a consultant that’s on top of their stuff, but you run the risk that they’re not. When it comes to your home, and especially your roof, it’s a great idea to include informed advice in your decisions (why else would you be here right now?), but you really need to make the final, informed decisions yourself.
Consider just how important your roof is. It works tirelessly to deflect sunlight and heat, while (if properly insulated) keeping your climate control properly contained, and the outdoor climate kept out. Your roof also has to defend against severe winds and hail, as well as debris and pests, which are forever trying to get into your home (and a roof is a shortcut they will be happy to use).
The biggest thing, though, is water damage. Leaky roofs are unpleasant in general, and shorthand for disrepair in a lot of media, but the reaching, lasting damage done by water damage are no joke, not in the slightest. As water damage spreads through your ceiling and your walls, all heck breaks loose. Your superstructure begins to warp and be compromised, placing your home at risk of collapse in time. The roof is usually the first thing to go when this happens, which can be fatal if you’re in there.
Your plaster and drywall will decay and turn to mush, which will bring more pests in. You run the risk of electrical fires as your wiring decays and is compromised. When decayed drywall dries, it’s also very combustible in these conditions. While these fires are somewhat rare due to the persistence of moisture, another fatal thing almost always happens – mold.
Mold isn’t unanimously lethal or toxic, but none of it is good for you, and it’s all very unpleasant. Black mold, which is the more common one, however, can actually kill people. The elderly, the ill and the very young can become sick or even die after enough exposure. Pets will also be very susceptible to this. Even a healthy person in the prime of their life will suffer health problems from black mold, and potentially become a casualty.
All of this is why a roof that is in proper shape, and properly insulated, is crucial for your resale value, required by your insurance, and demanded by code enforcement.
Today, we’re going to illustrate why insulation is such a key part of your roof, and how it prevents a lot of the problems we’ve pointed out, as well as some others.
Don’t let this heading bother you, you needn’t understand the fundamental sciences of thermodynamics to appreciate insulation’s impact on it. When you insulate your attic space and your walls, you’re preventing what’s called convective motion. Convective motion is the movement of air (or fluids which gases technically are) when there are significant temperature differences.
Without proper insulation in the walls and ceiling, cold air will be pulled in through the foundation and lower levels, which will also force the building hot air above downward, creating a convective process that will thwart your climate control and bring in lots of contaminants such as pollen and moisture.
Ice dams are a problem for homes in places with strong, harsh winters. An ice dam is a buildup of ice where it’s melted and refrozen atop the roof. This adds a lot of weight on top of the roof, and it allows water from snow and ice melts to become trapped on your roof, rather than allowing the gutters to drain it away as it should.
Ice dams are basically little glaciers which can devastate your shingles, which allows the pooling water to find ways in, and then you have roof leaks. With insulation in place, you can keep some heat trapped in the attic in the winter. Some of it has to be radiated outward to prevent water from freezing to your roof, but surprisingly little of it has to do this.
Insulation isn’t just about trapping climate control inside, and keeping weather temperatures out. It also works to help control humidity, which is another leading cause of ice forming in your attic, or the presence of moisture which can eat away at your deck and your ceiling, to allow nastier leaks in.
Attic moisture is a common problem, and it takes remarkably little moisture to actually cultivate pests and molds, which will in turn spread, do more damage, and it becomes a runaway effect that you can’t easily contain.
What Is Insulation?
Insulation can be made of a variety of materials, including polymers and fiberglass. Fiberglass insulation is most common, because it’s a versatile and affordable material. It’s not conductive, meaning it doesn’t allow heat exchange when it’s a barrier between two temperatures. This is why fiberglass is such a popular material for window frames, car bodies, pool liners and all manner of other things.
Insulation can come in strips with paper backing, or it can be a loose material blown in to fill a space. Most homes will use a mix of the two, with the strips used in walls and ceilings, and attic spaces having blown-in insulation.
DIY or Not?
You probably shouldn’t do this yourself. Tacking up insulation in walls is pretty straightforward, and just involves measuring the space between studs, and fastening it down to required levels. But, to insulate your roof, you really need to know what you’re doing.
Equipment to blow insulation in is expensive to rent, and by having a roofing contractor do this, you’re actually saving money. Also, fiberglass insulation is unpleasant, the glass microfibers get in your skin, and it’s irritating for days.
Insulation is critical to your house being resilient, and it’s also important for the effective operation of your heat and air conditioning. Are you unsure if you’re insulated properly? Fill out our contact form today!