Crazy as it sounds, most older flat roofs in the UK have little or no insulation. So every time the heating goes on, heat – and money – disappear through the rooftop!
If your flat roof is in that state, the good news is…we can put it right.
It will take some work, though. It’s not as simple as showing up with rolls of insulation and laying them in the roof. We need to look at the spec first, and take some remedial steps.
So – what type of roof are we looking at?
You might have some basic rock wool insulation fitted between the joists. And chances are, there are ventilation gaps to let air flow through the roof.
This is an old method known as a COLD ROOF. It’s designed to blow away the condensation that forms on the structural deck – just like switching on your car’s air-con to blast away mist from the windscreen.
It’s all good in theory. But in practice, it causes more problems than it solves:
…The basic insulation gives very little protection. Heat escapes quickly.
…The ventilation gaps allow cold air to blow downwards, chilling the space below.
…Inside the roof, cold and warm air streams merge and turn to liquid. Condensation follows.
…Most of the condensation gets blown out by the air flow. But some of it clings on, and eats away at the timbers.
…Meanwhile, the roof has become a breeding ground for black mould and spores – a serious health hazard that needs to be treated urgently.
In other words, this outdated insulation method –
• Makes the roof vulnerable
• Raises your heating bills
• And puts your family at risk
That’s far from ideal! So these days, there’s a better way…
The Vanguard ECO-Warm Flat Roofing System uses a solid *120 to 145 mm deep layer of lightweight PIR insulation boards that sit above the roof deck, this layer is then waterproofed with a Vanguard protective membrane.
This changes the ‘Dew Point’ where warm and cold air streams merge and turn to water this process is called interstitial condensation.
This way, moisture is isolated before it can reach the deck – meaning condensation can’t form and weaken the structure.
As a result, there’s no need for ventilation gaps. They can be sealed, so there’s no downward draft and no way for warm air to escape.
So – once you convert from a cold to a warm roof, your heating bills will plummet!
*The depth will sometimes fluctuate based on a what is technically feasible.
Insulation problems are not confined to older roofs. New roofs have their troubles too – if they’re built by amateurs, who won’t take the trouble to install a Warm Roof.
A rogue roofer, for example, will skimp on insulation
to save on costs. Often, they’ll leave it out altogether – and tell you it’s a “luxury extra”!
And cowboys, who botch through ignorance, are no better. They’ll leave you with basic rock wool, or sub-standard boarding. Triggering draughts and condensation…all those problems again.
Ever the master of the understatement is our Dave!
Recently we received a totally unsolicited email from one of our customers Dave.
Now Dave is on his own admission a “self confessed” geek being a software engineer himself.
And hailing from the “frozen north” he is, let’s say, “careful” with his pennies!
Ever the master of the understatement is our Dave!
Over the last two years he’s been monitoring his gas usage.
If you look at the chart he emailed us, you will see that he’s using about a fifth of the amount of gas he has been for the previous two years.
That’s needless to say a HUGE difference! Especially when you consider what we’ve all had to endure with gas prices recently!
Imagine how much money Dave and the other 1000 + of our customers with a Vanguard Eco-Warm Flat Roof will be saving over the next 20 years!
Whatever state your roof is in today, the end goal should be an insulated roof that meets the government’s insulation targets.
It makes sound economic sense. And it’s part of a legal requirement if you’re building a new roof – or refurbishing at least 50% of a roof over a living space.
So any work we do for you will comply with Part L of the 2010 Building Regulations: Conservation of Fuel and Power Volume 1: Dwellings 2021 Editions with 2023 Amendments or Volume 2: Buildings other than dwellings if it is a commercial building.
You can download the documents here if you want some light bedtime reading (not)!
There’s a lot of confusion around this, so it deserves some explanation.
The government wants to limit every property’s impact on the environment. So targets are set around “U-Values” – the measurement used to score building materials for energy efficiency.
A low U-Value is good, as it means less energy escapes. So your roof has to meet – or fall below – a maximum U-Value.
The UK* rules state:
*Wales & Scotland have their own targets and building control rules around the targets.
**This will also be dependent on the overall calculation of the buildings energy efficiency so you may be able to have a reduced target for your roof based on other considerations such as walls and glass U values.
There are also other factors relating to insulation around spread of fire, overheating and thermal bridging that also need to be considered and we can advise you on, but for the sake of this article the main focus is energy efficiency.
You can’t meet these targets with a Cold Roof using traditional mineral-wool between the joists!
Typically you’d need 250 to 300 mm of mineral wool between the joists to achieve a U-Value of 0.16 or 140 to 150 mm of solid polyisocyanurate (PIR) insulation, which means in a normally constructed flat roof with 175 mm deep joists you simply won’t have enough space for the insulation and the the required air-gap of 50 mm.
But with a Warm Roof, it’s much easier.
PIR boards are much higher in density. With the right spec and fitting, they’ll achieve a U-Value as low as 0.11 or even less, and because the insulation is fitted over the top of the existing structural deck and there is no requirement for an air-gap achieving this target is much simpler and easier, giving you a super efficient flat roof.
Keeping you well below the threshold, so your roof is fully compliant.
So what makes what we offer such a big deal?
Because, remember, there are “surveys” and there are surveys. An untrained salesman sitting in your living room trying to convince you to buy a flat roof from them is not a survey.
And a “self proclaimed” pro-roofer taking a casual look around and giving you a “back of a fag packet” price is not a survey.
A proper flat roofing survey takes time and focused effort.
Time to inspect the roof for signs of weakness or decay. Or to inspect the plans, to make sure the roof is designed to eliminate draughts and condensation. It’s a thorough process.
– And it’s all part of a consultation, where we’ll find out exactly what you want, and need, from the roof.
One of our trained flat roofing surveyors will take a look at the roof, inside and out, first. They’ll check the structural deck, insulation and waterproofing layer to find the cause of the problem – taking a video and photos of everything they find as well as an access video for any scaffolding requirements and waste management should work be required and agreed.
They will then discuss their findings with you and give you straightforward advice about your options and including your thoughts and requirements in the design of any potential work. They will then take away all the information, write up their roof survey and upload everything to your cloud based job folder.
What you won’t get, is any of our trained flat roof surveyors sitting in your home taking up your valuable time trying to pressure you into signing a contract.
At this point the Estimating team take over, write up your flat roofing condition report that sets out your options clearly, in plain English as well as creating a proper detailed and itemised Flat Roof Action Plan and Quote, we have the most transparent pricing model in the industry, so you will have NO surprises!
Typically the entire process from start to finish takes about 6 hours to produce (more on bigger projects) as well as vehicle running costs, fuel and overheads and that’s just for the average sized roof! £295 + Vat (£354) works out at just £59 per hour and we are not even going to charge you that! IT’S TOTALLY FREE.