Roof insulation: Half-measures vs integrated solutions - Thermoplastiki
Roof insulation: Half-measures vs integrated solutions
Thermoplastiki BLOG

If you are seeking for a roof insulation solution you are bound to have heard the following tricky phrase: “inverted-roof insulation”. But what does it really mean and how can this be integrated? The roof is typically one of the most vulnerable points of a building. It is the only point exposed to all weather conditions, from extreme contraction and expansion, to erosion due to rain and snow. However, the constant exposure of the roof to temperature and weather changes is not the only problem.

Another reason that makes the roof the most vulnerable point of a building, is energy loss. The extended horizontal surface at the highest point, where hot air is concentrated, is a major problem of heat loss in winter, while during the summer, its constant exposure to the vertical rays of the sun scorch the material and heat the interior, requiring more energy to cool it.

The only solution to these problems is to address them as a whole with integrated inverted roof insulation. With the right work and the appropriate materials, this vulnerable spot can stop being a burden for the building in terms of energy wasted and as regards costs, both in terms of wear and energy consumption.


What does insulation mean?

Many times, people refer to insulation, when in fact what they mean is waterproofing. However, waterproofing cannot solve the problem completely. Moreover, the end result most of the times makes the roof inaccessible and its surface non-walkable. This simply means that in conventional insulation, the result is achieved by adding a layer of asphalt membrane or other similar materials that may affect energy efficiency – as they address waterproofing only partially and do not have adequate thermal permeability coefficients, while they also preserve much of the temperature from exposure to the summer sun, thus requiring – in addition to frequent maintenance – large amounts of energy to cool the building. Furthermore, such a conventional insulation cannot guarantee results in terms of water permeability, since the slightest damage will allow water to easily pass under the materials.
Therefore, many will opt for some type of light insulation, with mortar coatings and light foam plates of various characteristics. In these cases, the results are not guaranteed because of the difficulty in installing the material, the complex process, the possible non-coverage of vulnerable points of the existing structure, combined with the easy deterioration of the material, either due to weather or its low structural and mechanical strength. Besides, these cases do not provide walkability and the roof can only be accessed in emergencies. The end result, no matter how financially tempting, is in fact a temporary solution – because of the vulnerability of the construction – and the maintenance cost will exceed by far the cost of an integrated insulation intervention.


Inverted-roof insulation.

Given the above, inverted roof insulation is the best choice. But let’s just explain what it stands for. In inverted insulation, the thermal insulating material is above the waterproofing material, protecting it from extreme temperatures – which, combined with UV radiation, is the greatest enemy of waterproofing, even more than contact wear. However, this does not provide a walkable end result. The final surface of this type of insulation should be covered by tiles which will allow full walkability while protecting all parts of the insulation in the best and most durable manner. Yet once again there is another important problem: The end result can be too heavy, far exceeding the indicated load capacity of older buildings.


How should a complete solution be?

Let us think about how a complete inverted roof insulation system should be and how it would work best, offering full coverage. First, comes the coating of the synthetic – adhesive mortar that should fully contact the bottom sealant. Next, a highly efficient thermal insulating material is required, with enhanced water permeability properties as well as excellent resistance to structural stress – ideally, this material would be extruded polystyrene – and finally the upper side should be covered by solid tiles, which will allow roof walkability. But are these enough?
Obviously not. As mentioned above, the entire application should be extremely lightweight, if it is to be used as an ideal solution for older buildings. Moreover, it should allow effortless installation even on top of older systems. Finally, the overall construction should not require the creation of thermal bridges, which can typically eliminate the effect of thermal insulation for a fairly large surface of the roof.

Choosing novablok™ xps Terrace

The above features are easily comparable to those of novablok™ xps Terrace, which has certified performance. Novablok Terrace combines excellent thermal insulation with high aesthetics, enhancing both the energy efficiency and looks of the horizontal roof surface, while adding all the properties for which novablok is known for to the value and functionality of the building. Convenience and innovation in the application method of novablock terrace tiles make the entire surface walkable and non-slip without requiring access corridors, while the absence of thermal bridges ensures homogeneous thermal insulation, eliminating the heat loss points formed in conventional insulations. Finally, the material itself has excellent dimensional stability, high resistance to extreme weather conditions and frost and its low weight makes it ideal even for older buildings.

In conclusion, our goal for effectively insulating a roof is to fully meet the energy-saving requirements, to completely protect the building from weather conditions, even in extreme weather, while at the same time allowing walkability on the roof surface and not significantly stress the building structure.


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