A cold roof is one where the roof deck and shingles remain a similar temperature to the outside air. Through a ventilation and insulation system, heat does not escape through the roof. In Upstate New York, and any area that experiences cold weather, a cold roof is a must.

If you have a home with cathedral/vaulted ceilings, finished attic rooms, or poor ventilation, you might have a ventilation void and not have an active cold roof system. While some of the more modern homes like this have been built to counteract these issues, older homes might experience a host of problems related to their “warm” roof. This can cost a lot of money over time.

Cold roofs require that insulation is above the ceiling and that there is space between the insulation and roof deck to allow for ventilation. Cold air enters the home through soffit vents, goes between the underside of the roof deck and the top of the ventilated area, and then exits the roof through ridge or box vents. This keeps the warmth inside the house, and the cold under the roof and outside the house.

But, why do I need a cold roof?

  1. Ice Dams
    • A warm roof allows for snow directly touching the roof deck to heat up. It will then melt and run down the roof. When the water reaches the colder edge of the roof, it freezes. Over time, an ice dam grows.
    • With warm air below and cold air on top, ice can cover a layer of slush and/or water that is trapped underneath and behind the dam. Sitting water can and will damage shingles, and result in leaks inside your home.
    • A cold roof will keep your roof cold, and minimize any melting of snow and creation of ice.
  2. Condensation
    • Without the proper ventilation and insulation that a cold roof system provides, you can start to see condensation on your ceilings and wall. This can cause permanent and costly damage.
  3. Heating Bills
    • You are essentially paying to heat your roof.

What can be done?

Believe it or not, a cold roof system can be created on your existing roof. So, how does it work? Essentially, a roofer will strip your roof down to your existing roof deck (plywood). The deck may be covered by underlayment for additional protection from moisture, and furring strips will be placed at intervals over the top. Over the strips will be placed more sheathing–basically a second roof deck. This will be covered by a layer of underlayment and then your shingles. Insulation can also be added during this process. What this system does is allow for space between the first roof deck and the actual shingled roof. Air can easily flow through, which keeps the top roof sheathing and your shingles cold—and your home warm!

If you think you might need a cold roof system (or you have a cold roof that needs replacing), we can help! Contact us today for a free evaluation and estimate for residential customers, 585-400-7663 or office@400roof.com.