On buildings designed with little to no roof pitch (i.e., slope to direct water toward drains, scuppers, etc.), or older buildings that may have settled over time, ponding water can be an issue. Depending on how much water ponds on the roof and how long it stays there, solutions are usually developed to help promote drainage. One of the most common solutions is tapered insulation. But how does tapered insulation work?
The first step is always to determine the severity of the problem. If ponding water is minimal, then installing a tapered insulation system may be overkill. Adding drains, scuppers, or even installing relief outlets can solve smaller ponding water problems at a fraction of the cost. However, if ponding water is problematic throughout a large portion of the roof system, tapered insulation should be considered.
The next step is to obtain information on the existing roof system. This starts in the field, obtaining roof measurements and identifying sources of water relief. Drains, scuppers, gutters, etc. all need to be identified and measured out relative to the building. That way, when the tapered system is designed, we know where we are trying to direct the water.
Once information is obtained, the next step is to create a design. Typically, a design starts around the drains and works its way towards the edge of the building. Thus, the drains are at the lowest point possible. This can be complicated depending on the layout of the building and where the drains are located. The drawings below show 3 separate tapered plans that we have installed. Square roofs are always the easiest to design and install!
The last step is to complete the installation itself. The goal is always to stick as close to the design as possible, making small field changes as necessary to reflect actual conditions. On tapered insulation projects, a skilled contractor and installation crew is vital, because small mistakes early on can lead to dramatic problems down the road!
If you are considering tapered insulation, give us a call, and we would be happy to review options for you. The cost of tapered insulation can add up fast, so make sure to ask about alternative options as well!