Cold Roof and Superinsulated Roof Designs

Most cold roofs are designed with upper and lower roof surfaces and other features to encourage a significant amount of cold air to flow between the surfaces. When functioning properly, the chimney-effect of a cold roof draws cold exterior air in at the eave and allows the lost heat from the building to be exhausted along the ridge. If designed and constructed properly, a cold roof is intended to keep the upper roof surface (where the snow builds up) below freezing to the extent possible during wintertime conditions, thereby reducing the formation of icicles and ice dams, and possible resultant leakage.


A superinsulated roof is intended to prevent snow and ice from melting on the roof surface (to the extent possible) by significantly reducing the amount of building heat that is lost through the roof assembly. For a superinsulated roof to function properly there must be sufficient insulation across the entire surface of the roof such that heat from inside the building will not melt snow on the roof. Breaks in the insulation can create thermal bridges and “hot spots” and isolated areas of melting on the roof surface.

BC&E has been involved with the evaluation of cold roofs, cold attics, and superinsulated roof systems exhibiting a wide-range of performance problems, excessive damage, and premature deterioration. BC&E employs a range of techniques in evaluating these systems and developing recommendations and details for repairs. This expertise provides BC&E valuable insight in consulting on these types of systems in new developments in snow-country environments.

Comments are closed.