Roof framing must be designed to hold up a structural load including what is called dead load, its own weight and the weight of the roof covering, and additional loading called the environmental load such as snow and wind. Flat roofs may also need to be designed for live loads if people can walk on them. In the United States, building codes specify the loads in pounds per square foot which vary by region. The load and span (distance between supports) defines the size and spacing of the rafters and trusses.
There are four main types of roofers: shinglers, who primarily install shingles, shakes, tiles, and other nail-on products on roofs with 5:12 pitches or above; metal roofers, who focus on metal panels; single-ply or "flat" roofers, who focus on roofs such as single-ply or foam roofs; and "hot" roofers, who work using tar-based products. It is not uncommon, however, for companies to have their roofers service multiple styles and types of roofing; and certain manufactures will allow only pre-approved installers, thus making these four roofer types limiting. As per the application areas, roofing contractors can be categorized as Industrial or commercial roofers, Factory Shed roofers, Residential Roofers, Commercial roofers. Based on the types of the materials, roofing can be classified as terrace roofing, metal roofing, polycarbonate roofing, steel roofing, PVC roofing, skylight roofing. Pre-engineered companies installs roofing.
Ventilation of the roof deck speeds the evaporation of water from leakage or condensation and removes heat which helps prevent ice dams and helps asphalt shingles last longer. Building codes in the U.S. specify ventilation rates as a minimum of 1 sq. ft. of opening per 150 sq. ft. (1:150) with a ratio of 1:300 in some conditions. Warm air rises so ceiling insulation is designed to have a higher r-value and the insulation is often installed between the ceiling joists or rafters. A properly insulated and ventilated roof is called a cold roof. A warm roof is a roof that is not ventilated, where the insulation is placed in line with the roof pitch. A hot roof is a roof designed not to have any ventilation and has enough air-impermeable insulation in contact with the sheathing to prevent condensation such as when spray foam insulation is applied directly to the under-side or top-side of the roof deck or in some cathedral ceilings.
Most building materials are permeable to water vapour; brick, concrete, plaster, wood and insulation all can fall victim to interstitial condensation, this is why UK Building Regulations require roofs to be ventilated, either by the use of soffit vents, ridge vents, or replacement ventilation slates or tiles.
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