• Mark Forbes

Keeping the “Cold” in Your Cold Storage Facility

Keep Your Cold Storage Facility Cold with the Right Roof

The design and quality of construction of the roof on a cold storage facility has a profound effect on the efficiency of the building and the cost to operate it. A cold storage roof that uses improper materials or construction methods can cause expensive problems that are difficult to correct.


Here’s a brief look at cold storage roof construction methods and signs that your roof may have inadequate materials or is installed improperly .

Keeping it Cold!

A cold storage building must maintain a consistent cool or cold interior temperature. As you can imagine, these buildings require adequate insulation to efficiently maintain these frigid temperatures.


According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers’ refrigeration handbook, cold storage facilities require roof insulation with minimum R-values of between 30 and 60, with colder applications calling for higher R-values. A higher R-value means the insulation is more efficient.

Adding the R-values of the layers of insulation will determine the roof’s R-value rating. In cold storage facilities, common insulation materials include polyisocyanurate, extruded polystyrene and expanded polystyrene.

Stagger that Insulation

According to roof materials manufacturer GAF, best practice is to “install several layers of thinner insulation rather than one or two layers of thicker insulation in order to reduce thermal bridging. Thermal bridging occurs when insulation is discontinuous between joints, allowing for air and thermal movement between the joints or gaps between boards.”

Using several layers of thinner insulation in the roof allows the joints between the insulation to be staggered, which blocks the ability of air to flow through the gaps. Higher-quality insulation that’s properly installed, while a bit more costly upfront, helps cooling equipment run more efficiently and lowers the cost to keep a facility cool.


Signs of Problems

Ice that forms at the roof/wall interface or on the floor is a sign that something is wrong with either the roof or the walls. Ice forms where air leaks in from outside the building and causes condensation, which then freezes.

Ice can also form in the roof itself, which can cause water damage and result in the insulation freezing. Frozen insulation loses its insulating properties, making it ineffective.

These air leaks are the result of either a poor roof design or improper installation during construction.

Work With an Experienced Roofer

These problems can be avoided by working with a commercial roofer that understands cold roof construction methods and has experience working with these types of roofs.


For nearly 99 years, United Materials has installed, maintained and repaired high-quality roofs in Denver and throughout the Rocky Mountain West. We have the technical know-how and experience to get you a roof that meets the demands of your unique application.


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