An independent roofing contractor based in the West Midlands specialising in domestic roof projects throughout the UK

07521 528 930

Warm Roof vs Cold Roof? What’s the Difference? Which to Choose?

Table of Contents

Warm Roof vs Cold Roof
Get a Quote today for your domestic roofing project

You might be planning to renovate your roof or build a new home. If yes, then remember, one crucial decision you’ll face is choosing between a warm roof and a cold roof. While the names might leave you wondering about their significance, fear not! I’m here to help you.

In this blog post, I’ll dive into the key differences between warm roofs and cold roofs, helping you make an informed choice. Whether you’re seeking energy efficiency, cost-effectiveness, or simply a more comfortable living environment, understanding these roof types will steer you in the right direction.

What Is a Warm Roof?

A warm roof is a type of roof that has insulation on top of the roof deck, rather than between the rafters. This helps to keep the building warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Warm roofs are more effective at conserving heat than cold roofs, which have insulation between the rafters.

Types of Warm Roof

There are two main types of warm roofs: inverted roofs and traditional warm roofs.

Inverted Warm Roof

As the name suggests, the inverted roof is the type of warm roof that is installed upside down. These roofs have insulation on top of the roof deck, followed by a waterproof membrane, and then a layer of roofing material.

Warm inverted roof construction finds its application in scenarios such as roof terraces and flat roofs subjected to frequent heavy foot traffic.

Warm Traditional Roof

Traditional warm roofs have insulation on top of the rafters, followed by a vapour barrier and then a layer of roofing material.

Advantages of Warm Roofs

  • Enhanced energy efficiency – Warm roofs help reduce heating and cooling costs by maintaining consistent indoor temperatures.
  • Increased comfort – They provide a more comfortable living environment, keeping homes warm in winter and cooler in summer.
  • Noise reduction – Warm roofs absorb sound waves, resulting in reduced noise pollution from external sources.
  • Extended roof lifespan – They protect the roof from the elements, potentially extending its overall lifespan.

Disadvantages of Warm Roofs

  • Higher installation cost – Warm roofs typically require more investment during installation compared to cold roofs.
  • Reduced attic space – The presence of insulation on top of the rafters may limit the usable space in the attic.
  • Increased risk of leaks – Warm roofs can be more susceptible to leaks as the insulation is not shielded from the elements.
Get a Quote today for your domestic roofing project
What Is a Cold Roof?

What Is a Cold Roof?

A cold roof is a roof type where the insulation is placed between the ceiling joists. As a result, the roof structure and any space above the insulation tend to be colder than the living space below it. Cold roofs are generally cheaper to install but have lower energy efficiency compared to warm roofs.

For your information, the term ‘Cold Roof’ may be misleading as it doesn’t refer to the temperature itself but rather to its relatively lower efficiency compared to a warm roof. The distinction arises from the fact that the rafters in a cold roof remain uninsulated.

Consequently, on colder days, the rafters can conduct some of the cold temperatures into the rooms below, resulting in thermal bridging and potentially lowering the overall temperature within the house.

Advantages of Cold Roofs

  • Lower installation cost – Cold roofs are generally less expensive to install compared to warm roofs.
  • Simplified maintenance – Cold roofs are easier to maintain due to the absence of insulation on top of the rafters.
  • Ample storage space – The absence of insulation allows for more usable space in the attic, providing additional storage options.
  • Potential for a loft or attic utilisation – Cold roofs can be utilised to create a loft or attic area for various purposes.

Disadvantages of Cold Roofs

  • Reduced energy efficiency – Cold roofs are generally less energy-efficient compared to warm roofs due to thermal bridging, which can result in higher heating and cooling costs.
  • Increased risk of condensation – The temperature difference between the uninsulated rafters and the rooms below can lead to condensation issues within the roof structure.
  • Potential for increased noise – Cold roofs may be noisier during rainfall or hail storms compared to warm roofs, as the sound can transmit more easily through the uninsulated rafters.
  • Accessibility challenges for repairs – Due to the lack of insulation, accessing the roof for repairs or maintenance purposes may be more difficult.

Tips When Installing Cold Roof

When contemplating a cold roof, remember the following key points:

  1. The choice of insulation impacts the roof’s overall energy efficiency.
  2. Proper ventilation is necessary to prevent condensation.
  3. Installing a vapour barrier can help prevent moisture from reaching the insulation.
  4. Cold roofs may not be suitable for regions with cold winters, making warm roofs a more viable option.
Get a Quote today for your domestic roofing project

Warm Roof vs Cold Roof

A warm roof offers advantages such as improved energy efficiency, consistent indoor temperatures, and reduced noise pollution. However, it comes with higher installation costs and potential issues with reduced attic space and increased risk of leaks.

On the other hand, a cold roof is less expensive to install and provides more storage space in the attic. However, it is less energy-efficient, more prone to condensation, and may be noisier during rainfall.

To decide which one is right for you, consider factors like your budget, energy efficiency goals, available space, and climate conditions. If energy efficiency and a comfortable living environment are top priorities, a warm roof might be the better choice.

On the other hand, if cost savings and attic storage space are more important to you, a cold roof could be a suitable option.

Copyright © 2024 S. Tomic Roofing Ltd