What lies beneath the roof is the question

Jul 10, 2018 // By:Scott Hamele // 1 comment

Choosing the right real estate inspection company

By Scott Hamele, DBIA President and founder of Nationwide Commercial Inspections, LLC (NCI)and Construction DesignWorks, LLC

When considering buying a commercial building, choosing the right real estate inspection company can put money in your pockets after the first day of ownership. While major building components such as roof membrane, structural, sub-grade plumbing, windows and electrical service are important, an often-overlooked piece is the roof insulation. Nationwide Commercial Inspections will do that and a lot more.

Your real estate inspection company checks roof insulation

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Flat roof systems are comprised of four main parts: roof deck, insulation board, sheathing and the moisture barrier membrane. Your real estate inspection company should recommend a core sample be performed by a licensed roofing contractor that will not only reveal how many layers of roofing and the condition of the sub-roof, but also the thickness of the insulation.

Insulation board is also known as rigid foam insulation, Polyiso board and IsoBoard. IsoBoard thermal insulation is a highly dense closed cell structure. It is typically produced with extruded polystyrene and has been around since the early 1970s. There are multiple manufacturers in the United States that produce quality insulation board such as Johns Manville, Versico and GAF just to name a few.

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Finding out the thickness of your IsoBoard will help determine which direction to go with your future improvement dollars. A roof with 1.5 inches of IsoBoard offers a mere R-value of 5.7. The minimum thickness of roof insulation for a new commercial building is subject to one of the following building codes.

I used Kansas City, Missouri as the location for this hypothetical 10,000 square foot roof insulation calculation. According to the ASHRAE standard, the minimum R-Value is 31.25. This will require 8.2 inches of IsoBoard to be installed. According to several insulation saving calculators, you will save more than $51k over the first 10 years of an upgrade from 1.5 inches of IsoBoard to 8.2 inches.

So the question for you: Is the roof condition bad enough to deem replaceable, regardless of how much insulation you have below the roof? If you don’t have adequate insulation, this decision may make it easier for you to tear off the existing membrane and add more rigid foam insulation. Contact NCI, your real estate inspection company for a consultation.

Nationwide Commercial Inspections, LLC provides the most comprehensive commercial building inspection reports in the industry

NCI utilizes their architectural, engineering and construction expertise to create and develop a high-quality PCA. These reports are customized for each type of real estate: office, retail, flex-space, industrial, hospitality and healthcare. If you are interested in protecting your real estate investment, contact us at 913-667-7774 or visit our website at www.nwc-i.com.

Click here for a video about the property condition assessments we provide.

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