Commercial buildings and manufacturing facilities need safe, convenient roof access. Many structures locate essential equipment on the roof. A roof hatch improves accessibility for installers, technicians, and maintenance personnel for installation, maintenance, and repairs. Roofers can also use the roof hatch rather than wobbly ladders; roof hatches also improve ventilation for the attic.
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Benefits of Installing a Roof Hatch
Security: For buildings with high-security requirements, such as jails, financial institutions, drug stores, and embassies, a high-gauge metal roof hatch with a deadlock reinforces security to prevent unauthorized entry or exit from the building.
Safety: For safety, a roof hatch equipped with compression springs allows straightforward and controlled action. Adding an automatic hold-open arm to keep the lid open in windy situations prevents the hatch from slamming shut and injuring the operator.
Accessibility: A roof hatch provides easy access for maintenance and facilities personnel to unlock the hatch lid upward from the interior while positioned on a ladder or stairwell with equipment in hand. Your hatch’s construction should have consistent lift support to provide smooth, easy, and safe operation with the least effort.
Energy Efficiency: When choosing a roof hatch with a polycarbonate dome covering, you benefit from a skylight. They look good, but they also save energy by lighting dark workplaces in industrial and manufacturing buildings, letting light shine into the structure, making working conditions more comfortable. Look for one with fully welded edges and complete insulation in the covering and the curbing. For improved thermal performance, numerous hatch manufacturers provide insulated products as well.
Weather-Resistance: A quality roof hatch should have a cover with an overlapping design and a whole surround gasket to ensure total weather-tightness and insulation. Since there are many versions from various manufacturers, you will need professional advice to select the correct one that will be suitable for your building or facility’s settings.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Roof Hatch
Purpose: Before choosing a roof hatch, consider its purpose. Are you looking for enhanced security features, or do you need to add light to dark manufacturing or warehousing facilities? Do you need protection from extreme weather conditions, or is moisture build-up a concern?
If your hatch is only for personnel access, you can choose a modest, single-cover hatch combined with a permanent ladder. But it gets more complicated. For example, a hatch over a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine in a hospital would require non-magnetic components.
By considering the purpose of the roof hatch and special requirements, you’re in an excellent position to narrow down your options.
Sizing: If you are replacing an existing roof hatch, it simply comes down to accurately measuring the size of the opening and getting a roof hatch to fit. If you want to install a new roof hatch, consider whether the existing opening is large enough. Do you need to transport heavy equipment through the hatch? Will the hatch provide regular access for two or more technicians carrying tools? Knowing the size of the roof hatch allows you to zero in further. Remember that hatches built to custom size requirements are usually more expensive than those intended for general use.
Materials: Galvanized steel hatches are popular owing to their low cost. They usually come standard with a primer paint finish and offer a basic resistance level to corrosion.
Aluminum hatches with a mill finish are somewhat more costly than galvanized steel hatches, but they demand little to no upkeep. This characteristic makes them popular among many building owners because they allow them to cut significant maintenance and replacement costs from their list of expenses.
Hatches must be aluminum or stainless steel in highly corrosive settings like coastal areas with extreme weather conditions or chemical plants for the best corrosion protection. You can utilize copper roof hatches to complement the aesthetics of antique structures and buildings in historical sites.
The costliest choices are stainless steel and copper items, which you can utilize for specific applications.
In addition to the possibilities mentioned above, most hatch manufacturers offer customized treatments for improved corrosion protection or to complement the outside of a structure. Anodized aluminum and paint treatments are popular choices.
Customization: Many building owners order custom-sized double-cover equipment roof hatches fabricated to exact specifications. You can also change the curbs on standing-seam metal roofs, so the hatch lies down without needing a job-built curb. Adding louvers provides continual airflow into a structure.
Because some installations necessitate custom-fabricated hatches, manufacturers can often adapt their products without sacrificing functionality or efficiency. You can also custom-request roof hatches with liners or completely sealed curbs for implementation on present curbs.
Remember, customized hardware may be necessary for some custom roof hatches.
There are many benefits to installing a roof hatch – from improved accessibility to energy efficiency. When you are clear on the reason you are installing a roof hatch, it becomes a lot easier to decide on sizing, materials, and customization requirements. Your best roof hatches supplier likely has specialty roof hatches, smoke vents, telescoping poles, and accessories to suit your specific project.
If you are unsure which product is best, consult a licensed roofing expert with extensive knowledge and experience. Hire someone competent with an excellent track record, and your roof hatch investment will last for years to come.
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