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​How Big Does a Roof Hatch Need to Be?

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​How Big Does a Roof Hatch Need to Be?

Posted by Best Roof Hatches on 2022 Jan 5th

Typically commercial buildings require rooftop access to maintain and check-up on HVAC or other types of equipment. Although there are several alternatives to accessing roof areas, the most common way is to use roof hatches. But before that, let's discuss the importance of a roof hatch.

What is a Roof Hatch?

Roof hatches, manufactured with many features and options such as weatherproof performance, ensure safe access for your maintenance team. It is essential to know about basic roof hatch specifications, including hatch selection considerations and the various options available when working with roof hatches.

In addition, you should familiarize the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's fall-protection regulations for roof openings that pertain to roof hatches. The 29 CFR 1910.23 notes that "Guarding floor and wall openings and holes," as well as other safety options and penalties for noncompliance, is necessary to keep workers safe on job sites.

Before choosing the best roof hatch for your building, you first need to determine what type of material you want your roof hatch to be.

Roof Hatch Material of Choice

An important factor when choosing a roof hatch is its material. Usually, this decision will be solely based on the product's aesthetic, costs, maintenance, and the hatch's geographic location. Manufacturers can create galvanized steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper hatches.

  • Galvanized steel is the most popular material of choice. This material provides a primary degree of corrosion resistance and is usually supplied with a primer paint finish.
  • Aluminum hatches are manufactured with a mill finish and are more expensive than the standard galvanized steel option. The difference is that this material offers a higher level of corrosion resistance, particularly in coastal areas, and requires little or no finish maintenance.
  • Stainless steel and copper roof hatches also are available, but there is a significant premium for these products. Stainless steel hatches provide the highest corrosion resistance level and are preferably placed in coastal areas or chemical plants that encounter extreme weather conditions. Additionally, copper roof hatches are customized to match the aesthetics of historical projects or for buildings located in historic districts.

What's the Right Size?

Roof hatches are often available in different varieties in sizes. Numerous factors to consider when choosing a hatch size for a particular application. First, you should determine whether you will use the hatch to gain swift access to your establishment's roof or whether it is needed to install or remove equipment from a building.

Industry-Standard Sizes of Roof Hatch

If a hatch is used for personnel access only, you should opt for small or single-cover models. These models typically include a fixed ladder, ship stair, or service stair. The roof hatch size is obtained by measuring its inside frame opening and the roof opening. These parts should be the same as the hatch size. Here are the industry-standard sizes:

  • 30 by 96 inches for service stair
  • 30 by 54 inches for ship-stair
  • 36 by 30 inches for ladder

Size and Building Type

The size and building type will assist in determining the method of egress, which will help determine the roof hatch size. For instance, a large building, such as a manufacturing facility with high ceilings, may require a fixed ladder to access a roof area. Still, a school or office building could include a staircase into an establishment's upper level.

Equipment Transport

Certain personnel needing to access a roof area also can affect hatch size. If maintenance personnel must carry extensive tools or pieces of equipment onto a roof for service, a bigger hatch with stair access should be actively considered.

Larger roof hatch sizes allow installing or removing equipment from a building. Whether you're looking for a roof hatch for your business, hospital, or factory, the dimensions, and equipment type will determine its hatch size.

Commercial roof hatches designed for equipment access are generally two-cover models customized or manufactured to your preferred size and requirements. To successfully determine the perfect roof hatch size for a particular piece of equipment, you should contact the roof hatch manufacturer to verify the hardware locations on the hatch and the clear opening of a specific size.

If you are looking for more helpful blogs about roof hatches and roof construction, be sure to visit Best Roof Hatches, where we also provide quality products for your next roof construction project! Contact us today at 1-800-431-8651 for more details.