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Improvements in Roof Hatch Design That You Should Check Out

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Improvements in Roof Hatch Design That You Should Check Out

Posted by Best Roof Hatches on 2020 Dec 2nd

Roof hatches, also referred to as access hatches, are now considered essential equipment for rooftop areas in commercial buildings or large multi-family projects that use mechanical systems. A roof hatch provides convenient access to the rooftop area for personnel and large pieces of equipment. Though they are most common in flat roofs, they can also be installed in pitch assemblies. Roof hatches allow access to areas requiring maintenance including HVAC systems and other roof-mounted equipment. They are also useful for the maintenance of the roofing material itself.

Before roof hatches came to popularity, access to the building's roof and critical areas used to be by a fixed or temporary ladder on the wall outside the building or by constructing a penthouse with a full vertical door on the roof. However, ladder access was a dangerous option, especially during inclement weather conditions, and not advisable for taller buildings. Building design professionals thus recognized the need for a replacement-- which was why roof hatches came into existence a half-century or so ago and remain in use until today.

There are now plenty of improvements that make a roof access hatch provide smooth access and an aesthetic look to commercial roofs for roof hatch design. Before you decide on an installation, you need to explore key features such as roof hatch sizes and locking or latching mechanisms. Check out these roof hatch design improvements that we compiled just for you!

Designed for Convenience

Identifying the building's access requirements is the first step when it comes to selecting a roof hatch. You should know whether the opening is for personnel or the removal or installation of pieces of equipment. If it is for personnel access, there are now roof hatches designed for a fixed interior ladder. For more frequent access, standard roof hatch sizes are already available for use with a full-size staircase or a ship stair. Improvements for such roof hatches include features that provide more effortless movement for maintenance personnel, particularly for carrying tools or repair equipment.

Nowadays, we have many different types of roof hatches to consider. An example is the most popular and often the least expensive option-- galvanized steel construction. There are also aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and fire-rated roof hatches, all at varying prices. Aside from different types, there are also different sizes and finishes for these roof hatches.

Another improvement and a necessary roof hatch detail that you should take into consideration is your building security. With the latest technology that we have now, roof hatches can now come with many different lock and latching options, such as a key-cylinder lock or a prison deadlock, for added security. Moreover, weather tightness and energy efficiency are now essential features for any building owner. It includes roof hatches with fully-welded construction, a positive seal between the cover and curb, and a fully-insulated roof hatch.

Enhanced Safety

We can now consider an improved and well-designed roof hatch with ease of operation as its most critical feature. A roof hatch that is too difficult to operate can put the user in compromise. For instance, a roof hatch requiring two-hand operation while atop a ladder can be an extreme safety issue. An automatic hold-open arm that securely locks the cover in an open position when the user is entering or exiting is a great feature.

In addition to ease of operation, safety also takes a leaf out of roof hatch manufacturers' books. The size plays a massive role in ensuring that a roof hatch is safe to use. For example, a roof hatch that is too small and above a staircase may result in a code violation. If it is too large and placed over a ladder, reaching the cover to close the hatch when the user is descending can be too difficult. Hold-open arms and lift assistance are the latest improvements in roof hatches. These features help maintain the cover in an open position with only the use of minimal force or effort, regardless of the door panel's weight or size.

Furthermore, other safety components such as guard rails and walkways can now surround the roof hatch. These are all parts of the fall protection railing system for installation around the roof hatch. You can even get railing systems in numerous designs and materials-- some can be mounted directly to the roof hatch curb to avoid the roof material's penetration. If you want to dramatically improve user safety by providing a positive handhold throughout the egress process, ladder safety posts can become part of a roof hatch system. It is a post that mounts to the top two rungs of any fixed ladder to allow users to maintain an upright and balanced position.

Increased Energy Efficiency

In recent years, roof hatch manufacturers have been paying attention to the need for improved energy efficiency in a roof hatch design. While traditional roof hatches come with fiberglass insulation in the cover and fiberboard insulation in the curb, standard products now have improved thermal performance with polyisocyanurate (polyiso) insulation on both the cover and curb.

Polyiso insulation helps improve roof hatches' RSI (R-value) and brings its energy efficiency level at par with new roofing materials that exist now. Aside from advances in insulation, there are also improvements in weatherstripping or gasketing in recent years. There are now new designs that help minimize air infiltration and leakage for maximum weather tightness. Although hatches are fully-insulated when they leave the manufacturers, users can still request superior insulation before the construction.

More Natural Daylight

One trend that is now circulating in the market includes energy-efficient windows and skylights that allow natural daylighting. These products can reduce the need for artificial lighting during daylight without causing any cooling or heating problem. Because of such products, a more pleasant working environment for the building occupants can be attained, including reduced utility costs for the owner.

However, the natural daylighting trend now spills over into roof hatch design. Roof hatches with natural daylighting features a polycarbonate dome cover, including all the standard operational parts of a primary roof hatch. Furthermore, various glazing options and products can go together with the roof hatch covers.

The Takeaway

Over the years, we can see the improved sophistication level in roof hatch design. We can say that today's products can already satisfy virtually any access required for both new and retrofit projects. When it comes to additional safety, security, and improved energy efficiency, many standard options are now available in the market. Lastly, manufacturers can even incorporate custom solutions to meet the unique access requirements for any building application.

For roof hatches that will meet your building requirements, be sure to to check out our products. We have so many different roof hatches in a range of standard, special and even custom sizes!