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Old 11-07-2017, 12:28 PM   #1
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Insulating hot water pipes over roof


Need to replace insulation on hot water pipes that run over a flat (tar-and-gravel) roof. The pipes serve the house's hydronic baseboard heating system.

Previous owner had the pipes bracketed to 2x4 segments to keep them off the roof, and insulated with foam. Sun and weather have caused the foam strips to peel off, so I need to repair.

Any tips on what product to choose? So far I'm just looking for something affordable with a high R value. Is rubber or fiberglass better than foam? Does this situation with the 2x4s seem legit or can I improve on that as well?

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Old 11-07-2017, 03:12 PM   #2
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Re: Insulating hot water pipes over roof


Rubber is about twice the price of foam, but it should have a longer life time. It's your choice lower cost but more frequent repair, vs higher cost, longer lasting.
I don't think you will find anything higher than about r3 pipe insulation available.

I think the 2x4s are there to prevent the pipes from water daming on the roof. I'm not sure they are even attached to the roof. May simply be held in place by the pipes/gravity. (The baseboards with over the roof piping is a common repair for failed in-slab radiant heat piping originally used in Eichlers.)

Are your windows the original single panes, or have they been replaced ? The amount of glass is a big heat loss.

How about the roof ? Do you know if they ever improved the insulation in it. The original roofs would be considered under insulated by today's standards. Improvements there would also cut your heat losses.
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Old 11-07-2017, 03:45 PM   #3
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Re: Insulating hot water pipes over roof


Build a box around them with 1" foam board, glue it with gorilla glue
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Old 11-07-2017, 03:53 PM   #4
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Re: Insulating hot water pipes over roof


Thank you very much! Exactly, the 2x4s aren't attached to the roof. Definitely understand the need to keep the pipes off the roof, but wasn't sure if this is the best way to do so.

Sadly most of our windows are single pane, and I'm not aware of any improvements to the roof insulation - it's certainly not a foam roof.

We've been in the house one full winter and the heating bill wasn't as bad as I feared, so until the current roof gives out, we're trying to make do with cheaper insulation fixes like curtains, and these roof pipes. Anything I can DIY is always good.
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Old 11-07-2017, 06:57 PM   #5
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Re: Insulating hot water pipes over roof


+1 to @Nealtw comment.

Nothing that you leave up there, exposed to the hot sun, is going to last that long uncovered.

You could probably build something around them for cheap and some sweat equity.
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