The roof hatch is something you should careful purchase and most of us cannot handle this without a guide. This is why I have made this article, to show you how to choose the best roof hatch yet.
When you need access to your roof, especially if you are a commercial building, to maintain HVAC or other rooftop-mounted equipment, the purchase choice must be very well considered. Of course, we all are aware that there are many ways to access roof areas, but the most common one is using a roof hatch. Roof hatches are significant in the way that they provide a direct access to rooftop areas. Even more than that, this roof access hatch is also designed with different options and features, all to ensure a safe access for maintenance workers and weatherproof performance for building owners. When you are working with a roof hatch, the most important thing to know about basic roof hatch is the specifications, which also include the various options available and the hatch selection considerations.
The size of roof hatch
The size of roof hatches is available in a wide range. There are also many factors you need to consider when you are selecting a hatch size for a specific application. First, you need to determine for which the roof hatch will be used. If the hatch will be used just to gain access to a roof or if you need to install or remove an equipment from a building. If a hatch is necessary for personnel access only, you will need to look for specifications regarding the small or single-cover models. Now, if you are considering these models, you will have to look for roof hatch ladder, a fixed one or service stair in full-size. The size of the roof hatch is defined measuring its inside frame opening, and the roof opening should be roughly the same as the hatch size. Some of the industry-standard sizes are 36 by 30 inches for ladder access, 30 by 54 inches for steep-stair access and 30 by 96 inches for service stair access.
The type and the size of a building will generally determine the method of withdrawal, which, in turn, will determine the size of the roof hatch. These considered, a large building, be it a manufacturing facility with high ceilings, will definitely require a usage of the fixed ladder in order to gain access to the roof. However, an office building or maybe a school will also need a staircase incorporated into the upper level of the structure. Thus, the frequency and the reasons of usage will determine how much access will be necessary; hence, the choice for a fit roof access hatch and its size. Also, if you have a working maintenance personnel which will need to operate and also carry different large tools or parts onto the roof, then obviously you will need to purchase a larger hatch with stair access should be considered.
Beyond the personnel access, the size of a larger roof hatch is also necessary because it is allowing you to better work for the installation and the removal of equipment from a building. Thus, it doesn’t matter if we are talking about an office building, a manufacturing facility, or even a hospital, the type and the dimension of the equipment are the ones that will determine the size of your roof hatch.
The material for a roof hatch
Another important thing to consider when you are trying to purchase a roof hatch is the material is made of. Most of the times, this decision is only based on aesthetics, cost, a hatch’s geographic location, or maintenance considerations. The main materials a roof hatch is made of are aluminum, galvanized steel, copper and stainless steel.
The most common material choice will be the galvanized steel. Why is that? Well, the galvanized steel will provide a resistance for a basic degree of corrosion. Typically a galvanized steel roof hatch is furnished with a primer paint finish. Contrastingly, the aluminum roof hatch is furnished with a mill finish and are proved to be more expensive. Even so, this material is totally worth it because it offers you a higher level when it comes to corrosion resistance. This type of material is recommended mostly in coastal areas. Also, the upside of aluminum roof hatch is that it requires little or no finish maintenance. Another material choice will be the stainless steel and copper for roof hatches, but there is a significant premium for these products. For instance, the stainless steel hatch will offer the highest level of corrosion when it comes to resistance. Also, these types of material are installed in special environments such as chemical plants that are known to have extreme weather conditions. Regarding the copper roof hatch, this is fabricated in such a way to match the aesthetics of mostly historical buildings or for new projects that are located in historical areas.
Another key factor: a safe and easy operation
Another key factor to consider when you are thinking of purchasing a roof hatch is the operation and most importantly the safety and the ease of it. Most of the workers will definitely need to raise the hatch upward from inside and they are also standing on a ladder or stairs, most of the time having tools in their hand. Thus, you need to consider a roof hatch that also has the equipment and lifting mechanisms features. You need to consider these factors because you need an insurance of smooth and easy operation, minimizing as possible the effort these workers operate with by opening and closing the roof hatch. Moreover, an automatic hold and open arm or maybe a proper lift assistance are some features in a roof hatch that will definitely ensure the cover and these will not allow something like shutting down while a worker is entering or exiting a roof hatch.
Another important consideration, when it comes to all buildings, is energy efficiency. Thus, a properly roof hatch that is exactly constructed will help maintain the energy of performance levels. It will also mean that a building is efficiently constructed. In order to maximize the energy efficiency, you should understand that you need to purchase specific roof hatches that are fully welded in the corners and they have features when it comes to insulation in the cover and curb. Also, there are many manufacturers that could offer this insulation options so you can benefit from an enhanced thermal performance. Even more, other features that are recommended for roof hatches are in regarding of a design with an overlapping cover or a full perimeter casketing. These features are the ones that will ensure you complete waterproofness.
The design and the option to customize
Other manufacturers, when it comes to roof hatch, will also give you the chance to customize your purchased product in order to get the most of it. So, a customized roof hatch will fit perfectly in a particular application and it will not compromise its other features or its performance. The custom options that are being offered consist of:
– the curb options will make the installation on various roof hatches more simple. Thus, these can be supplied with different curb lines or they can be fully enclosed curbs for installation on existing curbs. Curbs can also be customized so the installation can be made directly. This alteration will allow the hatch to be placed directly on the metal roof.
– some roof hatches can be furnished with interior and exterior padlock hasps which will be a standard feature made in order to prevent any unauthorized access. This customization with security options can also include contact switches and keyed cylinder locks for alarm systems. If we are talking about high-security buildings such as banks, prisons, or pharmacies, the roof hatches should be fabricated with heavy gauge materials and customized with many options in order to provide enhanced security.
– roof hatches can also be featured with a polycarbonate dome cover in order to provide added benefits of a skylight. Thus, this type of cover will allow natural light to come into the building, most of the times reducing energy costs. This will also provide a more pleasant building environment.
– another customization for roof hatches might be incorporated louvers into the curb. These will provide continuous ventilation into the building.
– a design can also include open and close remotely as an option for roof hatches. Operated via an electric motor or a winch, this feature could also provide both ventilation and simplify the operation.
Learn about low profile replacement roof hatch
Most of the times, roof hatches are specially designed just to be installed when you already have a new roof system installation. However, in many cases, a roof hatch might be damaged or it might require being replaced before a new roof system is needed. Here we need to learn about low profile replacement roof hatch because this is what you need. A low-profile replacement roof hatch is specifically created so it can be installed on an existing hatch curb. Thus, it will eliminate the need of replacing different materials for roof hatches. The operation goes down like this: the old hatch cover will be removed, and the low-profile curb will simply be mounted directly onto the existing curb. You can get a total weatherproof connection with a flanged design and full apron.
After all this information, let’s see which options are right now on the market when it comes to the best roof hatch:
1. Acudor G3844 G-Series Roof Hatch 30 x 36, White
Acudor Roof Hatch is designed to provide economical and convenient access to the roof for most of the building types. It is available in the following materials: the prime coat is made of galvanized steel or aluminum. These hatches from Acudor are specifically constructed for durability, safety, and ease of the operation. Thus, we can say that the main features to be considered are quite respected. Another features consist of acrylic domes, stainless steel, louvered curbs, hardware curb, and mounted modified curb. Moreover, some of the specifications include a roof hatch curb of 14 gauge galvanized steel, .125 aluminum with 1″ rigid fiberglass insulation at curb exterior. The opening device of the roof hatch is fully enclosed compression spring operators allow the cover to open and close easily. Automatic hold open arm with red vinyl grip release keeps the cover in open position when needed, and allows for easy control when closing hatch cover. The roof hatch latch is self-latching outside turn handle with inside lever handle permits cover to always latch securely. Inside and outside padlock provisions allow for extra security. The roof hatch finish is made of galvanized steel with a prime painted with rust-inhibiting white primer. The aluminum one is made of mill finish. These Acudor roof hatches fulfill all the conditions for a perfect roof hatch, in my opinion. You should take a closer look and I am sure you will be convinced.
2. Dur-Red LHG Ladder Hatch 24 x 24, Steel
Dur-Red Roof Hatch Ladder with the dimensions of 24 x 24, has the following features: the curb and curb frame and lid are made of 14 gauge galvanized steel, it is fully welded and ground smooth for absolute weather tightness, it also comes completely assembled with “heavy-duty” 3/16″ galvanized pivot hinges. These hatches are also designed with the lid specifically to have a fiberglass insulation, which means they are protected by a 22 gauge lid liner. Also, there are provisions for the inside, outside handles with padlocking, a heavy-duty air-flow pressure intensifier control and automatic hold-open and operating arms with red vinyl handle grip bulb-neoprene seal. This is also a state of the art when it comes to roof hatches and it is definitely a brand to consider.
3. Bilco Galvanized Roof Hatch – 36″X30″
This is a Bilco roof hatch, which is the most known brand for their type of quality. The design and engineering process of Bilco exceeds any expectations. Let’s see why exactly I speak so highly about this brand. The roof hatch is engineered With compression spring operators to provide an easy, smooth, and one-hand operation. This is highly important and I think you would agree with me on this one. Another fascinating feature is the automatic hold-open arm which locks the cover in the open position to ensure a safe exit. Moreover, other options this roof hatch provide are the full welded corners on cover and curb, the overlapping cover design, the EPDM rubber gasket, and a fully insulated cover and curb. All of these will ensure weather tightness and energy efficiency, exactly what we all are looking for in a high-quality roof hatch. This brand also makes the roof hatch constructed with corrosion resistant materials. This means that the material will provide many years of trouble-free, dependable service, so the lifespan is improved for many years to come. The positive latching mechanism and the heavy gauge construction will maintain building security. These being said, I also will highly recommend this, it is quite a more improved version of the 2 options I have described above.
4. JL Industries RHG Roof Hatch 36 x 36, Galvanized Steel
JL Industries RHG Roof Hatch with the dimensions of 36 x 36 are made of galvanized steel. This specific model is also another perfect choice for you to consider when you are looking to purchase a roof hatch. Being manufactured from 14 gauge galvanized steel with 12″ high curb and 4″ wide flange for securing to roof, this is one of the most secured roof hatches out there. The curb includes a 1″ fiberboard insulation surrounding the base. The cover includes a 14 gauge galvanized steel exterior and 22 gauge liner with 1″ fiberglass insulation between exterior cover and liner with a TBE draft seal gasket door seal. Finish is bond elite, pre-treated grey hammertone powder coat. Hardware includes a heavy duty hinge, heavy gauge automatic hold open arm with red grip, compression operated shock absorbing cylinder, exterior handle with integral padlock hasp and interior locking handle with an interior picklock hasp. The galvanized roof hatch cover has been tested and approved to support a minimum live load of 40 psf with a maximum deflection of 1/190th of the span, maximum negative load of 50 psf wind uplift, and 110 mph wind load when the cover is in an open position. JL Industries RHG is an extraordinaire brand and definitely worthy of your consideration.
5. Babcock-Davis B-RHG Roof Hatch 30 x 36, Steel
Babcock Davis Roof Hatch is one of my favorite brands mostly because it ensures years of dependable use, which makes it perfect for most extreme weather conditions. The lids are mounted on a 12″ curb with cap flashing to ensure against leakage. B-D roof hatches come standard with compression springs, zinc plated steel hardware, and insulation in the cover and at the curb perimeter. Babcock-Davis B-RHG Roof Hatch is the most stable brand making sure the clients are completely safe and protected. The only difference between this brand and the Bilco is that the latter consists of a galvanized roof hatch. After reading the introduction, you already have an idea why you should choose one over the other. However, both are more than worthy of your considerations and should be purchased depending on your needs and effectiveness.
As a conclusion, I would like to highlight the fact that a roof hatch is a very important component. It is an important part of any commercial building and it provides access to roof areas, no matter the purposes. This is why you need to be careful when selecting a roof hatch, and in this process I want you to be sure you will include its construction material, the safety features, the ease of operation, and any other necessary options. Choosing a roof hatch carefully, you will get exactly what you need and the required maintenance. Even if a roof hatch is a mostly great convenience for personnel who work on rooftops, it can also be useful for your house. However, you need to be cautious because it can create a hazard if it is left open and unattended. Thus, to ensure worker safety, you need to understand and respect OSHA regulations when it comes to fall protection for a roof hatch. Moreover, most of the roof hatches manufacturers will provide this safety device and it will help you identify which is the best roof hatch suited for use with specific roof openings. This is all you need in order to have a rooftop environments safe and comfortable.