Soft roof — what it is, device, pros and cons, what they are made of, features of different types
The material used to cover roofs, which is convenient to use on buildings with various architectural features, is a soft roof. Some types of this material are close to their ancestor — roofing material, while others are very different from it.
What is a soft roof?
The well-known ancestor of a soft roof — roofing material has many qualities useful for builders, but it also has a significant drawback — it is not resistant to tearing and quickly begins to crumble. Soft roofing is an improved roofing material that has received a solid foundation that solved the problem of material spillage from time to time and the influence of weather conditions. In addition, the composition of the bituminous base for the flexible roof has also changed — it includes special additives.
Soft roof device
The generalized term — a soft roof cake includes layered structures designed to protect the structure from the penetration of precipitation and retain its physical qualities for a long time — strength, flexibility, wear resistance. Its components perform the following functions:
- vapor barrier — protection of the roof from condensate penetrating from inside the house;
- thermal insulation — protection of the building from heat loss due to low temperatures, wind;
- waterproofing — shelter from the penetration of precipitation into the building and into the roofing pie;
- decorative — decoration of the building.
A soft roof for a garage or a house acquires high performance due to its multilayer structure, and it consists of:
- A frame made of glass material — a durable canvas that does not allow the tiles to crumble.
- Layers of sticky polymer mastic — for easy and convenient installation.
- Filling with bitumen — performs the role of hydroprotection, such qualities of tiles as frost resistance and elasticity depend on the brand of bitumen.
- Decorative and protective sprinkles made of mineral crumbs — resists wind, snow and ultraviolet radiation.
Soft roof — pros and cons
Flexible roofing material, like others, has its advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of a soft roof:
- The material of the middle price category is between metal tiles and ceramics.
- Easy and economical installation with virtually no residue – soft roof parts can be used on any decorative roof elements.
- Noiselessness — the flexible roof does not create unnecessary noise during wind and precipitation.
- Resistance to rust and sun exposure — flexible tiles do not fade and do not heat up.
- The installed soft roof is airtight due to the presence of a sticky layer — water cannot get under the joints, the wind is powerless to lift the canvas.
- It is very convenient to transport this material — it is light and compact.
- Any roof elements can be covered with a soft roof, which is not available for hard materials.
- With the help of flexible tiles, you can create ornaments and patterns on the roof.
- Installation of a soft roof is simple even for a novice builder.
Cons of flexible roofing material:
- Not always desirable for flat roofs with zero pitch.
- If during installation or during operation moisture gets under the coating, it will not evaporate, but contributes to the destruction of the material. In frosts, moisture that has got into leads to tearing off the elements from the base. Because of this, soft roofing is recommended to periodically check and replace damaged elements.
- Some types of soft roofing are not resistant to temperature extremes and may crack.
- With a small slope of the roof under the tiles, additional waterproofing is necessary.
- On a soft roof you can not walk in hot weather, it softens.
- Flexible roofing requires special care: sweeping away debris, trimming branches from nearby trees, moss and lichen treatments.
What is better — a soft roof or a metal tile?
To choose the best roofing for your home, you need to compare the qualities of metal roofing and soft roofing:
- Metal tile modules are solid and heavy, they cannot be mounted alone. Covering the roof with a soft roof can be carried out by one person.
- The metal tile gives less load on the rafters. The weight of a metal tile per 1 sq.m is about 5 kg, the weight of 1 sq.m of a soft roof is 8-12 kg.
- Flexible soft tiles are suitable for various complex decorative elements of roofs — turrets, domes, they are easy to cover places with bends and breaks. Metal tiles are suitable for even roofs without decorative elements, if this material is cut a lot, this will significantly increase the amount of residues (up to 30%) and reduce the quality of the roof due to the large number of joints and open edges.
- Lathing under a metal tile is easier to install and costs less than under a soft roof.
- The installation of a soft roof on average lasts 3 times longer than a metal roof (only if the roof is without decorative elements).
- The noise level of a metal tile during precipitation is much higher than that of a soft roof. This problem can be solved with the help of an additional thick layer (150-200 mm) of thermal insulation, which will also function as sound insulation.
- The service life of a metal tile varies from 25 to 50 years. The flexible tile will serve 30-50 years.
- A soft roof is more expensive than a metal tile.
What is a soft roof made of?
Modern technologies and materials for soft roofs make it possible to multiply its wear resistance and service life, as well as improve its appearance compared to roofing material. Various types are made from:
Types of soft roof
Due to the wide range of applications in construction, all types of soft roofing are in demand. You need to know their differences before buying. What are the types of soft roofs:
- soft tiles.
Roll soft roof
The outdated rolled roofing material did not suit the builders in terms of its characteristics, so the manufacturers changed its composition, and a soft roof was obtained in rolls. The improvements have markedly improved the wear resistance of the material, resulting in it being 5 times more resistant. A rolled soft roof is similar to roofing felt, but in structure it is a multilayer material based on durable fiberglass, polyester fiber or aluminum and copper foil. The bitumen layer is enriched with plasticizers and mineral fillers, which increases the flexibility of the material and its strength.
Liquid soft roof
Describing a liquid soft roof — what it is, we note that this term refers to a pasty or creamy mastic or emulsion. It is applied in different ways: spraying, pouring or spreading with a spatula. During application, the liquid roof is alternated with layers of fiberglass for reinforcement, resulting in a coating similar to a roll, but built directly on the roof without joints.
Membrane soft roof
In appearance, the membrane soft roof for the roof resembles a rolled roof, but significantly surpasses it in technical characteristics. One of the main advantages of such a coating is vapor permeability, due to which the roof insulation does not get wet and does not fade. Membrane coatings are divided into three groups, differing in the base material:
- polyvinyl chloride (PVC) — has a high fire safety index;
- thermoplastic polyolefins (TPO) — endowed with high resistance to UV radiation;
- ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) — baseless coating, resistant to stretching.
Flexible roof tiles
A bituminous flexible roof is a rolled soft roof cut into tiles. The main advantages of this variety are ease of installation and the ability to create ornaments and patterns on the roof. In addition to shingles, manufacturers often create shaped pieces that help to cover the roof with any decorative elements. Such flexible tiles are especially popular in private construction.
Installation of a soft roof
Before starting work on the installation of shingles or other varieties, it is necessary to create a roofing cake to protect against heat loss and prevent the formation of condensation under the coating. The underlay for a soft roof consists of:
- insulation. More often than others, mineral wool is used, which is laid between the rafters. The thickness of the insulation is 150-200 mm.
- vapor barrier. Mounted on the inside of the roof, under the rafters. For fixing, a stapler and double-sided tape are used.
- waterproofing membrane. It is necessary to protect the insulation from precipitation. It is fixed above from the membrane to the outside with a stapler and adhesive tape.
Lathing under a soft roof
For high-quality ventilation of the under-roof space, it is necessary to create natural ventilation. Do-it-yourself soft roofing involves the construction of:
- Control gratings — these are bars of 40-50 mm, which are nailed to the spurs in a parallel direction.
- battens — for it, boards with a thickness of 25-30 mm and a width of 100-150 mm are used. They are stuffed perpendicular to the counter-lattice, the distance between the boards is 200-400 mm.
The next layer after the crate is solid flooring. OSB-3, FSF plywood or boards are used for it (they are positioned so that the bulges of the annual rings are down). Solid flooring is mounted using self-tapping screws or ruff nails. The gap between the elements of plywood or OSB should be 3-5 mm, between the boards — 1-3 mm. This distance between the elements is necessary to compensate for the expansion of materials in the summer. A lining carpet is placed on the flooring, on top of which a soft roofing material is mounted.
Nails for soft roofing
The answer to the very important question of how to fix a soft roof is very important, since the coating cannot be held on a pitched roof with glue alone. For these works, special roofing fasteners are used. Nails for such work are characterized by a small length, a thin rod and a large hat — 8-12 mm. If ordinary nails are used for the installation of the soft roof, plastic protective caps must be used to prevent the soft roof from slipping off the small nail head.
How to lay a soft roof?
There is a special technique by which a soft roof is laid. Roofing details:
- Laying of a soft roof should be carried out in warm weather (not lower than +5°C). If installation takes place in winter, the roofing material must first be kept at room temperature.
- Sheets and tiles of a soft roof are fastened with an adhesive layer and nails. If it is cold outside, you need to use a hot-air burner so that the sheets stick together and the insulation is better.
- If several packages of soft roofing are needed to cover the roof, it is optimal to take the material from each package in turn — if the color does not match perfectly, which happens in mass production, there will be no sharp difference between the parts of the roof.
- When laying a rolled soft roof, it is necessary to withstand an overlap of 8-10 cm. The next row should cover the edge of the previous one.
- Along the edge of the roof, flexible tiles in places where there is no adhesive layer on the back side are recommended to be coated with bitumen to create protection from slanting rain.
Dismantling of a soft roof
Removal of the old roof covering is necessary during a major overhaul with a complete replacement of the roofing material. Work must be carried out in dry weather and be sure to observe safety precautions. To qualitatively remove soft roofing material, you need to choose the right method:
- On a flat roof, you can use a wall chaser, which will cut the coating into strips that are removed by hand, or a roofing ax with which the coating is cut into pieces.
- On a pitched roof, the coating is first removed from the skates and other elements. The main covering is removed from the ridge using a roofing axe.