Bitumen tiles: myths and reality

In the realm of roofing materials, bitumen tiles frequently elicit interest and perplexity. Frequently observed on residential roofs, these tiles are renowned for their cost-effectiveness and robustness. But in the midst of their widespread appeal, a few myths and false beliefs have also caught on. It’s time to investigate the truth behind bitumen tiles and separate fact from fiction.

A common misconception is that bitumen tiles are not very durable. Modern bitumen tiles, in contrast, are made to withstand a wide range of weather conditions, from bitter cold to searing heat. Because they are made with cutting-edge materials that increase their durability, they are a dependable option for homeowners looking for affordable roofing solutions.

Another myth is that bitumen tiles are not aesthetically pleasing or attractive. Actually, a large variety of styles and colors are offered by manufacturers, so homeowners can coordinate their choice of roofing with the overall style of their house. Bitumen tiles can be used to enhance a variety of architectural themes, regardless of your preference for a more traditional or modern aesthetic.

Some homeowners are concerned about bitumen tile maintenance because they think they need to be repaired frequently. In actuality, bitumen roofing materials require less upkeep than other roofing materials. They don’t need major repairs for decades of dependable service if installed correctly and inspected periodically.

Finally, there’s a misconception that bitumen tiles aren’t eco-friendly. Because so many producers now use recycled materials in their production, bitumen tiles are a sustainable choice for consumers who care about the environment. Over the course of the roof’s lifespan, their resilience and energy-efficient qualities may also help to lower energy consumption.

Knowing the facts about bitumen tiles can help you make an informed choice as you weigh your roofing options. We intend to dispel these misconceptions in order to clarify why bitumen tiles are still a well-liked and useful option for homeowners everywhere.

Bitumen tiles: myths Bitumen tiles are prone to cracking and damage.
Bitumen tiles: reality Modern bitumen tiles are durable and resistant to weather and impact.

Bitumen coating: innovative revival of old traditions

Although composite roofing materials first appeared in America at the end of the 19th century, the country is officially recognized as the birthplace of soft tiles. These were initially rolled goods made of fabric that had been impregnated with bitumen. After fifty years, cardboard took the place of the cloth and was sliced into even rectangle and hexagon shapes known as tires or hounds (pieces).

But the first flexible tile prototypes date back thousands of years: aspen plugs, widely used in 16th–18th century Russian Orthodox architecture, and deciduous hounds, which gained immense popularity in Europe starting in the XIII century. The fact that contemporary bitumen tiles are laid in the same manner as races makes them noteworthy.

Despite long-standing customs, flexible tiles didn’t initially appear in Russia until the end of the previous century, when they quickly gained the support of developers. This is caused by both its universality—a kind of gold among all roofing coatings—and its benefits, which we will discuss a little later. Soft but strong, flexible but tile. Racetracks’ elasticity allows them to fit flawlessly on a variety of roof types, including those with negative bias, such as keeled, onion, dome, or Skifer-style designs.

Furthermore, intense competition forces producers to continuously alter soft roofing materials by incorporating unexpected but beneficial additions. A photocatalytic tile that can clean the surrounding area or bitumen coated with photovoltaic panels that can turn sunlight into electricity are two examples. A specific area is occupied by metallized collections coated in foils made of titanium, aluminum, copper, or gold. These collections offer complete protection for roofing tiles against heat radiation that can damage bitumen or laminated rains, which are used to create volumetric coatings.

Flexible tiles can be summed up as high-tech, dependable, secure, lovely, and long-lasting materials. What’s inside, though?

The composition of the bitumen tile

Soft rains are typically provided as 100 x 34 cm plates with a single figure-cut edge. The cutting has a distinct shape; it could be a triangle, oval, hexagon, wave, loft, beaver tail, etc. D. Depending on the manufacturer’s fantasy. These products also vary greatly in terms of color scheme.

When creating tiles, utilize:

  • strong fiberglass;
  • bitumen resins with the addition of modifiers that significantly improve the quality of bitumen;
  • painted mineral baby.

Let’s focus on the various kinds of modified bitumen, whose characteristics can be accurately determined to assist in selecting an appropriate collection.

  1. Oxidized bitumen – artificially aged, is characterized by high heat resistance and wind resistance due to its stiffness, as well as a unique form of slicing imitating brick and sores. However, it significantly loses its strength in the cold, so you need to lay such rains in the warm season.
  2. SBS-Bitum with the addition of styrene-butadien-styrola (artificial rubber), so it remains strong, flexible and elastic, does not crack at extremely low temperatures and freely repeats the shape of the surface on which it is laid. However, sometimes problems arise when installing in hot weather, since when heated, the polymer and bitumen are separated. Therefore, when using it, it is necessary to strictly observe the conditions of styling and storage, agreed by the manufacturers.
  3. APP Bitum-refers to thermoplasts. The additive of atactical polypropylene increases many times the resistance of the material to high temperatures, ultravioletus, acids and alkalis, as well as adhesion to metal and glass. But unfortunately, reduces elasticity. In addition, at negative temperatures, the APP-cover is able to break, as a result of which it is advisable to use it in regions with a warm climate. With strict observance of the installation technology, such bitumen will last up to 30 years, retaining its properties even in cold climatic zones.
  4. RM-bitum-know-how. The manufacturer does not disclose its composition, but judging by the reviews of the roofers, the RM-charase has an average stiffness and rather fragile at low temperature, but is distinguished by enviable durability.

It is naturally very difficult to select a leader from such a wide range. Consequently, pay close attention to the local weather and the material’s elasticity because it is this factor—even if only somewhat—that functions as a key quality indicator.

Bitumen tiles share a nearly identical structure across all manufacturers. Its foundation is fiberglass that has been impregnated with a unique type of bitumen. This bitumen provides layers of protection both above and below, giving the tiles their flexibility and durability. The lower layer is a protective polymer film that keeps the material from gluing and is removed before laying. The upper layer is painted mineral granulatory, which gives the tile the desired color and protects it from UV rays.

The layers of a traditional bitumen tile, which is primarily rectangular in shape, are as follows:

  • basalt granulates painted in the process of ceramicization;
  • the upper layer of modified bitumen;
  • fiberglass;
  • the lower layer of modified bitumen;
  • Protective polymer film or silicon sand.

Self-adhesive bitumen horses, which are typically sliced in a hexagon, are composed of:

  • painted mineral sprinkling;
  • improved bitumen;
  • durable fiberglass;
  • modified bitumen;
  • self -adhesive tape;
  • Available protective film.

Technical characteristics of flexible tiles

Flexible tiles’ high operational properties are derived from their multilayer structure, so long as the technology is monitored throughout the entire production process. The European standard EN 544, a single standard for soft roofing coatings, regulates the following indicators and establishes the material’s quality:

  • The weight of the tiles is not less than 1300 g/m², and the size of the plates is 1200×250 mm ± 3 mm;
  • strength for longitudinal and transverse rupture – depending on the class of at least 400-600 N/50 mm;
  • Plasticity and elasticity of the material. You do not need to confuse these two concepts-plastic racetrae retain a new shape after the stress is stopped (APP-model), and the elastic restore the original form (SBS);
  • Loss of sprinkling. Good tiles should not lose more than 3 g of sprinkling from one gunt;
  • The mass of pure bitumen of 1 m² of flexible tiles or the weight of the fiberglass itself is 100–110 g/m²;
  • resistance to ultraviolet, the formation of air bubbles and sliding – at a temperature of more than 80–90 ºC;
  • the strength of the abrasion of metal foil is at least 0.2 n/mm;
  • Heat resistance and water absorption, as well as high fire safety – spontaneous temperature 300 ºC.

Pros and cons of bitumen tiles

Similar to other roofing materials, flexible tiles have a specific range of applications that are dictated by the material’s primary benefits and drawbacks because of its unique shape and structure.


Among individual developers, soft roofing is one of the most popular roofing materials. Many indisputable advantages contributed to his rise to fame.

  1. Ease, so there is no need to strengthen the structural elements of the building.
  2. Universality – the possibility of using on roofs of any configuration and selection for different architectural styles.
  3. Durability – properly laid coatings can last up to 50 years.
  4. Perfect waterproofing and noiselessness.
  5. Economicity is a small amount of waste during installation.
  6. Resistance to decay, corrosion, rust.
  7. Plastic. Flexible tiles hide the progress of the house when it was precipitated. In addition, it is frost -resistant, is a good dielectric, so the need for the arrangement of lightning protection, and heat resistant, withstands the temperature up to +140 ºC.
  8. Lack of sailing, as a result of which the tile coating easily tolerates the most impulsive winds.
  9. Good resistance to biogenesis – chemical acids, mosses, lichens, fungi.
  10. The convenience of delivery and storage, as well as the acceptable cost of relative to other roofing floorings and quick installation.

Video: Features and advantages of soft tiles

Disadvantages and restrictions on the use of flexible tiles

The drawbacks of bitumen allow for the illogical or challenging use of the tiles under certain circumstances.

  1. The slope of the roof should be at least 11º, and the base is continuous, so that the racers do not sag, as well as clean, dry and smooth.
  2. Installation work should be carried out at a temperature of at least +5 ºC, after withstanding the material at room temperature during the day.
  3. In regions with a wet climate on the northern and north-west side of the roof, moss may appear, which will become a threat of tight joints. Therefore, bitumen tiles must be treated with a special composition from lichens and mosses with a simple solution of copper sulfate or chlorine with water, the actions of which are enough for several years, after which processing must be repeated.
  4. Soft tiles tolerates atmospheric precipitation well, but not insured from the city that can break it, and then, perhaps, you will have to change not only the hounds, but also the substrate.
  5. The life can be called relatively large. It seems like 50 years of service is a lot, but at the same time some manufacturers give a guarantee for only 10-15 years, which is still not enough in comparison with costs.
  6. Surface roughness, which is why garbage and moisture can linger on the roof. On the other hand, the rough surface delays an avalanche sliding of the melted snow, thus protecting the rainfalls from the breakdown in the absence of snow retainers.
  7. Mandatory device of good ventilation, so as not to get a greenhouse effect in the subcutaneous space due to the absolute tightness of the material.
  8. The possibility of burnout, laborious repair and not the highest resistance to mechanical damage.

We previously discussed the benefits and drawbacks of the soft roof in this article; be sure to read it!

Putting down asphalt tiles

Soft tile installation is incredibly easy. Even doubters admit this. The bitumen tile coating will last for a very long time if you just follow the manufacturers’ instructions to the letter. They still need to pay close attention to the remaining subtleties, though.

The shades of bitumen tiles from various parties may vary slightly. Therefore, in order to maintain tonality and prevent multi-coloring throughout the roofing canvas, you must mix in a random order prior to laying a hound of five or six packs.

The following guidelines also need to be adhered to.

  1. Thoroughly equip the yendovs and roofing passages, since most leaks occur in these areas.
  2. Properly lay all layers of roofing cake, using high -quality materials for it, best of just one manufacturer.
  3. When building a house from scratch, it is advisable to mount a lining carpet throughout the roof, and not just in problem areas. This will significantly increase the service life of the coating.
  4. When reconstructing the roof, bitumen tiles can be laid on an old soft coating, having previously convinced that the rafter system and a continuous base meet the requirements of quality and strength.
  5. When calculating the bitumen coating, 3% should be added to the reserve for the usual design of roofing structures, up to 5% for complex forms and 12-15% – when arranging curved areas: towers, cones, dome.
  6. When laying the tiles in cold weather, when the air temperature is less than +5 ºC, no more than 5-6 packs should be supplied to the roof from a warm room, and the self -adhesive strip of each gont is heated.

Video: Installation of roofing

Roofing cake for bitumen tiles

Flexible tile roofing is made up of a variety of materials, the quality and placement of which determines how long the roof will last and how comfortable the interior will be. The roofing cake’s ingredients are as follows:

  • bitumen tiles;
  • lining carpet;
  • continuous base of chips or waterproof plywood;
  • Chatter and counter -binding;
  • waterproofing;
  • insulation;
  • vapor barrier;
  • Ceiling hem.

An apple carpet, cornice, pedimental overhangs, stages of adjustment, galvanic nails, mastic, and drooping ventilation can all be added here.

The functional qualities of flexible tiles deteriorate with improper roofing pie installation, questionable materials used, and a refusal to lay any layers. This inevitably results in leaks, condensate formation, heat loss, ice and icicle formation, and noise during rainy seasons.

Preparation of the base

Bitumen tiles and the lining carpet need to have a dry, continuous, stiff base with acceptable drops of no more than 1-2 mm.

It is strictly forbidden to lay hounds or isolation carpet on a wet base in order to prevent bloating.

It is advised to install a continuous flooring with running seams, a minimum gap of 3-5 mm to account for linear expansion, and fasten it with wood screws or specialized ruffs. The following requirements must be met by the materials used: GOST 3916.2-96 and OSP-3-GOST R 56309-2014 apply to plywood. For practically all models, the continuous base thickness should be at least 9 mm; however, for some tile series, like Western and Continent, it should be closer to 12 mm. Nonetheless, the manufacturer’s instructions typically specify the flooring’s thickness.

To arrange a continuous wooden base, you will need:

  • Before starting work, sort the boards and check their humidity (no more than 18–20%is allowed);
  • pay attention to the location of the annual rings – they should be directed by convexities up;
  • start laying from the cornice overhang with thicker boards, rising and gradually reducing the thickness, so that a smooth transition is formed over the entire surface of the slopes;
  • Join the boards along the length on the rafter legs, scoring at least four nails in places of joints.

Video: Preparing the base for soft tiles

Strengthening cornice and pedimental overhangs

Special metal strips are used to reinforce the cornice overhangs. They are installed on the rib along the edge of a continuous flooring with a 30–50 mm overlap and secured with roofing nails in a checkerboard pattern after 120–150 mm, as well as at the locations of overflow – at a 20–30 mm interval. After installing lining carpet on the slopes’ remaining surface, cornice is used to reinforce the gable overhangs, with the end strips placed on top of the insulating substrate.

Installation of the lining of the insulating layer

A dependable and long-lasting material for further waterproofing the roof is the lining carpet. It must be installed everywhere in the area and on any roof slope. However, it is worthwhile to focus more on the roofing, overhang, and yendovs. The lining carpet in the yndovs should be installed at a width of 1 m, with 50 cm for each slope, ideally in a continuous layer that runs the full length without overlaps. If this isn’t feasible, they create extensive over-30 cm gluing seams, particularly in the skate area.

In order to prevent leaks caused by abrupt temperature changes in the cornice compartment, lining material is placed along the cornices according to the size of the protrusion plus 600 mm from the inner surface of the wall. The lining material does not extend one or two centimeters beyond the cornice bar. The length and slope of the slopes determine the retreat value; the longer and cooler the slopes, the more indentation is made; however, the retreat value must always line up with the beginning strip’s indentation.

Video: Installation of the lining carpet Anderep GL

Preparation of yends

Bitumen tiles are laid in the yndovs using either the open method or the cut method. The apple carpet is not required if the ralics are mounted by cutting. Otherwise, the apple substrate is mounted along the axis of the lights on top of the lining material, with a displacement of two to three centimeters in one direction and a ten-centimeter bitumen mastic smearing along the inside perimeter.

When setting up a lightning, it is advised to swap out the apple carpet for a metal sheet coated to prevent corrosion in hotter climates. Using roofing nails, a metal sheet or apple carpet is nailed to the front with a step of 20–25 cm and a retreat of 2-3 cm from the edge. The proper substrate is spread out with 30-cm overlaps. However, it is preferable to install a continuous flooring with gluing seams in the skate area for the apple carpet, just like the lining, if at all possible.

Video: Installation openly flexible tiles in Endov – preparatory stage

Marking slopes

Slope marking is the final step before bitumen tile installation. Sensor lines act as guides to help align races both horizontally and vertically, which is crucial in the event that the geometry of the slopes or any existing snops of roof elements are violated. They do not, however, indicate the locations of tile fixation. The horizontal lines are applied at intervals of one meter, while the vertical step matches the width of the chosen tiles.

Video: Roof marking before laying the hounds of flexible tiles Tegola

Stages of installation

The order in which flexible tiles are laid is as follows.

  1. First, all layers of the roof pie are mounted, starting from vapor barrier to laying the insulating substrate (lining carpet). Here, some novice developers make a serious mistake – in order to save do not make waterproofing, believing that the substrate will protect the roof filling from the weather. She will certainly protect from rainfall and snowfall, but alas, not always from the city, which was already mentioned above. So the savings are ghostly, since the cost of waterproofing materials in the general estimate of the roof is scanty, but the safety of the insulation and the rafter system grows several times. In addition, waterproofing makes it possible to lay a more expensive lining carpet partially, and not a continuous flooring.
  2. Installation of the starting strip. For the starting strip, there is a universal skate-carnious tile, but you can use ordinary ramps with cropped petals. The tiles are glued on top of the lining carpet, retreating from the bending of the cornice bar 1-2 cm, and nailed with nails. An important point – the correct clogging of galvanized nails – after fixing the hat should be in the same plane with tiles, and not crash into it. When using wiped working racers due to the absence of an adhesive layer on them, the back of the starting strips is smeared with mastic.
  3. Laying ordinary tiles. The first row begins to mount from the center of the slope, retreating from the starting strip 10–20 mm. All subsequent rows are laid in the chosen direction with diagonal stripes or pyramid, starting from the middle of the ramp with a half -offs of the petal relative to the lower row. Fix the tiles so that the lower edge of the petals is at the same level with the upper edge of the cuts of the previous row. On the pediments, workers" racetracks are cut into 1-2 cm to drain water during oblique rain and glue joints with mastic. To facilitate styling on many models of tiles, especially laminated, manufacturers apply an installation line on the front surface, which helps to verify the correct location of the tiles before the final fixation. The drawing of the finished roof in most cases should be abstract, unless otherwise conceived by designers.
  4. Arrangement of yends. With open gutters, ordinary hounds are mounted in a random manner along the line on the tops on top of the apple carpet and fixed each tile with nails, placing them at a distance of at least 30 cm from the axis of the joint of the slopes. Having mounted both sides equally, two coated lines are repulsed with a lace, along which the racers are cut out, and in the upper row they additionally cut out a corner for the direction of rainwater in the valley. The width of the gutters is made about 5-15 cm depending on the surrounding space – the more trees are nearby, the wider the gutter should be to avoid clogging with fallen leaves. In the absence of an adhesive layer, the wrong side of the cut tiles is smeared with mastic and glued. Bitumen ralics are laid a little differently by cutting. It is used for the most part with different slopes of adjacent slopes. They begin laying the paintings on the canopy, rushing them on a steep slope by at least 30 cm, and fix each tile in the upper part with nails. Cover the entire low -sloping slope, and then beat the coated line on a steep slope at a distance of 7-8 cm from the central axis, cut the tiles intended for styling, smear each, if necessary, with mastic and glue along the line of the Endov.
  5. Laying tiles on the skate and ribs. Having laid the entire tile, they form ribs and a horse, install aerators, decorate gutters, heat cornice and pedimental overhangs. For the ridge and ribs, the skate-carnis tiles are used, dividing it into 3 parts by perforation places. Working tiles are cut so that when it is laying between adjacent slopes, a slot of 5 mm forms. 2 lines are beaten off along the ridge ridge or ribs and begin to form a hob (rib), laying the tiles along the ribs from the bottom up, and on the skate – with the opposite to the prevailing winds of the side. Each tile is strengthened with two nails on both sides, so that the subsequent tiles overlap the nails of the previous. In cold weather, it is recommended to bend each gont on a bonded to 30–40 ºC pipe with a diameter of 10 cm.
  6. Arrangement of roofing passages and adjustment. Communication pipes, antenna and ventilation outputs of a small diameter are sealed in the lower part using special passing elements, fixing them to the base, and the bitumen horses trimmed in shape are laid on top and glue them with mastic. After that, the necessary roofing output is mounted on the passage. In the places of adjacence to the walls or chimney, the triangular rail is first stuffed, on which ordinary racetra. On top, stripes of the apple carpet are at least 50 cm wide, gluing them from the back of the mastic and lifting them to a vertical wall by at least 30 cm. The upper part of the junctions is brought into the stroke to provide protection of the node from atmospheric moisture, closed with an apron, mechanically fixed and sealed it.

Video: Errors when laying soft tiles

Domestic bitumen tile market

The Russian soft tile market is currently enormous, offering everything from elite series to collections of economy class tiles. As a result, every customer will find goods that suit both his needs and budget. The following brands’ flexible tile is the most well-liked:

  1. ICOPAL (“IKOPAL”) – a Danish concern with a centuries -old history, having its own production in Denmark, France and Finland. The company"s products are allocated by a democratic price with high quality. Each gon has double or triple reinforcement, which makes roofing tiles incredibly strong and resistant to any negative effects.
  2. Katepal (Finland)-the tiles of this manufacturer are distinguished by two parameters: the presence of a groove-grinder, due to which the installation is greatly simplified and the coating is strengthened, as well as colored basalt granules that create the effect of the volume of the roofing floor.
  3. Shinglas ("Technonikol", Russia) is the most common tile among domestic developers. Characterized by high heat resistance – 95 ºC, relief and texture, successfully copying natural materials.
  4. TEGOLA (Italy) – the lineup of the world leader has more than seventeen collections and almost 200 color shades. So there is where to take place. Of particular interest are models that have no analogues among other manufacturers-with a copper, tan-zinc, copper patinated and aluminum layer instead of a classic stone crumb. Such developments allow at a low price to get an unusual beauty coating that is suitable for all stylistic directions.

Attention should be paid to the tiles from the brands BRAI (Italy), IKO (Canada, Belgium), Ruflex (Russia), Ural Roof, and Owens Corning (USA) that have a humorous panther logo but also have reliable operational indicators and a lifetime guarantee.

In spite of the many myths surrounding them, bitumen tiles have a real world that homeowners need to know about. These tiles are not only an affordable choice; they also have the strength and visual appeal to match more costly roofing materials. In contrast to popular belief, contemporary bitumen tiles are made to resist a variety of weather factors, such as wind, rain, and even hail, which makes them a dependable option for residential roofs.

A common misconception regarding bitumen tiles is that they don’t last very long. However, these tiles can last for decades if installed and maintained properly. By adding technologies that increase their resistance to fading, cracking, and algae growth, manufacturers have improved their designs. This guarantees that there won’t be any serious deterioration over the years, allowing homeowners to enjoy a lovely and useful roof.

There is also a misconception that bitumen tiles are ugly or have a restricted style. Actually, they mimic the appearance of more costly roofing materials like slate or wood shakes, and they are available in a broad variety of colors and textures. Because bitumen tiles are affordable and long-lasting, homeowners can select a roof that blends in with the architectural design of their house.

Ultimately, despite enduring myths, bitumen tiles are a cost-effective, long-lasting, and aesthetically pleasing roofing option for residential buildings. With the help of a clear understanding of the advantages bitumen tiles offer, homeowners can choose bitumen tiles with confidence for their next roofing project.

"Bitumen tiles: myths and reality" explores the differences between myth and reality with regard to this popular roofing material. For many homeowners, bitumen tiles provide an affordable and dependable roofing option, despite myths regarding their longevity and installation difficulties. This article dispels myths about things like how easily they break down from the weather and how hard they are to maintain, giving anyone thinking about this option some useful information. Find out how these tiles compare to common misconceptions about their durability, environmental effect, and suitability for different climates.

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Denis Shcherbakov

Professional roofer with 20 years of experience. I know everything about the installation, repair and maintenance of various types of roofs. I will be happy to share my knowledge and experience with you.

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