What is a soft roof: a comparative overview of modern species and their features

Among the many types of roofing materials available today, soft roofs stand out for their performance and versatility. Roofing materials are essential for shielding our homes from the elements. Compared to more conventional roofing materials like metal or asphalt shingles, soft roofs—also referred to as flexible or membrane roofing systems—offer a number of advantages. These systems provide a seamless and long-lasting shield against rain, snow, and UV rays. They are made up of flexible membranes that can adjust to different roof shapes and sizes.

There are numerous varieties of contemporary soft roofs, each with special qualities that suit various environmental settings and aesthetic tastes. Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is a common type that is favored for its longevity and energy efficiency. In warmer climates, TPO roofs effectively reflect sunlight, lowering cooling costs. Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM), a synthetic rubber membrane that is renowned for its resistance to harsh weather and temperatures, is an additional popular choice.

When comparing these contemporary soft roof materials, one must take into account aspects like installation costs, maintenance requirements, and longevity. For example, TPO and EPDM are both long-lasting, but TPO usually has superior resistance to chemicals and rips, which makes it appropriate for commercial and industrial use. EPDM, on the other hand, is frequently chosen for residential roofing projects due to its superior flexibility and simplicity of installation.

Homeowners and builders can choose roofing materials more wisely if they are aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each type of soft roof. Various factors, including the local climate, the structure of the building, and financial constraints, are important in figuring out which kind of soft roof best suits a project’s requirements. Property owners can make sure their roofs offer durable protection and energy efficiency by carefully considering these factors.

"Soft roofs are a broad category of roofing materials that offer a variety of choices intended to offer strength, adaptability, and visual appeal. This article compares and contrasts the distinct qualities and advantages of several contemporary soft roofing material types. Every type of asphalt shingle, from conventional to cutting-edge synthetic options like EPDM and TPO, has unique benefits in terms of affordability, ease of installation, and environmental impact. Homeowners and contractors alike can choose the best soft roof solution for their needs by being aware of these variations, assuring both long-term satisfaction and practicality."

The advantages and disadvantages of the soft roof

Thus, we highlight the key features that make flexible tiles stand out.

We’ll start with sound insulation. Ultimately, the purpose of the soft roof is to absorb sound during periods of rain or hail. This moment can be very significant at times, particularly in areas where rain is a common occurrence.

Second, a lot of soft roof types differ favorably from "solid" roofs in that they have the proper amount of elasticity, or the ability to stretch. For instance, a rubber membrane can be stretched to a maximum of 250% without causing any harm! This implies that there won’t be any gaps when the building or roof deforms, which also means there won’t be any leaks.

The third benefit is a snow-like barrier that prevents avalanches from happening. Perfectly smooth metal profiles naturally have this issue, which can only be fixed by adding snow retainers.

Another crucial point is that the soft roof is unfazed by even a hurricane wind. Everything can be attributed to the unique self-adhesive coating that is directly on the petals of the bitumen tile. Furthermore, this back strip (along with the nails) binds the material to the crate so firmly that it is difficult to separate it from the wind, even on thicker multi-layer gunts.

Skilled roofers are aware that a soft roof transforms into a stunning monolithic sca the first sunny day after installation. Rarely do racetracks get torn apart by the wind, and when they do, it’s usually because the installation technology was broken. To put it succinctly, the racetra was either incorrectly attached or saved on nails.

More indicators that you can use to compare the "hard" and "soft" roofs are as follows:

Additionally, because they don’t contain any metal, soft roofs of any kind don’t have an electric background and won’t attract lightning during a thunderstorm.

When discussing the longevity of the roofing, it initially appears that the soft roof is vulnerable to cracks and other damage.

In actuality, though, contemporary technologies enable the creation of soft roofing so robust that up to 60 years of service is calmly promised.

And lastly, the primary benefit of the soft roof—which frequently persuades individuals to choose it—is its adaptability to any roof shape. Whereas traditional roofing is installed laboriously and leaves a lot of waste behind, flexible tiles, liquid rubber, and other comparable soft materials can be bent to fit any shape with ease.

Take a closer look at the soft types of coating if your roof design is rather complex. They also don’t have a worse design than other kinds. Conversely, there are instances when they appear even better.

Roller roof: reliably glued base

In actuality, bitumen roofs are not at all novel. In Russia three centuries ago, tar-coated shoes were used to keep your legs dry. Afterwards, the roof was waterproofed using cardboard pieces treated with the same composition, and the outcome was also well received. Lastly, a construction cardboard that was fed by bitumen was the very first analogue of the flexible tile to appear in the United States.

Special chemical compounds started to be added to bitumen over time in order to enhance its quality. Thus far, roofing material manufacturers’ private laboratories have conducted research in this regard.

These days, there are typically two methods for creating a soft roof: either using a knitting mixture of bitumen or tar to chill the cardboard or glass basis, or using no basis at all. In this instance, a unique heat treatment involving fillers and additives is applied to the astringent mixture.

It results in a mass that is rolled into thin canvases and is reasonably dense but flexible:

The majority of solid roof (if that’s what they’re called) types have severe limitations on the minimum angle of inclination, but all roofing rolled materials are appropriate for covering roofs with an angle of inclination from 0 to 30 degrees.

However, roll roofs are no longer covered by steeper slopes than 30 degrees, as heat and mechanical deformations can cause them to slide.

These days, polyester, fiberglass, and fiberglass are the main materials used to make roll roofs. Polyester is a synthetic material composed of polymer fiber that can withstand up to 60% stretching. Furthermore, fiberglass threads are already used to make fiberglass.

This is a reasonably priced material that unfortunately deforms easily during installation. Because of this, bitumen may eventually exfoliate on such a roof, giving it a gloomy appearance. However, the upgraded form of fiberglass is a more costly frame type that is practically undistorted during installation and can withstand transportation more easily:

Let’s examine the most common roller roof types in Russia:

  • Ruberoid – This is a material on a cardboard basis, familiar to many from the Soviet era. It is often compared with parchment – roof cardboard, impregnated oil bitumen. Parchment and roofing material has a short service life, but both of these material are in a low price segment.
  • RUBMAST – This is already a melted roll roof. This material has a protective film that prevents the layers. And the front side of the rubles, unlike roofing material, is covered with granite chips that protects it from ultraviolet and abrasion. Yes, and such a roof looks much more aesthetic. In principle, the rubemast is also a short -lived material, but laying it even easier than roofing ground.
  • Glass -rubled – As you have already guessed from the name, they are made on the basis of fiberglass or polyester. Which, of course, is much more reliable than cardboard. Therefore, such a roof is able to last up to 15 years, while more steadfastly transferring random damage.
  • Euro -Ruberoid – This is a melted type of coating with an improved formula. It more easily tolerates temperature and frost changes, and also pleases with an increased service life.

Although Ruberoid currently owns a sizable number of businesses in Russia, its well-known brand Technonikol’s goods are especially well-liked.

Now, however, let’s familiarize ourselves with rolled roofing materials that do not require a manufacturing basis. Take isol, for instance. It is derived from rubber that has been exposed to the bitumen environment and goes through the ionization process. A fibrous filler, like asbestos fibers, is added to this material in place of a solid foundation, creating an elastic and flexible coating in the process.

However, brisol is composed of a blend of various bitumens with varying viscosities. Rubber, typically from processed auto tires, is also added to this mixture.

A brisle differs from materials of a similar nature in that it retains gases as well as water. One crucial aspect that has been carefully considered is maintaining the form prior to installation: the brisol’s inner surface is coated in tiny mineral powder, which prevents the layers from adhering to one another even after years of use.

Roller roof materials are more in demand now than they were previously because of advancements in manufacturing technologies. Ultimately, they have improved greatly since then and frequently function as both the primary and temporary roof. Typically, they are stacked at a high temperature, covering either the whole canvas or just the edges of the roof.

Membrane roof: The latest achievements of science

One of the newest innovations that has become essential in roofing is the membrane coating:

Rolling roofs are not as good or as technologically advanced as mostly soft membrane roofs. Ultimately, the range of applications for all bitumen-based roofing materials is restricted due to their numerous disadvantages. Polymer membranes became extremely popular as a result.

The following factors determine the subspecies of the material that is manufactured using polyvinyl chloride, rubber, and olefin elastomers:

The membrane-coated roof is structurally identical to all other kinds of soft roofs; however, the material on the surface is different, consisting of oil, polymer resins, or modified synthetic rubber instead of rubles or roofing material.

Furthermore, compared to bitumen equivalents, a roofing pie with such a coating is more intricate. It occurs in various forms:

  • Plain roof. Here, vapor barrier is laid on a concrete plate, then a heater, a reinforced screed and, finally, a membrane. Such a roof is designed to resist bad weather and withstand the weight of snow and people who sometimes rise to the roof to install the antenna or repair something.
  • Another type – Inversion roof, T.e. operated. This can be a cafe, a lawn, and even a small decorative garden. Have you ever seen exciting issues about the green roofs of European skyscrapers? This is precisely this principle of roof device. The procedure for its installation is as follows: light concrete is laid on the reinforced concrete plate, then a polymer membrane, a hard insulation, a drainage layer and a finish coating. The latter can be both living grass and rubber rugs for organizing a small sports ground.
  • Also, the membrane is laid on Naughty roof, Then its design looks like this: the internal sheathing of the ceiling of the attic, vapor barrier, the rafter system and the heater laid between them. Next – a waterproofing film and, finally, the roofing membrane itself.

The membranes outperform bitumen roller materials in terms of quality and ease of installation—they can be installed in a single layer and last for 25 to 50 years.

Membranes also exhibit the highest level of UV resistance, do not soften, and even do not slide in hot conditions. There is no need to monitor the amount of stone chips applied to this type of coating while it is in use to ensure that no "bald" areas are exposed to the sun.

Polymer roof membranes are also resistant to frost. Because of the meticulous planning that went into their chemical makeup, they are impervious to oxidation, severe temperatures, and harsh environments.

Furthermore, certain types of membranes can connect with each other with a shit, which makes the coating nearly seamless (professional roofers understand the significance of this feature).

The price of the contemporary membrane roof is its lone major disadvantage. However, some estimates suggest that this type of roof is more cost-effective than the same metal profile due to its long lifespan and lack of need for costly maintenance and repairs.

To be fair, though, we should point out that certain membrane types are still secured with specialized glue, which means these are already potentially weak areas. Ultimately, the roofing membrane has a minimum 40-year lifespan, but the seams will eventually fade. They will therefore need to be re-seized.

Liquid roof: durable home shell

Additionally, the sprayed roof is soft and easily engulfs any obstructions on the roof. This roof requires specific application technology, which calls for expertise. The challenge lies in the requirement for expert preparation of the foundation upon which the composition is to be applied.

Unfortunately, if one lacks the necessary expertise or at the very least consultations, doing this manually is challenging. However, the outcome will undoubtedly satisfy you:

Depending on the composition used, liquid rubber for a roof, also known as liquid roof, comes in various forms:

For instance, rubber-based fluid freezes into an elastic, somewhat thick layer of the desired color in just one day. To waterproof pools, this same spraying technique is still actively used today. Such a coating has amazing water-repellent qualities, to put it briefly.

For this reason, this kind of soft roof is actively used to insulate flat roofs and is growing in popularity every day. In fact, the outcome is a consistent anti-slip coating that is resistant to ice and snow due to its chemical makeup:

Soft Roof Type Features
EPDM Rubber Roofing Durable, resistant to UV rays and weathering, low maintenance.
TPO Roofing Reflective, energy-efficient, resistant to tears and punctures.
PVC Roofing Flexible, chemical-resistant, durable in varying climates.

Often called a flexible roof, a soft roof is any of the many contemporary varieties that are made to offer strong, weather-resistant roofing options for both residential and commercial structures.

Asphalt shingles are one of the most widely used varieties; they are renowned for their wide variety of styles and colors, ease of installation, and affordability. Their good durability and suitability for a range of climates make them a flexible option that many homeowners find appealing.

Another kind of soft roof that is particularly notable for its exceptional longevity and durability is metal roofing. With the right maintenance, it can last up to 50 years because it is resistant to rot, insects, mildew, and fire. Additionally, metal roofs reflect solar radiant heat, which lowers cooling expenses in hotter regions.

Rubber and synthetic roofing materials, which are composed of recycled materials, offer exceptional durability and resistance to weathering for those seeking environmentally friendly options. These roofs have good resistance to UV rays and high temperatures, are frequently lightweight, and are simple to install.

In general, the selection of soft roofing material is influenced by a number of variables, including the desired aesthetics, climate, budget, and environmental concerns. Every variety has unique benefits, so homeowners should carefully consider their requirements and speak with roofing experts to choose the best choice for their unique situation.

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Soft roof: types, characteristics

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Alexandra Fedorova

Journalist, author of articles on construction and repair. I will help you understand the complex issues related to the choice and installation of the roof.

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