Hard roof and soft roof: what does that mean?

Again and again you hear terms like "hard roof" and "soft roof". The meaning of these terms, and which standard underlies these terms, is revealed in this article. You will learn which advantages and disadvantages the two roof types each have.

Hard roof definition

The hard roof is also referred to in many standards as "hard roofing". It is a roof covering, which is defined according to DIN 4102 - 4. According to the standard, the roofing must be resistant to the so-called radiant heat and also to flying fire.

Flying fire does not refer to sparks, but small burning parts (such as pieces of wood, which are whirled up). Even if these parts land on the roof, they must not cause fire.

The term hard roof and soft roof is therefore about the fire protection properties of the roof.

Roofing for hard roofs

A hard roof can be covered with different materials. Classic are clay roof tiles, still the most common type of roofing. Slate coverings are also classic hard-roof materials, but today only very rarely. Gneiss and sandstone are no longer used for roofing today.

Concrete roof tiles

Concrete roof tiles are a durable and cost-effective alternative to clay roof tiles, but somewhat heavier than clay roof tiles. With regard to the substructure, the higher weight of concrete roof tiles must be taken into account.

Optically, concrete roof tiles of clay roof tiles are today hardly distinguishable from the expert. That makes them so popular in addition to the price advantage.

asphalt shingles

Bitumen roof shingles are also considered as hard roofs. Also in the former GDR so popular Preolitschindeln belong to this group of roof coverings.

Their durability and resilience are often underestimated. Modern bitumen roof shingles can last anywhere from 40 to 50 years, even modern Preolitschindeln with glass fiber fleece insert (Preolit ​​Plus) reach enormous durability. In addition, the very light bitumen shingle cover also offers some advantages for the roof construction as well as a good possibility for heat insulation under the roof.

fiber cement

Fiber cement boards and shingles, commonly known as Eternit and today asbestos-free throughout, are considered hard roofs.

Alternative roof tiles

Roof tiles or sheets of sheet metal, plastic or glass can be considered here. All of these fabrics also resist radiant heat and flying fire.

roofing soft

Soft roofs are hardly common anymore. Occasionally there are wood shingle roofs in the alpine region, and in northern Germany blankets with thatch or straw are still occasionally visible.

Green roofs also belong to the soft roofing forms. The only modern soft roof is a roof made of TMS, a highly tear-resistant foil. However, this type of roofing is so far only found on individual buildings, and almost never on residential buildings. Even flat roofs today are dominated almost exclusively by shingles.

Advantages and disadvantages of hard and soft roofs

A soft roof offers only a few advantages. A green roof can offer some benefits in terms of summer heat insulation in buildings, and there are a few other possible benefits for the owner.

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