The roof protects your home from wind and weather. If it is leaking or the air is pulling through every crack, it is time for renovation. And ideally also for insulation: on average, a single-family house loses one fifth of its heat through the roof. That's why energy-efficient renovation is worthwhile. Especially if you receive subsidies for the renovation measures.
Saddle roofs come in many variations. The most common is the classic saddle roof, less common are the monopitch roof with one sloping roof surface or the hip roof with four sloping roof surfaces. Most saddle roofs are built on a supporting structure of wooden beams. This is followed, from the inside outwards, by the laying underlay or formwork, the vapour barrier, the thermal insulation, the sub-roof and then the actual roof covering.
The sub-roof diverts water that penetrates, for example during storms with rain. There are still old saddle roofs that consist only of supporting structure and roofing, mostly tiles. Such roofs are never completely watertight. Because the roof space underneath is permanently ventilated, the moisture dries out again quickly. In return, a lot of heat energy is lost.
Pitched roofs are low-maintenance and have a long service life. It is important to check after a storm whether all tiles or panels are still in place and the gutters are clear. Moisture stains on the ceiling, walls or floor may indicate a leaking roof. Contact a specialist immediately if you discover such stains.
When you renovate your pitched roof, you should also insulate the roof at the same time. Thermal insulation ensures balanced temperatures in winter and summer. It reduces heating consumption on cold days and prevents overheating on hot days. In addition, you can use an insulated attic as additional living space, provided that the building regulations or the utilisation factor allow this. However, only pitched roofs with a sub-roof can be insulated, which is not always the case with old houses.
If roof insulation is too complicated or expensive for you, you can have only the screed floor insulated. In this case, however, you cannot use the attic as living space.
A pitched roof can usually be insulated from the roof space without any problems. For example, the thermal insulation can be installed above the rafters, the roof support beams, i.e. between the roof truss and the roof covering. This way, the roof space is not reduced by the insulation. However, this is only possible as part of a roof renovation. It is easier to insulate between the rafters. The rafters themselves must also be covered with a layer of insulation material, otherwise thermal bridges will occur. Because of the final boarding, for example panelling, the roof space is reduced.
A flat roof consists of a substructure with a sloping layer of concrete or bitumen chippings built on top. This is followed by a vapour barrier, thermal insulation, roof waterproofing and, if necessary, a top layer. The flat roof is usually slightly sloped, usually between 2 and 5 degrees, so that rainwater runs off quickly. Instead of a roof covering, for example tiles, a flat roof has a roof sealing. This consists of plastic sheeting, bitumen or elastomer, a synthetic rubber. Which material is best depends on the type of flat roof, use and weather, among other things.
Non-usable flat roofs may only be entered for maintenance work. The foil of these flat roofs is covered with gravel ballast or slate chippings or is greened. Usable flat roofs are covered with tiles and may be used as terraces. However, such terraces need a parapet, railing or wall to prevent people from falling off the roof. Converting an unusable flat roof into a usable one and using it as a terrace is technically complex, if the building regulations allow it at all.
Flat roofs must be checked regularly to prevent holes or leaks. Moisture stains on the ceiling, walls or floor can indicate a leaking roof. Contact a specialist immediately if you discover such stains.
Older flat roofs are usually insufficiently insulated. A lot of energy and therefore a lot of money is lost through them. When the roof sealing has reached the end of its service life, it should not only be replaced, the flat roof should also be insulated. Don't wait too long: if the waterproofing leaks and rainwater enters the house, the damage can be considerable.
Roof renovations are complex and expensive. That's why it makes sense to put money aside for it early on. With the free Renovation Calculator, you can analyse the condition of your house or flat, plan renovation measures and estimate the costs. This overview with average values for an average single-family house shows you approximately how much you should expect.
All insulation methods reduce heating costs and improve the living climate. The most important advantages and disadvantages of the individual methods:
The financial support of renovation measures is not uniformly regulated in Switzerland. The harmonised funding model of the cantons from 2015 defines which measures are funded. Each canton can select the measures it wishes to support from these. Cosmetic measures such as new roofing are not supported. On the other hand, insulation is subsidised in most cantons.
That is why it can be worthwhile to combine roof renovation with insulation and to collect subsidies for the insulation. The prerequisite is that the thermal transmittance value or U-value of the insulation after the renovation is below 0.2 watts per square metre and Kelvin (W/m2K). According to measure M-01 (thermal insulation of façade, roof, wall and floor against the ground), all cantons except Bern, Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, Ticino and Vaud subsidise insulation with at least 40 francs per square metre of insulation area. Insulation between rafters that costs 15,000 francs is subsidised to the tune of about 6,000 francs.
The easiest way to apply for funding for energy-efficient renovations is via the website of the Swiss Buildings Programme. On the homepage, click on your canton of residence and you will be redirected to the details page. On this page you will find detailed information, can download documents and submit your application. It makes sense to have the renovation plan at hand, as you will need to submit it with your subsidy application. Some cantons also offer tax breaks in addition to investment grants.
By the way: More and more banks are offering mortgages with an interest rate advantage for financing a renovation, a conversion or an energy-saving investment. Talk to your bank advisor.
This, like the subsidy, varies from canton to canton. As a rule, you need a building permit for structural changes such as skylights or a new roof truss. It is better to ask the building authority in your municipality of residence once too often than once too little.
There is no clear answer to this either. It depends on how complex the renovation is. For simple and minor measures, a good roofer is enough. If the project is more complex and may have to be approved by the building authority, an architect or planner may make sense.
With our free Renovation Calculator, you can analyse renovation needs with just a few clicks, estimate costs and thus build up sufficient reserves. The intuitive programme guides you safely through the simple process, creates an interactive lifespan table tailored to your house or apartment based on your input and derives the approximate renovation costs from this. In this way, you can estimate what you will be facing in the next few years and plan the financial requirements at an early stage. In addition, the smart renovation planner shows you which components you should tackle together in order to renovate as cost-effectively as possible. This pays off twice for you: With the right strategy, you can reduce renovation costs and at the same time maintain or increase the value of your house or apartment in the long term. Try it out without obligation: