Roofs are one of the most important elements of any building, and they are also a very important visual element. Britain has one of the oldest housing stocks in Europe, many of them in conservation areas. There are many thousands of other listed buildings such as churches, civic buildings, mills, farmhouses cottages and country buildings, as well as stately homes.
They are all part of our nation’s famous and very special heritage and when it comes to the repair and renovation of their roofs they demand extra special workmanship and attention to detail to ensure they are restored to the highest possible standards.
Traditional roofs, which generally have a pitched roof to disperse rainwater rapidly from the roof of a building have been employed by builders for many centuries. The degree of a pitch, nature of the roof construction and type of covering have varied widely due to the availability of materials, geographical location, building type and architectural style. These influences combine to give the building its individual character which should be respected when any restoration work is undertaken.
Roofs were traditionally covered in 4 different types of material, namely plain tiles, slate & stone, thatch and sheet materials. All of these were used for different reasons and require vastly different methods to repair and conserve them.
Periodic renewal of roof coverings, differs from maintenance in that it occurs on a longer cycle, is usually more serious in nature and often has a greater visual impact than ordinary repair.
It may involve the temporary loss of certain aspects of significance, e.g the patina of age on an old roof covering, but provided the replacement is physically and visually compatible it should normally be acceptable.
By contrast, the consequence of not undertaking periodic renewal is normally more extensive loss of fabric.
The justification for periodic renewal, or repairs of roof coverings will normally be that the fabric concerned is becoming incapable of fulfilling its intended functions through more limited intervention.
CRL Restoration have carried out extensive roof conservation, as well as replacement, projects over the years, including the Durbar Wing at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight and the Reading Abbey Gatehouse.