Functionality, longevity and aesthetics
I often fantasise about what makes a great roof… Is it using the very best materials on offer? Is it the amount of rare or obscure details? Is it the system used that could provide a centurion roof life? Is it the design? There’s so many factors we could go on and on. I think personally, I really like to see a well executed roof. Regardless of how premium the slate, how heavy the details are and whether there is a pattern implemented or not. When I scroll through my social feeds I love to see the guys over in Norfolk and Lincolnshire laying reclaimed pan tiles with big old ridge beds and super silky pointed verges. It’s not often we get that style of roof here in south Devon so it seems somewhat exotic for me.
I believe there is some real craft to be had in slate and tile roofing. Particularly if using reclaimed materials which often require careful inspection prior to Installation. Grading, checking for delamination, tap testing for that reassuring metallic ring to ensure they’re not waterlogged or fractured. Dressing down and reholing again, shouldn’t be underestimated. They’re both time consuming and need to be taken seriously for the best possible reinstall.
When I see a reclaimed slate roof completed well – no corners broken, flat slates, straight perps I’m always in awe. I know just how hard all those factors are to achieve with the varying widths and thicknesses and just the general wear and tear of old slates. It’s not only time consuming but often a bit more of a headache if reholing higher up. Or can be at least.
There’s something soothing about seeing a well executed roof. Firstly you just know that it is going to live the longest life possible. Secondly there’s that pride. You know, the pride in one’s workmanship that almost absorbs into the roof and building’s structure. It’s a positive warm energy that soaks through that property and you can almost feel it. The homeowner knowing full well that the most Important part of their house is taken care of by a craftsperson.
This is what a lot of roofers out there live for. That legacy. The legacy of workmanship. Its a big driver and from my experience doesn’t often go hand in hand with the big bucks. To get roofs up to this standard requires preparation, adaptions, taking areas off and starting again, after hours research, sketches, head scratches and so on. Most of this is not easy to implement into a budget so it just gets done outside of the budget. Or you could say, “for free”! What a respectable and honourable way to live your working life. Doing, or at the very least trying, to keep your standards high.
I’ve never been overly competitive with other people, certainly not with my trade. Though I am having the biggest competition, everyday… with myself! My mantra is – let’s get this one better than the last. I’m always striving to be better than I was yesterday. It’s a rather tiring game but the good news is, you always win. So everyday feels like a win because it is.
The roofers out there who clip the verges bottom-front but more importantly top-back, I take my hat off to. Its such a small and non technical procedure that not only brings the roof to life but also provides a little functionality. Okay, so it’s a little time consuming, and definitely has its place. Which in my humble opinion is on new slate roofs. When this technique is applied to a reclaimed slate roof It shows the different areas of wear on the slate laps which, again is an aesthetic that some appreciate, just not for me. I like to complete old slate roofs to the best of my skills set whilst endeavouring to keep that heritage look. Even down to half slates on a verge instead of a slate and a half, it’s just a style I like to see on an old roof particularly.
I thought I would take this opportunity to celebrate some of the work of a kind few, that provided me with photos to share. Proud roofers with well executed roofs from around the country. The joys of social media bringing together a community of craftspeople dotted around our little island, striving to provide the best roofs they can. I couldn’t be more pleased with sharing these photos on this months blog. Hanging slate, diamond encrusted panels, scalloped slate, pitch change elevations, just take a look at what’s on offer from various geographical locations throughout England, Scotland and Wales.
With huge thanks to:
R NORTHCOTT Roofing Ltd
C J Ackroyds Roofing and Property Maintenance LTD
Aston Roofing Ltd
Above All Roofing
P.A.Leaford Roof Tiler
Thanks for their class workmanship that they’re willing to share with you. Hopefully you’ll notice that there’s a little bit of everything in this gallery.