SPAB Care and Repair of Historic Roofs

Posted 22nd November 2018

Conservation Events
Victorian Roof

Paul Mallion contributed to a one day seminar on old roofs at a SPAB regional event at the King Richard III exhibition centre in Leicester on 22 November 2018.

Other speakers included Marianne Suhr, who showed the devastating results of a slate roof treated with PUR spray foam which resulted in total destruction of the covering.
Richard Jourdan and Terry Hughes, specialists in conservation of slate roofing, showed fascinating examples of beautiful Welsh slate roof valleys created without any lead work. See Terry’s website for fascinating videos on the archaeological dismantling of these roofs.
Chris Wood, Historic England, with a summary of Historic England research projects past and future.
Declan Cahill, Historic Environment Scotland, presented a summary of research into upgrading roofs, discussion including a cautionary note about the use of membranes.
Dr Helen O’Brien, Wildlife/Biodiversity Officer, Leicester City Council discussed the risks of bats and breather membranes, and risks to birds.
Paul discussed a case study of a Victorian roof which was recovered and insulated to form a warm roof, with a traditional type IF felt. See our Project page.

As with all SPAB events there was a lively debate about the pros and cons of insulating and using membranes, with strong arguments on both sides. The resounding advice is that every roof is unique and needs to be carefully assessed on its own merits, taking into account the age, condition, use and detailing.