Specialist Slate roofing Melbourne
Contact: John 0403022137
Around Melbourne there are many old original homes, churches and public buildings built in the mid to late 1800’s with very complex but beautiful slate roofs. When these constructions require repairs or restoration, only specialist slate roofing company’s should be hired
Depending on how grand these buildings were, they were sometimes designed with roof turrets , towers , spires and a few with seldom seen cupolas.
The roof slates typically used on these roof structures tend to be on the smaller side than some of the larger sized slates found on some of Melbourne’s period homes. They are more often found as 16 x 10, 18 x 10 or 20 x 10 inches and never any larger. This would probably be due to the weight factor of the slates. Because of the steep pitch the individual slates would be putting much pressure on the slate nails which were much softer than the nails used today.
Also, they are occasionally seen on a somewhat smaller scale on early ” Queen Anne ” era homes around 1900 to 1905. After this period the Queen Anne style homes were nearly always roofed with terracotta tiles. A few of these still had small towers and turrets, but the design of tiles and how they are installed really limited what could be done, so they are usually very simple.
- Slate roof turrets – Around Melbourne these are typically conical at the base. They can also be square, rectangular or octagonal. They can either sometimes partially protrude from the main roof or they can begin as a separate roof above the main roofing
- Slate roof towers – The main difference between a turret and a tower is that a tower is built from the ground up, whilst the turret is not connected to the ground. Towers in slate around Melbourne can have their base square, rectangular or octagonal but the one we see most often is conical.
- Slate roof spires – Probably no explanation needed here. These are most often seen on churches around Melbourne’s inner suburbs. The best way to describe these is that they are much taller than their width at the base and can sometimes reach way up into the sky.
- Slate roof cupolas – Cupolas are dome shaped roofs. Sometimes they can be seen with the lower edges flattening out to a shallower pitch.. like the shape of a bell if you like.
A recent slate roof cupola restoration project of ours
This original cupola [ bell shaped roof ] situated on top of a church in Melbourne’s CBD was in very poor original condition. There had been very little maintenance work done over the years and what was done, was not sympathetic to the character of the roof. Lead ridge caps were missing, the air vents were falling apart and the slates were slipping off, broken or missing altogether. Where slates had been attempted to be repaired, the wrong sizes and colours had been used as well as dodgy fixing of the slate
We began by removing completely the remaining capping, slates, air vents and battens. We salvaged as many as possible of the good slates, which were Burlington blues, and we had good stocks of the same slate to match them. All slates were cleaned thoroughly to give them a uniform and matching appearance. Old photos revealed how the cupola looked when it was originally built in the mid 1800’s.
The restoration began by installing new oregon timber lining and strips to the sub frame. The slates were then relaid with a full flat tail squint pattern as per the original pictures. Newly made to match the original air vents were installed in the correct positions as the slating progressed. When all the slating was complete, the hips trees were covered and dressed down with new lead and held firmly in place with metal ties.
After many decades of unsympathetic repairs with normal slates of all colours and sizes and many pieces of flat tin, the finished roof looked fantastic and was a very close resemblance to how it was originally built all those years ago.
If you’ve got a project that’s a little different and may require a specialist slate roofing company’s touch you can contact me on 0403022137. Or fill out the contact form. Even if you just have a question or two. We work in all areas of Melbourne and Victoria.