Our first event of 2023 was a roofing skills event hosted by Liveryman Andy Rowlands and attended by the Master John Schofield. Andy very kindly offered to host the event at the Centre of Roofing Excellence (CoRE) in Hereford and was generously assisted by two of his colleagues Paul and Bob. The Master first welcomed over 20 Zoomers to the event andwithout further ado dived straight into the evening’s events.
The Masters first challenge was to correctly identify the country of origin of several roof slates but, despite being keen to correctly identify the Welsh slate, did not have an entirely successful attempt!
Andy was keen to provide a general overview of the modern roofing process and started off with the fundamental process of felting and battening. He briefly explained the evolution of the traditional bitumen felt through to the complex geotextiles being used on modern roofs.
Firstly, the Master correctly fitted the eaves tray, a modern solution to support the exposed edge of the membrane at its termination above the gutter.
Next the Master correctly oriented a section of membrane and fixed it using nails, making sure, under Andy’s watchful eye, that there was the correct amount of sag between each rafter.
Finally, the Master fixed the roofing battens at a controlled gauge through the membrane to the rafters below, again using a hammer and traditional nails, a set of tasks completed successfully without one finger injury in sight!
Andy then led the team around to another one of his roofing rigs set up to allow the demonstration of roof slate fixing. Before starting work Andy took the time to explain the importance of checking each slate visually before it was fixed. It is vitally important that the slate is true and of a regular thickness so that when fixed all the slates lay flat on the roof.
After the Master has finished checking his batch of slates, he was ready to start work, but not before receiving an explanation from Andy of nail types available for fixing and those which should and should not be used with slate; copper and aluminium being the correct choices and the Master was never to use galvanised nails with slate.
The Master proceeded to nail fix several rows of slates being mindful of the gauge and spacings marked on the battens to ensure the correct alignment, lap and gauge.
After successfully completing this challenge, the Master moved to the second rig which Andy had set up to demonstrate the fixing of plain tiles and the correct forming of a wet verge.
After carefully watching Paul’s demonstration the Master jumped straight in and successfully laid several rows of tiles bedding them expertly on a wet mortar bed at the verges. Paul explained the importance of getting a good mortar coverage over the entire length of the tile.
Where necessary the mortar bed can then be moulded by hand
Finally, the Master firmly pressed the tile into place ensuring that it was correctly located over the batten and aligned with the verge edge.
The final skills demonstration was to prove to be the most demanding! Andy explained that another more traditional type of roof covering was in the form of random diminishing stone tiles. These monstrous slabs of split stone were fitted to battens, but not by nailing, but by the use of pegs, hooked over the battens. Andy explained, like the slates on the previous example, it was important to check the thickness of the individual stone tiles and select them so that they sit flat and true on the roof. The Master proceeded to use all his might to lift the massive stone tiles into place and delivered a very satisfactory result, as the photographs show well.
Andy proceeded to take a Q and A session for 15 minutes and the Master closed the event by thanking all the attendees, Andy Rowlands of Rowlands Roofing for hosting the event, The Clerk, Heather Smith for her meticulous organisation and Chairman of the Craft Committee, David White for promoting the initiative.