Friday 11 April 2014

Roofing tales

The cabin roof is on. Dark green corrugated 'iron',  it looks good, and will look even better once it starts to weather. A decision on the cabin roof has been a difficult one to make.

Our first idea was to have a 'green'  roof which would eventually seed itself from the surrounding vegetation. Green roofs became popular in 1970's Germany as a way of greening up the urban, rather than the rural environment, which has plenty of stuff growing in it anyway. We thought that a self seeded roof among the Scots Pine would end up being seeded primarily by giant bracken, and we've got plenty of that elsewhere thank you very much.  Also, although a green roof might appear to be pretty basic, they are in fact carefully engineered to be watertight. If anything goes wrong they can be tricky to repair.

The second idea was to have wood shingles or shakes. We priced up a roof of shingles and decided that gold leaf might be cheaper.  Apart from the cost, we thought they might make the cabin -  a solid little structure, full of character - look twee.

Third idea was to attach thin birch poles from the wood, to the roof battens, under which is a breathable waterproof membrane. The birch would most likely look ok. The poles would of course rot down after a few years perhaps forming a green roof of sorts, but would have to be periodically replaced. Not a bad idea, but not sure how and if it would work.

Finally, we remembered our various travels,  and the ubiquity of the humble 'tin' roof, in Australia, Africa, South East Asia , South America, in fact all over the developing and developed world. A tin roof is the material of choice for the many log cabin builders of North America and Canada. Inexpensive and practical, a good looking architectural classic.  A prime consideration was that the cabin is to be a working forestry structure, and not a dwelling. It  is important to end up with something no-nonsense and fit for purpose, that blends in as well as possible with the environment.

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