Stone Roof Renovation

Introduction: Stone Roof Renovation

About: A retired shipwright, living in Galicia, northern Spain. Restoring an old ruin, building dreams, loving my woman, children and grand children.

Hello , I am new to this, forgive me if it all goes astray.
I am rebuilding an old farmhouse and the roof is falling in.
The intention here is to show what can be done to renovate a failed roof.
We needed to move into a tent in the garden to complete this job.


Although never attempted before, I was certain that modern adhesives would provide me with a massive material savings.
So we decided to re use most of the original stone that we removed.

Step 1: Securing the Roof

Obviously, the first thing to do was support the old roof.
We placed structural support Jack's under the weakest beams.
Normally, the stone would be smashed and thrown off or loaded into steel scuttles and lifted off by crane.
Our requirement was for as much stone as possible to be removed intact by hand.
We hired a local construction company with cranes and dumper trucks to remove the stone.

Step 2: Removing the Old Stone Roof

We were living in the house almost from the day we purchased it.
When it rained, more water came through the house than ran off of it.
One day we heard a loud cracking and found a main roof beam was breaking. So we got some labour in and removed over 30 tonnes of stone.

Step 3: Replacing the Rotten Wood Beams

Almost all of the wood beams were rotten beyond repair.
We bought whole chestnut trees from the local saw mill and cut them to size on site

Step 4: Insulation and Waterproofing

We used sandwich panels to give a strong flat surface for the stone to go on top, but first we coated the roof with a fibre reinforced elastomeric coating

Step 5: Replacing the Stone

Some 8 months had passed between removing the old roof and getting the new roof ready to have the stone replaced.
My wife and I had worked an average of 18 hours per day in preparation and had completed all of the construction of the new roof including stone pillars and supporting walls ourselves.
We took a 10 day holiday, we knew the hard work was about to start.
It was now time to scrub clean and power wash all the stone that was to go back on the roof.

Step 6: Sticking the Stone

The real work starts here, I should say at this point, the stone is more aesthetics than water protection.
Certainly it is the first line of defence against hail and snow, but the actual waterproofing is below the stone.
We added a corrugated fibrous membrane between the stone and the sandwich panel to protect against resonance damage and provide a heat barrier to keep the house cooler in the summer months.
The process of handle and rehandle starts with selecting the stone we wanted to put back, we need only to put a third of the original stone back on the roof.
Each piece selected, scrubbed and power washed and then manually lifted onto ladders and scaffold eventually onto the roof, we drilled and screwed the first row down, all subsequent rows were stuck down toe and heel style with a branded construction adhesive.
The replacement of stone was a mammoth task in itself, much of the stone so heavy it took both of us to lift it up onto the roof, wecouldnt work any more than 6 to 8 hours per day on the roof, it was just simply exhausting.
We stuck down 2 rows at a time and left them overnight to set before laying the next 2 rows.
Galicia, northern Spain is well know for its extreme rainfall and Atlantic coast storms and without tempting fate, so far, the roof has stood fast through a few of them

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    3 years ago on Step 6

    It looks so beautiful! I think the stones also give protection to the roof itself- from the breakdown by UV or even wind driven objects.


    3 years ago

    This is fascinating to see. I can't imagine the time and physical effort this required!

    Thank you for sharing this . . what a project!! : )


    Reply 3 years ago

    Thank you, we shed some tears and a lot of weight along the way, but wow! We had some incredible fun and laughed every day...
    I would perhaps think twice if asked to do it again..


    Reply 3 years ago

    Most people dealing with stone their first time think this . Its hard work but think about it, You would do it in half the time a second time.
    Thing I don't like about this is look at Machu Pichu. The timber always lets go first. Is chestnut a dense hardwood or a softwood over there?
    I guess as a shipwright you would e able to tell me.

    I found the bit below but it does not tell me much on timberwork usage.



    Chestnut wood: Note the splitting at the top of the log.
    Chestnut is of the same family as oak, and likewise its wood contains many tannins.[33] This renders the wood very durable,[33] gives it excellent natural outdoor resistance,[33][86]
    and saves the need for other protection treatment. It also corrodes
    iron slowly, although copper, brass, or stainless metals are not

    Chestnut timber is decorative. Light brown in color, it is sometimes confused with oak wood.[86] The two woods' textures are similar.[33]
    When in a growing stage, with very little sap wood, a chestnut tree
    contains more timber of a durable quality than an oak of the same
    dimensions. Young chestnut wood has proved more durable than oak for
    woodwork that has to be partly in the ground, such as stakes and fences.[18]

    After most growth is achieved, older chestnut timber tends to
    split and warp when harvested. The timber becomes neither as hard nor as
    strong as oak
    .[18][33][86] The American chestnut C. dentata served as an important source of lumber, because that species has long, unbranched trunks.[7] In Britain, chestnut was formerly used indiscriminately with oak for the construction of houses, millwork, and household furniture.[18] It grows so freely in Britain that it was long considered a truly native species, partly because the roof of Westminster Hall and the Parliament House of Edinburgh
    were mistakenly thought to be constructed of chestnut wood. Chestnut
    wood, though, loses much of its durability when the tree is more than 50
    years old, and despite the local chestnut's quick growth rate, the timber used for these two buildings is considerably larger than a 50-year-old chestnut's girth. It has been proven that the roofs of these buildings are actually Durmast oak, which closely resembles chestnut in grain and color.[18]

    It is therefore uncommon to find large pieces of chestnut in
    building structures, but it has always been highly valued for small
    outdoor furniture pieces, fencing, cladding (shingles) for covering buildings,[86] and pit-props,[18] for which durability is an important factor. In Italy, chestnut is also used to make barrels used for aging balsamic vinegar and some alcoholic beverages, such as whisky or lambic beer.[87] Of note, the famous 18th-century "berles" in the French Cévennes are cupboards cut directly from the hollowed trunk.[88]