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Stone Slab, Shingle, & Thatch Roofs

Stone Slabs. Stone slabs, or tile stones, as they are sometimes called, are largely used for roofing purposes in Devonshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset, Northants, Oxfordshire and Sussex. They make a picturesque and durable roofing material; they are thick, heavy and non-conductors of heat, and thus keep the house cool in summer and warm in winter. Picture 247 shows their use in roofing a small country house.

Stone Slab Roof House
Stone Slab Roof House.

They are usually about 1 in. thick, laid in diminishing courses varying from 4 to 12 in., and are torched, i.e. pointed, on the under side with mortar composed of stone chippings and lime. The ridge should be formed out of solid sawn stone, and the valleys are usually of taper or triangular slabs, producing a soft curve, which forms one of the special charms of this roofing material.

Shingles. Shingles of hard wood, such as oak or larch, are the same shape as tiles, but 12 in. long and 6 in. wide and about ¼ in. thick, and are mainly used for small roofs of turrets, bay windows or summer-houses. In the course of time they weather to a beautiful grey tint, but care should be taken, in order to make them durable, that they are split and not sawn or planed.

Thatch. Thatch is an undoubtedly picturesque covering, but it is insanitary and easily catches fire, and is seldom employed in new buildings. Reed thatching, as carried out in Norfolk and elsewhere, is by far the best and most lasting variety. The old class of thatcher is indeed dying out, and it is difficult in most parts of the country to get thatching properly executed. It is sometimes employed with great success, as in the pictures below of the little cottages at Astonbury.

Thatch Roof Cottage
Thatch Roof Cottage.

Flat roofs, and the nature of lead, zinc and copper with which they are usually covered, are dealt with in the section on roofs.

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