Building conservation masterclass

Conservation and Repair of Slate and Stone Roofing with Terry Hughes

Ref: B3D09127

Contact us

1 place available

About this course

This course covers the history of traditional slate and stone roofing but mainly concentrates on their conservation and repair.

The starting point is an understanding of how roofs work and the different materials used, including regional variations and methods of construction. Modern codes of practice and standards are covered, along with practical demonstrations and hands-on work in making and preparing slates and mortar, and their application to roofs, including setting out, recording and the construction of both random and single-sized roofs. The course will be supplemented by films and practical sessions on surveying old roofs, traditional detailing, writing specifications and finding sources of information.

Course Description

Day 1

Evening Introduction

Day 2

08.30 start. Conservation and understanding slating:

How slate roofs work; evolution from vernacular to modern slates; from vernacular to modern slating - random and tally; fixing systems - pegs, nails hooks, iron frame etc; other types of slating single lap, triple lap, patent, diamond pattern etc

Conservation and understanding slating:

Regional roof types; materials; stone slates; metamorphic slates; true random slates; roofing guides and codes of practice etc; British/European standards

Preparation of slates for roofing:

Splitting and dressing; holing and sorting; recording slating; common faults

Demonstration of recording a vernacular slate roof

Demonstration of different traditions for setting out a random slate roof

Day 3

08.45 start. Practical slating:

Other materials

Laths and battens; nails; mortar; tail and head bedding, scantle bedding, torching; flaunches, ridges and hips; mortar mixes; underlay; leadwork; video Collyweston project


Practical random slating - gauging roof, peg fixing slates; detailing; eaves; ridges; hips; verges and abutments; valleys - pitched and horizontal, vernacular and regional, curved slating

Transfer to South Coast Roof Training for practical work

Basic slating:

Gauging tally roofs; battening, strike perps and slating; setting out a random roof

Transfer to West Dean College

Day 4

08.15 start. Practical conservation

Survey - what to look for, cause and effect; assessment - old and new techniques; conserve as found or 'improved'?; insulation and ventilation; bats

Transfer to South Coast Roof Training for practical work

Advanced slating:

Recording random roof gauges

Complete practical work and assessment:

Issue of certificates and depart.

Minibus to Chichester Railway Station and West Dean College.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Please remember to bring work clothes/overalls and shoes/boots for practical sessions. A torch and umbrella may be useful on the short walk to the Auditorium and Ruinette.

"Friendly and highly instructive."

Philip, 2019


Terry Hughes

Terry is BCM Course Leader and is a Fellow of the Institute of Roofing. His worldwide experience of the slate industry includes 15 years at Penrhyn Quarry in Gwynedd. 


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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