Conservation and Repair of Tile Roofing with Richard Jordan

Building conservation masterclass

Ref: B3D10066


About this course

This course covers the history of traditional hand and machine-made plain tiles, pantiles and other forms of fired material used for roofing, but mainly concentrates on their conservation and repair.

The starting point is an understanding of how roofs work and the various 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 preparing tiles and mortar and their application to roofs, including setting out and recording and dealing with ridges, valleys, eaves etc. The course will be supplemented by practical sessions on surveying old roofs, traditional detailing, writing specifications and finding sources of information.

Course Description

Day 1  
Conservation and understanding tiling:  How slate roofs work; single lap fixed gauge and variable gauge; overs and unders; tegula and imbrex; double lap plain tiles; evolution from vernacular to modern. 
Sorting tiles to understand the difference between hand-made and machine-made tiles. 
Regional roof types; materials - types of clays and different styles of clay tiles and formats. 
Guides and codes of practice including British and European standards. 
Laths and battens; nails; mortars; head bedding, bedding, torching, flaunches, ridges and hips, mortar mixes and leadwork, hips, ridges. 
Clay tile production - big production machine-made compared to handmade manufacturing.  Recording a vernacular tiled roof.  

Day 2 
Setting out for fixed gauge and variable gauge large format clay tiles. Overs and unders, tegulas and imbrex. Hand-made plain tiles compared to modern machine-made. 
Setting out for fixed gauge, unders and overs, plain tiles and variable gauge tiles.
Gauging tiled roofs; battening, setting out a roof for swept laced PMV and lead valleys identifying the problems associated with each detail.  Mortars. 
Start to tile the rigs using machine-made tiles and handmade tiles.

Day 3
Tiling the roof using modern and handmade plain tiles to the four areas to include valleys. 
Recording the roofs. 
Present the findings of the tiled roof recordings. 
Issue of certificates and depart.   


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.


Richard Jordan

Richard Jordan is a specialist in historic roofing who is based in Derbyshire and provides training and advice across the United Kingdom.  An experienced roof slater and tiler, his interest and passion for our built heritage developed whilst working with his father, who was his mentor. 


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

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