Since we are renovating and building a new home and have the opportunity to see what else is available in other regions of the world, I have been keeping an eye open for ideas from the northern hemisphere that might translate across to Australia, as well as checking out the differences.
One area that has interested me in particular is the varying roofing and cladding materials used over here in colder Scandinavian regions. For example, in Tromso, the chalets we stayed in had tar paper roofing tiles; that wouldn’t translate well to Queensland – the tar would drip off the roof in 40 degree heat, I am guessing. I asked someone how the roofing was constructed using this material. The process it seems is to lay down the ceiling timbers on top of the rafters first then add a layer of waterproofing material followed by plywood, insulation, plywood, waterproofing material and finally the tar paper, keeping everything snug and dry.
As many buildings have a second or third story, the roof cavity is utilised as living space with the vaulted ceiling following the roofline rather than being closed off as it is in Australia. This was interesting to me as the new house will be constructed with a vaulted upper ceiling to assist with air circulation.
In other areas of Scandinavia, the main roofing materials were a mixture of clay tiles or a wide profile metal cladding. I am guessing the wide profile assists in allowing the snow to slide off easier. There were also a large number of copper roofs in major cities; I’m not sure if this was to show wealth, purely a design element, or if there is another practical reason for it.
We also visited some heritage areas and saw some older forms of roofing, such as timber slats and shingles and sod roofs. I guess with such an abundance of timber, this is a practical solution. Sod roofs, of course, will be well watered in this climate.
As we moved south through Denmark and into Germany and down into Belgium the roof materials changed again and we saw slate, clay tile, corrugated iron, asbestos tiles and even the odd thatched home.
All this has given me food for thought for the roof of the new house we will soon be commencing on the vacant block of land created at Banyo. I definitely want the wider profile iron sheeting over the office space, which will nestle within the carport to the front of the house. The profile will hopefully add that classy, but simple, Nordic element to the home.