Corrugated iron has been a feature of our landscape for nearly 200 years. A trait of the industrial revolution, British builders first used new ferrous building materials to roof factory-worker churches, agricultural structures and in faded trades such as peat processing.
Conserving traditional buildings like these is important for understanding our architectural heritage. It is also surprising how comfortable, attractive and well-protected restored buildings with metal roof sheets can be. Here we take you through some of the opportunities and challenges of conserving and restoring structures with metal sheeting.
Why Restore and Conserve?
Many of Britain’s farms are home to barns, sheds and other buildings that need protection. Corrugated steel roofing sheets are a great way to conserve buildings, or even restore them for active agricultural use.
Working with local conservation agencies to restore and repair these buildings can also entitle you to grants – particularly on agricultural land.
Roofing and How to Approach Ferrous Cladding Restoration
Most conservation agencies will ask that you restore building materials before replacing them. Scottish and English heritage recommend dismantling corrugated sheets, and having them factory restored, before re-assembly.
However, there is often a conservation case to be made for replacing old cladding with steel roofing sheets. This might involve swapping out individual sheets for new ones, but can extend to entire walls and roofs. The most commonly replaced part of historic buildings is the roof.
The Case for High Strength Steel in Restoration
It is often possible to make a case to conservation agencies for replacing lighter corrugated iron with higher strength, galvanised steel roofing sheets. In some situations, it is even a requirement to replace lighter, older cladding with at least 26-gauge steel cladding.
Usually, you must keep as closely as possible to original building techniques. However, if an old building is suffering because the roof uses overlapping and short metal sheets, it is sometimes also possible to replace smaller overlapping sheets with single long ones. Look for evidence of long-term or endemic corrosion between joints in particular. Long sheets are a very affordable way of making buildings more water resistant.
Historic stone structures with seriously damaged roofs can also be temporarily protected using metal sheets.
For more information on how we can get the right materials to conserve and restore historic structures, contact the helpful team at Bushbury Cladding.