500 Year Vision

Take pleasure from walking lightly on this Earth

A larch roof for Novy Mlyn?


I have just finished a lesson with a student who is a wood expert. He has a firm selling timber & so we were discussing wood as he needs to learn wood related vocabulary. I was quizzing him about the house he is building. I love random things like this. Last week we were discussing the Czech economy amongst other things & he told me that in Moravia there is unemployment of 20%, whereas in South Bohemia it is 4.6%.  I asked him about using wood as a roofing material as I had seen what appeared to be wooden tiles on a church close by, I thought this was strange as I’ve never seen such a thing in the UK & was sceptical about whether it could be waterproof & long lasting. As it turns out…

He is using larch wood tiles on the roof of his 500 year old house. They are guaranteed for 70 years, and as they are hand cut larch, they do not need to be treated with insecticides & preservatives. This sounds to me like a brilliantly eco friendly roofing method. It is labour intensive, however the trees grow in a part of the Czech Republic where jobs are needed. I discussed this with M & we have decided to investigate using this material on our roof at Novy Mlyn. I wasn’t happy with the roofing materials which have so far been suggested – a plasticky slate (for some of the reasons discussed in my last post – how do we know how this material will perform in five decades of sunshine? Larch roofs have been used for centuries, it is solid technology) . I don’t want to be shipping genuine slate from China either – the embedded energy costs are too high just to make your house look pretty. I would be very happy to see if a larch roof would work with Novy Mlyn, and promote the craft to the UK.

I told you that teaching English was a really interesting job!

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