French Roof

Tiling and Insulation, Orbessan, France

We love problem solving! And this was a problem indeed. Pine Martins (Fwein in French) had taken over the roof cavity, ripped up all the insulation for nesting (over 200msq!) and caused no end of problems with their burrowing that caused huge heat loss and leaks in the roof.

The task: remove all existing tiles (over 15,000!); fit a new batch of high quality foil insulation; create a new cavity and fit a new breather membrane; renew all the tiles and make sure the damn things don’t get back in. The South of France doesn’t get much snow but we got it. Not the first time we’ve encountered freak weather.

So, under duress we still enjoyed the gorgeous scenery and made things happen. The tiles came up fine and were in good condition. The cavity made for great interest - it seems the Pine martins had used everything they could for nesting including some old pants and socks! You could see why the house was suffering heat loss with huge patches missing, so off it came to be replaced with a 20 layer foil blanket throughout. Previously the inadequate membrane acted as insulation and waterproofing, doing neither well. So we replaced this with two separate products.

Once the insulation was in place we fitted a new set of battons which created a breather cavity between the insulation and soon-to-be-laid breather membrane (waterproof). This system was used throughout the entire 200msq roof. Once we had the external envelope completed we set about stopping the Pine Martins from coming back. We did this by sealing all the eaves of the roof with breathable Lime mortar, along with the ridge cap. We then spent a whole day searching the roof for potential holes and filling them with timber or Lime to suit. A new lead flashing was also installed on the small gable roof. We even found time to have a glass of Red.

The client gave us feedback after the first winter that the insulation had made a massive difference and what once was a breezy house was now cosy and warm.