Part of Historic Environment Scotland

Traditional roof repairs

Explore the appearance, performance and deterioration of traditional roofing materials and their contribution to the significance of historic buildings.



Our Advanced Diploma prospectus contains information about all our short courses:

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10 weeks


9 January - 19 March 2020

Study time

Taught:10 days


As a stand-alone short course:£885


Looking for a related qualification? Learn about our Accredited Diploma that can be taken part-time or full time.

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A detailed close up of a slate roof


Gain a brief history of the wide range of traditional and innovative materials used on Scottish roofs from the medieval period to the present day on this short course. Get an overview of how roofs function as an assemblage of many disparate elements, including dormers and chimneys.

Examine traditional Scottish roof coverings, including:

  • stone
  • slate
  • tile
  • thatch
  • lead
  • corrugated iron and other metals
  • traditional construction methods

What you will learn

In this short course, you will understand how to identify areas most prone to decay, deterioration and mechanical failure, in cladding materials, fixings, flashings, rainwater goods and underlying timber or metal structures.

By the end of the course, you'll know more about how to:

  • inspect and survey traditional roof structures
  • diagnose causes of problems
  • procure materials for a roofing project in the context of current principles of conservation best practice

In addition, explore sustainable procurement and the current current challenges of maintaining adequate levels of traditional roofing skills in the Scottish workforce.

Topics covered

  • Introduction to Scottish roofing
  • Geology of Scottish slate
  • Repair and conservation of slate roofs
  • Traditional roofing lead-work in Scotland
  • Rainwater goods and roof features
  • Chimney repairs and maintenance
  • Corrugated sheet iron roofs
  • Repair and conservation of corrugated roofs
  • Scottish thatched roof traditions
  • Repair and conservation of thatched roofs
  • Repair and conservation of clay tile roofs

Course content

Short courses offer the opportunity to learn about building conservation through lectures, workshops and site visits.

Classes, lectures and presentations

Students benefit from attending classes and lectures taught by national and international experts. Forthcoming lectures are to be confirmed.

Previous speakers have included:

  • Dr Joan Walsh, Geologist and Scottish Slate Specialist
  • Stuart Eydmann, Planner and author
  • Neil Grieve (University of Dundee)
  • Jessica Hunnisett, Senior Technical Officer (Historic Environment Scotland)
  • Ali Davey, Project Manager (Historic Environment Scotland)
  • Chris McGregor, Head of Projects (Historic Environment Scotland)

Hands-on workshop/lab activities

Students are often offered the opportunity to take part in hands-on workshops or lab activities as part some short courses.

On this short course, you can participate in workshops on:

  • lead welding
  • lead bossing
  • slate dressing
  • slate laying

Potential site visits

Students have the opportunity to participate in site visits. These vary from one year to another.

Previous site visits for this course have included:



Although our short courses are not formally assessed, students will be awarded a certificate upon successfully completing this course.

A formal qualification can be obtained by studying our Advanced Professional Diploma on Technical Building Conservation.

What our students say