Roofconsult Website Elevate Helps Historic Landmark Create New Roof Deck
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A 13th century tower is benefiting from a durable new roof deck, thanks to a single-ply roofing system manufactured by Elevate (the new name for Firestone Building Products). Elevate Helps Historic Landmark Create New Roof Deck
RubberGard EPDM was used as part of the £5m refurbishment of Clifford’s Tower, one of York’s most famous landmarks. Built during the reign of King Henry III, the structure was used as a treasury, exchequer, mint, gaol and seat of royal power for much of the 14th and 15th centuries. Since a fire in 1684, the tower lay in ruin before English Heritage began vital conservation works at the end of 2021.
To enable visitors to see previously inaccessible parts of the structure, a free-standing timber structure was constructed, including new walkways and stairs, which lead visitors 10m up to the new roof deck. Designed by Hugh Broughton Architects and in conjunction with conservation specialists Martin Ashley Architects, the timber structure sits on a raft foundation, which spreads the load without impacting the archaeological remains beneath the tower.
RubberGard EPDM was specified by the architects to provide a highly durable waterproofing solution for the roof deck. Highly flexible, the single-ply waterproofing membrane can be elongated by more than 300% without any detriment. This allows it to return to its original shape, and maintain its performance, after any expansions or retractions caused by severe weather.
Supplied by PermaRoof UK, the RubberGard EPDM was installed by Leicester-based roofing contractors, Modern Roofs, over an area spanning around 300 sq m.
Jason Jayes, director of Modern Roofs said: “The new roof deck provides magnificent views over York and demanded a waterproofing solution that will protect the structure for decades. The RubberGard EPDM was installed quickly and safely by our team across the roof deck as well as the staircase underneath, ensuring the structure is protected from the elements.
“Making sure this project was completed as smoothly as possible was crucial. We needed to make sure both the materials and the installation process were of the highest quality, providing the assurance that the waterproofing will last for generations and that this incredible landmark can be enjoyed by visitors for many more years to come.”
During the project, the heritage of the structure was always front of mind, which saw PermaRoof and Elevate provide full technical support throughout.
Carl Bailey, Regional Technical Manager for Elevate added: “The durability of RubberGard EPDM made it ideal for this important heritage project. The membrane has an unrivalled resistance to ozone, UV radiation and extreme temperatures, and as it doesn’t contain any plasticisers or flame retardants, its characteristics remain stable and unchanged over time.
“Made from a synthetic rubber compound, another benefit of RubberGard EPDM is that it is installed without the need for hot works, making onsite working conditions safer.”
The 16-month upgrade, which was completed in 2022, also comprised repairs to turret stairs, arrow slits, fireplaces and damaged stonework. On their way to the new roof deck, visitors can see the tower’s fascinating architectural details, explore a royal chapel and for the first time since the 17th century – a toilet built especially for Henry III.
Jeremy Ashbee, Head Properties Curator at English Heritage, commented: "One of England’s most important buildings, Clifford’s Tower is almost all that remains of York Castle, which was the centre of government for the North throughout the Middle Ages and up to the 17th-century. We not only wanted to preserve this incredible building but also do justice to its fascinating and multi-faceted history."
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