When the original Episcopal Palace in Astorga, Spain, was destroyed by a fire in 1886, legendary architect Antoni Gaudi was assigned to reconstruct the structure. Gaudi, a modernist architect, built a palace reminiscent of the castles of royalty, complete with a moat and ornate gargoyles along its crest.
After decades of weathering the elements, however, the Episcopal Palace was in need of some repair. Recently, Spanish slate company Cupa Pizarras fitted the castle with gorgeous natural slate roofing.
Using 6mm thick slate tiles, the Astorga monument was restored to its former glory and continues to stand sentry over the Spanish landscape. It is currently home to the Museo de los Caminos, a museum dedicated to objects related to the Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage routes to the burial place of Saint James.
Slate roofing was specified for a number of reasons. First and most obviously, slate roofing was first used on the roofs of castles and churches in medieval days. With its castle-like architecture, it was a clear choice of material, and remains so on many restorations.
However, this hardy rock is more than just a gorgeous and historically-accurate roofing material. Slate roofing is incredibly durable in any element– fireproof, waterpoof, and sturdy against hail, there are few conditions that can phase it. Even hurricanes have been defeated by this material. The typical lifespan of a slate roof is upwards of 100 years. In comparison, other popular roofing materials such as asphalt shingles are expected to be replaced every 30 years. Additionally, the gorgeous and durable nature of slate often ads market value to any property.
Slate roofing is also extremely eco-friendly. Although this was hardly a concern for the 1800’s architect who first designed it, sustainable design has become a focus for many architects. Thanks to its innate properties, slate roofing needs little more than to be cut out of the mountain and hand-carved to be ready to be fitted. This avoids the emission of ozone-eating CO2, and uses even less water than the environmentally-revered terra cotta tiles.
Whether it’s restoring a castle to its former glory, or constructing a high-end modern home for the generations to come, slate roofing is a reliable and gorgeous choice. Click on the gallery below to see some more gorgeous slate roofing projects:
For years, solar panels have dominated the industry in terms of providing homeowners with clean, sustainable and money-saving energy. A worthwhile investment for both the Earth and bank account, solar panels are a feel-good home improvement that starts paying for itself the day they are installed. Some companies will even buy back unused energy produced.
Unfortunately, some high-end homeowners are turning away from this option due to its glaring, unsightly appearance. For consumers spending valuable time and money making their homes gorgeous, it makes sense they would not want to besmirch all the aesthetic hard work.
Spanish slate company CupaPizarras combined their quality slate tile with innovative technology to solve this issue. Slate tile, especially the dark quality that comes from Spain’s quarries, naturally traps a lot of heat. By placing thermal panels underneath these tiles, the company found a way to make eco and wallet-friendly technology entirely invisible.
Already, CUPA’s “ThermoSlate” has attracted attention in Europe. Indeed, it looks promising to be the next big step in environmentally-friendly building. Keep reading to learn about all the benefits of this innovative product:
The entire point of solar technology, of course, is that it is a renewable source of energy that does not emit CO2 into our atmosphere. At a time where the health of our planet is at utmost concern, cutting back on our carbon footprint is on the minds of most consumers.
ThermoSlate does just this. On average, this solar slate tile technology saves about 198 pounds of CO2 emissions per 3 square feet of product.
Slate tile, alone, is very eco-friendly. Due to its innate properties, the stone needs only minimal processing from quarry to construction site. Hand-split by skilled crafters, slate tile does not need any factory manufacturing that releases harmful emissions or chemicals that may leak into the environment. It uses even less water than terra cotta, often renowned as one of the more environmentally-friendly building materials on market.
And, because of its exceptionally long life, slate does not clog up landfills like other shingles do.
Slate tile is one of the most reliable and durable building materials on the market today. Naturally fireproof, water resistant and non-porous, slate can stand up to both freezing hail and wildfire conditions.
While ThermoSlate comes with a warranty of 75 years, quality slate has a normal life expectancy of over 100 years. To put this number into perspective, asphalt shingles, America’s most common roofing choice, is only expected to live around 30 years.
According to the EPA, the average American household of 4 uses around 400 gallons of water per day. Out of this, around 54% of water used daily is for showering, faucets, and washing machines— meaning about 216 gallons per day have heating needs.
ThermoSlate panels have an area of 15.6 square feet and generate around 67 gallons of heated water per day. Depending on the size of the roof in question, CUPA recommends installing between 3 and 4 of these panels. With 3 panels installed, around 201 gallons of hot water can be produced daily— already nearly reaching the approximate daily water heating needs. Depending on a home’s heated water usage, CUPA estimates that approximately 2/3 of a year’s water heating needs can be met with ThermoSlate technology.
Roofs are not the only place you can install a ThermoSlate panel. Recently, slate siding has become a popular option for many high-end buildings. Thermal and acoustically insulating, slate cladding affords a structure a uniquely sleek and modern touch while also providing element-proof and sturdy protection. ThermoSlate technology can be adapted to fit under these siding tiles, catching the sun at whatever angle hits your home.
Slate flooring is also extremely popular. ThermoSlate under flooring panels are a great patio option. Non-porous and waterproof, slate’s textured surface makes it naturally non-slip. For homeowners with a pool, this solar technology can be fitted to heat a pool on it’s own.
As mentioned before, ThermoSlate technology is able to circumvent the annoyance of obvious, unsightly solar panels. High-end homeowners often spend a fortune on every detail of their homes. Slapping on a solar panel only takes away from the desired aesthetic.
Once installed, ThermoSlate is completely invisible. Even the most trained eye would not be able to pick out where the panels lay. Being a high-quality material, slate tile often ads value to a home’s market price. With the thermal technology safely hidden underneath, this value can be fully appreciated.
To read more about this innovative technology, visit the CupaUSA website here.
Hungarian soccer player Ferenc “Pancho” Puskás has been honored in proper athlete-legend fashion. Remembered to be one of the top scorers of all time, Pancho is considered one of the best soccer players in history according to FIFA and the UEFA. He helped win gold at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and second place in the 1954 Switzerland World Cup. Now, his legacy lives on in the form of a rather extraordinary soccer arena.
Home to the Hungarian first division side Puskás Academy FC, the massive structure was opened in April 2014 in rural Felcsút and quickly named “the world’s best luxury soccer stadium”. The Pancho Arena, featuring a sweeping, bat-like canopy entirely covered in slate roofing, took contractor Teto Horn 7 months to install.
A marvel to look at, the structure features tall, wide windows and modern copper and timber accents. Designed by renowned Hungarian architect Imre Makovetz, the stadium can house 3,500 fans. Makovetz, a strong voice in the push for organic architecture, modeled the structure to mimic the surrounding landscape, including fan vaults that “spread like branches” and using sustainable materials.
Natural slate roofing is not only beautiful, weather-resistant and long-lasting, but an eco-friendly material as well. Unlike competing “earth-friendly” products like terra cotta, natural slate requires only minimal processing from mine to roof. Hand split, and with natural fireproof and water-resistant properties, many harmful CO2 emissions used in processing are eliminated.
As for popular roofing options such as shingles and clay and concrete tiles, they often need replacing within a homeowner’s lifetime. Slate roofing, on the other hand, has a renowned lifespan of 100+ years— saving not only space in landfills, but money used in repairs.
In fact, slate roofing is so durable that it is not uncommon for it to outlive the life of its parent building. In instances like these, slate tiles can easily be removed and used on another structure.
To read more about this incredible stadium, click here.
Centuries ago, ancient builders determined slate roofing to be a gorgeous, withstanding material suitable for housing royalty. Slate roofing first appeared on Europe’s medieval castles and spread to be used on houses of worship. Other than its sleek, classically beautiful appearance, slate was renowned for several other properties. Naturally water resistant, fire proof, and durable against all elements, quality slate has a lifetime of over 100 years.
To this day, natural slate remains a valuable and reliable building material. When historic monuments begin to deteriorate, slate roofing is often selected to maintain its natural elegance and preserve the structure for more than a century to come. Here are 5 castles that were restored using natural slate roofing:
This castle was commissioned by Count Gyula Andrássy, a Hungarian Prime Minister best known for his role in creating the Austo-Hungarian dualist form of government. A firm supporter of Germany, he also formed the Austro-German Alliance of 1879 that was the cornerstone of Austria’s foreign policy until the monarchy collapsed in 1918.
Built by Arther Meining between 1880 and 1885, the castle was constructed to mimic the architecture found in France’s Loire Valley and symbolically represents time’s passage over a year; the structure has 4 doors to symbolize each season, 12 turrets for the months, and 365 windows for each day.
In need of repair in 2003, contractors Teto Horn Kft selected dark grey slate roofing to nicely contrast the cream facade. The castle’s 2500 square meter roof was restored using the 7.5 mm thick material, returning the structure to its former elegance while providing strong and reliable protection.
Built in the 12th century, this magnificent castle stood guard on the border of Loon, a country once apart of the Holy Roman Empire. Passed down from family to family, the structure underwent several additions. It was destroyed in the famous medieval Battle of Brustem, and again during WWII, and since being bought by Richard Slurs in 1997 has been undergoing renovations.
Architects Paul Saintenoy and Josse Schadde have remodeled the castle to mimic the prominent style of the Neo-Flemish Renaissance. A sturdy, blue-black slate roofing tile was selected to give the spires and roof depth and uniformity. The 200 square meter roof is now covered in the smooth, sturdy material.
This chateau-like castle was constructed 1938, is surrounded by a gorgeous English-style landscape park in a Limburg village. Marked by a pearl facade, a wrap-around porch and prominent windows, the structure recently got a face-lift with the help of slate roofing.
To complement the castle’s teal fixtures, a reliable blue-black tile was selected. This gives the roof a classic, uniform appearance, while drawing in the structure’s distinguishing features. The 250 square meter roof was restored in 2012 by Vrijens contractors.
For more information on the restoration project, click here.
This 16th century building is marked by its rough, cobbled facade, surrounding moat, and circular corner towers at either end. Property of the Counts of Gruyères, it was lost in the bankruptcy of Count Michel to creditors in 1554. Originally a fortified house, the castle was reimagined as country housing for bailiffs of the area. In 2010, the castle became a listed historic monument.
A pale grey slate roofing was selected and installed by Rudy Fortier. This shade of tile compliments the earthen tones throughout the structure, providing a solid roofing durability and shade without washing out the stone facade.
Now a popular bed and breakfast, this castle was constructed in the 11th century on a rocky outcrop overlooking the town of Chalais, France. Occupied by the English during the Hundred Years War, the castle was destroyed a month before the Battle of Castillon by Charles VII. Rebuilt in the 16th century, only one tower of the castle had survived. In 2011, the castle suffered financial difficulty and was put up to sale. Bought by its current owner, television personality Yves Lecoq, the castle was made a historical monument and life-saving renovations began.
Phillipe Villeneuve, Chief Architect for Historical Monuments, led the renovation efforts. All 3,000 square meters of the 17th century roof were removed and replaced by pale grey roofing slate. Slightly textured, it affords a weathered and antiqued look while ensuring sturdy and reliable protection. The charming, sand-colored facade is complemented by the smooth but subtle slate roofing finish.
Slate roofing has been a reliable choice since the castle-building days. Favored for both classic restorations as well as modern statement buildings, slate remains a quality material with the long-lasting reliability and gorgeous appearance high-end contractors seek. Here are 5 more slate roof inspirations for your next project:
Homeowners spared no expense when constructing this mansion-inspired home in Livingstone, just outside of Dallas. As such, they wanted a reliable, long-lasting roofing material that would also ad a touch of classic beauty.
As such, they specialized a black slate roof. Made of unfading, weather-resistant material, natural slate roofs boast a lifetime of over 100 years and maintain their chic, timeless appeal. Accented by black balcony ornaments, the slate roof beautifully contrasts the marble-like facade and gives a regal touch to the home.
Visit CupaUSA’s website for more.
This gorgeous, French-inspired building in Copenhagen recently got a touch-up with natural slate roofing tile. A fixture on one of the main shopping streets, the building’s mansard roof was in desperate need of refurbishment. Mansard roofs, also known as a French or curb roof, feature two slopes on each of its sides with dormer windows.
Non-fading slate roof tile was selected to replace the older slate, ensuring the roof will retain the same appearance throughout its life. Nicely complementing the opal facade, the dark slate affords a classic but bold appearance to the ornate building.
Visit the Falk Tag & Facade website for more.
This quaint farm cottage in the rural village of Privett, UK, got a high-end slate treatment when its roof needed repairs. Featuring a facade of sporadic red and white brick, the sturdy slate roof stands as a uniform addition that both complements and stands out. Natural slate tile roofing was specified so that all materials harmonized with the surrounding area.
Nigel Land of Skyline Roofing commented that he and his team were “very impressed” with the “superb slate”, adding that he had been in the roofing industry for 30 years. The owners of the cottage, as well, were “delighted with their new roof”.
Visit CupaUSA’s website for more.
This beautiful house of worship in Tiffin, Ohio, was recently fitted with a gorgeous Dover Black slate roof. The church, boasting magnificent stained glass windows, natural stone siding and copper highlights, is a popular tourist destination. Originally constructed by Irish immigrants in 1831, it is the Diocese of Toledo’s oldest parish.
Restoration efforts aimed to restore St. Mary’s classic beauty. Taking Ohio’s severe weather conditions into consideration, natural slate tile was selected as a durable and long-lasting investment that only enhances the church’s character and charm.
Visit St. Mary’s Website for more.
While hailed as a reliable restoration material, slate roofing has often been fitted to lend both strength and style to modern projects. These lodges at the luxury KP Golf Club in Yorkshire beautifully complement the surrounding trees, sleek slate tiles standing out against the wooden facade. Priding itself on its championship golf course, pro shop, bar and restaurant overlooking the Humber River, KP Golf Club spared no expense in constructing comfortable, long-lasting accommodations for their guests. Durable, fireproof, and resistant to freezing conditions, these lodges are prepared for any element.
Visit KP Golf Club’s website for more.