A roof extension project in London has used an innovative fibre cement slate, specifically designed for vertical application, to create a distinctive, contemporary dormer conversion, which had to meet stringent local planning requirements. The project is one of the first in the UK to use the new Vertigo slates, which were developed by roofing and facades manufacturer Marley Eternit.
The home owner specified the Vertigo fibre cement slates to create a clean cut, precisely engineered, slate panel aesthetic for his dormer loft conversion and roof extension, forming a contrast against the riven tiles used on the existing roof and differentiating it from other roof extensions in the area.
The first of its kind in the UK, Vertigo consists of small 600mm by 300mm slate like panels which can be quickly fixed onto battens, with the desired amount of insulation in between. The fibre cement slates perfectly adapt to the contours of the building, providing a second protective skin.
He explains: “There are hundreds of similar roof extensions in Chiswick, all determined by the same stringent local planning requirements. We appointed PRS Builders to carry out a flat roof dormer conversion for us but we wanted something different, we didn’t want a ‘me-too’ extension. The idea was to create as modern an aesthetic as possible, using an innovative material, not the same type of vertically hung tiles used on other conversions in the area, but still working within the planning constraints.
“We originally chose zinc but it proved to be too expensive and not eco-friendly enough. When we heard about Vertigo, we changed the specification as it offered the stand out aesthetic we were looking for but was a more cost effective and sustainable option.”
The Vertigo slate range is very easy to fix by any builder or roofing contractor and has three different installation methods to give more design flexibility and freedom. On this project, PRS Builders fitted the Vertigo fibre cement slates using a panel installation, so that the regular bond panels give geometric precision. However, it can also be fitted using a traditional method of installation, which gives a natural slate appearance with slate hooks or another option is broken bond, where panels are staggered to give a close boarded effect.
The homeowner adds: “We’re really pleased with the finished effect, the extension blends in with surrounding roofscapes but at the same time, the Vertigo finish offers something a little bit different - a distinctive, yet under-stated, aesthetic that sets ours apart from all of the other similar dormer conversions in the area.”
Charlotte Hughes, marketing product manager from Marley Eternit, comments: “As architects, specifiers and self builders look to create stand out residential designs in urban areas, fibre cement is becoming an increasingly popular material, not only for the roof but also for vertical slating. We developed Vertigo to give more flexibility to specifiers and designers who want to use fibre cement slates across the whole building envelope. This innovative method of vertical slating uses invisible fixings to provide clean lines and a modern aesthetic and is perfectly suited to new build or refurbishment work.”
Lightweight, weather and temperature resistant and available in eight different colours from blue/black to terracotta, Vertigo slates can be used to create beautiful, distinctive and elegant vertical cladding solutions for a full range of building types. Perfect continuity between the roof and facade can be achieved by using Vertigo in combination with Marley Eternit’s Birkdale or Rivendale fibre cement roof slates.
Vertigo also boasts superb sustainability credentials, helping to achieve environmental credits with a ‘very good’ BES 6001 Responsible Sourcing accreditation and its own Environmental Product Declaration (EPD). Fibre cement also offers sustainability benefits throughout its whole life cycle, as it can be fully recycled at the end of its use. Waste fibre cement can be ground down and used to replace limestone and shale in clinker production, the essential ingredients for Portland cement.