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Heavy 3 matches characteristics For gothic church refurbishment

5 Jun 2024
Case study

Heavy 3 roof slates have been installed as part of a striking listed church conversion in Monifieth, Scotland. The architect specified them due to their similar characteristics and appearance to the original Welsh slate roof. The Heavy 3 slate has helped to ensure that the church’s original gothic features remain unchanged.

Built in 1872, the Category C Listed church in Monifieth, near Dundee, had been empty and unused since at least 2014. With a T-shaped floor plan and Victorian Gothic architecture, the large church space was bought by joinery and building contractors J&T Empire Ltd. to convert into four luxury apartments. The conversion, designed by Jon Frullani Architect Ltd., sought to utilise existing features including the round bell tower, Tudor arch styled windows and internal Gothic arches.

As part of the work, it was necessary to overhaul the existing roof by installing a new membrane and roof slates. When considering a suitable replacement for the original Welsh slate roof, the architect initially considered sourcing a new batch of second-hand Welsh slates; however, it was agreed that it would be too difficult to guarantee their quality and so an alternative solution was sought.

After speaking to the local CUPA PIZARRAS sales representative, the company’s Heavy 3 slate was specified. Heavy 3 is widely considered to be the ideal roofing slate for many sensitive heritage projects in Scotland due to its resemblance to traditional Scottish Ballachulish slate.

“Keeping the church’s original features – including the roof – was pivotal to the success of this project, given its listed status,” commented Douglas Sturrock, Director at John Frullani. “We wanted to ensure that any new materials brought onto the site were as close a match as possible to the original building materials. The character and appearance of the CUPA PIZARRAS slate matched the character profile of the existing slate perfectly.”

CUPA PIZARRAS Heavy 3 is a non-carbonated slate formed by tectonic compression with blue-black colouring, a riven surface, non-rusting metallic particles and thin laminations. While CUPA 3 slate is available in three thicknesses, Heavy 3 is the thickest at 7.65mm so it is an ideal heavy-duty roofing product for areas with extreme weather conditions. As a natural slate, Heavy 3 is also UV, chemical and pollutant resistant and comes with a 100-year warranty.

Having worked with CUPA PIZARRAS slate many times before, Duncan McLean from McLean Roofing, the contractor on the project, endorsed the selection: “We always recommend CUPA PIZARRAS slate when a product selection hasn’t yet been made, so I was pleased that the architect had already specified CUPA PIZARRAS slate in this case. Easy to cut and install, it is also consistent in terms of thickness and shape. In my opinion, it’s one of the leading roof slate brands.”

A team of five contractors from McLean Roofing installed the roof over a period of two months, fixing the slates to sarking board - as is traditional in Scotland - in diminishing courses using copper nails. The process was simple despite the T-shaped church roof’s unusually long length and broad depth of pitch. The trickiest element of the installation was the church towers’ steep turret roof, which required a significant number of courses.

The project was completed in the summer of 2022, with all four properties sold within a matter of weeks.

Marc Jackson, joint Managing Director of J&T Empire, commented: “When we first started working on the building some of the locals had mixed feelings about the conversion. It wasn’t until we were nearing the completion that everyone started to notice the building being brought back to its former glory. Everyone who walked past would comment on the building and say how good it looked, some people were stopping and taking pictures. We are delighted with the finished results.”

For more information on CUPA PIZARRAS roof slates, please visit,