Permaculturing in Portugal

One family's attempts to live in a more planet-friendly way

Still more roof

This week the roof is really starting to look like a roof from the outside as well as the inside. Monday we laid the insulation (50mm cork) on top of the boards of maritime pine, followed by the waterproof breathable membrane. No sooner had that gone down than the weather decided to test it out. We haven’t had a drop of rain since we took the roof off back at the beginning of July (well, apart from a 15-minute shower of dirt) and it waited until the very moment we got the waterproofing on. Considerate weather! Damn! When you’ve lived in Scotland for more than half your life, that’s a real novelty.

Cork insulation and breathable membrane go on to the roof

Cork insulation and breathable membrane go on

Cork insulation and breathable membrane go on

The view from the inside

The view from the inside

With the membrane fixed in place, the roof was ready to start re-laying the original schist slabs.

Laying the schist

Laying the schist. Chris looking over the first few courses

Handing up the schist

Handing up the large schist slabs

Wayne drilling slabs

Wayne drilling slabs for nailing in place

We are fixing the bottom, middle and top courses of schist slabs in place to prevent any slippage. We’re also creating slightly more overlap between courses than was used in the original roof, both for better coverage and waterproofing and to hold the stone in place. This roof should never move!

Two thirds of the way up the first half

Two thirds of the way up the first half

Lunchtime today: two thirds of the way up the first half

Half the roof done

The end of today: almost half complete

How it used to look

How it used to look before we started renovations

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  1. sophie August 26, 2010

    it looks fantastic, what a great job you all have done! xxx

  2. michelle August 27, 2010

    its happening so fast…well done

  3. pan August 27, 2010

    What an amazing transformation; it show the obvious all round benefits of using traditional building materials with the skills of hand crafts people……..
    An inspiration., thank you for sharing………….

  4. magnus September 2, 2010

    Brilliant ! Just seen this, forwarded from discussion i started on the expat site, about cork, so Sophie sent me link. Looks wonderful, that slate in particular. well done. we are far far behind on our main house roof.
    I have just posted on the expat site the u-values for cork, and itºs not great. let me know if you want to know more. Maybe you plan to insulate further inside as well?
    Abraços !

  5. luis iglesias December 7, 2010

    I am restoring a house and would like to buy cork for the roof. Do you know what is the best company I could import it from in Portugal?

  6. Quinta do Vale December 7, 2010

    Hi Luis. I replied to you on Facebook, but I’ll put the response here too in case it’s useful for anyone else.

    I only know of Amorim, the major cork wine-bottle stopper manufacturer. They manufactured the insulation I got, but I think there’s others and probably there’s also room for negotiation with your local building materials supplier, depending on quantity. See this forum page for a discussion about it. It’s the same page Magnus refers to in the comments above.

    Good luck!

  7. Nuno Sousa February 2, 2013

    A cobertura ficou muito boa. Parabéns!

    Onde arranjaram essa tela respirável à prova de água?

    Precisava desse material para a minha obra.


  8. Quinta do Vale February 2, 2013

    A loja local de materiais de construção. Eles obtiveram os lâminas transpirables do fabricante na Espanha.

  9. Ludovic May 29, 2014

    Hi there,

    from where in Portugal can I buy the best price cork to isolate the exterior walls of my house?

    Thank you so much for any help.

    Kind regards.

    Ludovic :-)

  10. Quinta do Vale May 30, 2014

    Hi Ludovic. I got my cork through my local builders merchant. It’s not particularly cheap. I guess it depends on how much you’re wanting, what thickness, etc. If it’s a lot then you should be able to negotiate a good discount. There are at least 2 manufacturers. Amorim is one. The other I don’t know as the cork packs have no label. The unlabelled ones are better quality – denser cork which holds together better.

  11. Ludovic May 30, 2014

    Hi Wendy,

    Thank you so much for your fast answer.
    As I understand, the unlabeled cork was delivered by the local builders merchant?
    I prefer that no name labeled one.
    I’m looking for an external wall isulation cork for my house.
    It will be a lot of material,than I hope to get a good discount.
    It will be enought a 140 mm thickness cork for an external isulation?
    I’m a new one by this areea :-) .
    Because cork has a better quality isulation as a styrodur-polyester one,shal I know if a 100 mm thickness cork isulation board is equal with a 140 mm styrodur isulation bord by the energy coefficient?

    Best regards.

  12. Quinta do Vale May 30, 2014

    I don’t know if the boards go up to that thickness. And they would be hugely expensive if they did. The rigid boards are more for roof insulation. Checking Amorim’s site, they apply wall insulation as a cork-based emulsion which is sprayed on. The R values should let you compare cork to polystyrene. I was under the impression polystyrene was the better insulator on that score alone, but cork breathes while polystyrene doesn’t and for me, polystyrene was not an option I was even going to consider.

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