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:
1. Castle of Andrássy, Hungary
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.
2. Ordingen Castle, Belgium
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.
3. Leva Castle, Belgium
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.
4. Castle of Gruyères, France
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.
5. Castle Chalais, France
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.