How to re-roof a heritage home

Colin and Carolyn took a holistic view when restoring the roof of their heritage home on Sydney’s north shore.

It’s a privilege owning a heritage home, says homeowner Colin, but one that comes with a certain amount of responsibility.

Colin and his wife Carolyn have just completed an extension – and large roof restoration – on their historic home at Pymble on Sydney’s leafy north shore. Because of its age (the house dates back to 1902) and the many extensions that have been added over the years, the building has a complex roof structure, with a variety of different pitches, valleys and even box guttering. It was not an easy job by any means.

The couple has owned the house since 2001, but decided to co-ordinate their extension with fixing and restoring the roof, choosing Monier Roofing’s Elemental™ Shingle to create the look of the original slate tiles, at a much more affordable cost.

Colin spent over three years researching the perfect solution for their roof before choosing Elemental.

“We have a low pitch and a high pitch roof, so there’s not many products that can do that,” he explains. “We wanted something that looks like slate and we liked the strength and lightness of the product.’


“I chose the Elemental™ Shingle, in Midnight, which is the colour closest to slate,” he adds. “And I went for round gutters in Dulux’s Monument colour. The Elemental colour won’t change, but the gutters will fade slightly, so it’s designed to emulate each other.”

Because of the building’s heritage, the local council had a preference for the new roof to be slate as well, but with the help of Colin’s designer, Anthony Maiolo from Luxitecture and builder, Brendan Deguara of BCD Building, they persuaded local authorities to accept Elemental™ as a substitute.

“Going down a Welsh slate option was not desirable,” Colin says. “Being next to a tennis court, it wasn’t practical – it is brittle, so you can’t walk on it, and because of the size of roof we have, the cost would be prohibitive.”

The re-roofing was a large and complex job because of the age of the building, with the builders removing four tonnes of debris from the roof cavity and repairing the substructure at the same time.


Colin and Carolyn also took the opportunity of the re-roofing project to add on Monier’s new InlineSOLAR™ product at the same time. These integrated panels create a beautiful low profile that blends with the new roofline. Plus, the multiple angles of the roof have allowed the home to have extensive solar coverage, as the panels are positioned on different sides of the building.

“I’ve used the angles of the house – and the engineers have worked it out perfectly – so I get solar now from about 6:30 am in the morning ’til about 6:30 at night,” says Colin. “I’ve got solar panels on four different roofs, so it’s following the sun. I’ve done it at different angles so, for different times of the year, I’ve got lower-pitched roofs picking up sun (which is more effective in summer), while the other side’s more effective in winter. This means you get more consistent power all the time throughout the day.”



1. Consider the house’s architectural heritage

Colin and Carolyn wanted to choose a product that would blend in with their home’s history, choosing the new lightweight Elemental™ Shingle to emulate the look of traditional slate tiles.

2. Use the opportunity to consider installing solar power

Monier’s InlineSOLAR™ integrates seamlessly with the new roofline, creating an elegant appearance that doesn’t detract from the home’s beauty.

3. Go with trusted tradies

The complexity of the job required expert handling. Brendan Deguara of BCD Building worked with Monier and Macarthur Roof Tiling, which has become a specialist in installing Elemental™, as it is still a relatively new product. 

4. Think of practicalities

When replacing a roof, especially one that is very old (this one was almost 120 years old) make sure you allow time and budget to repair the roof substructure at the same time. It’s the perfect time to upgrade elements such as insulation, which may not be up to current building standards.

5. Take time to research your options

Colin spent over three years researching roof tiling solutions, and even visited an existing Elemental™ roofing project in Melbourne while on a business trip to see the product in person.



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