In Lithuania, wooden buildings form a significant part of the architectural heritage of towns and villages. However, both craftsmen and owners of wooden houses often lack knowledge about its maintenance and cultural significance. In the autumn two workshops on house roofs and their coverings were held at the Lithuanian Open Air Museum and Gargždai Regional Museum (Agluonėnai farm). Theoretical knowledge and practical skills on how to choose the right materials and products, how to cover roof correctly were deepened. The craftsmen presented the traditional roof coverings of wooden shingles, clay tiles and reeds. Participants of the workshop had possibility to try practical works. Lecturers introduced the development of roofs, regional peculiarities and current trends.
The roof is one of the most important elements of a house, perhaps even the most important. Roofs have changed with fashion and have always strictly marked social status. Each owner chose roofing to the best of his ability, usually what was easily acquired in the living environment. Various materials were used for roof covering: reeds, straw, grass, boards, different types of shingles, later, in the 20th century clay or concrete tiles and tin were common. The shingles were split or shaved by hand or by horsepower from different wood: spruce, aspen, black alder, birch … and today there is no consensus on which is better – aspen or spruce shingles.
Now we have a very wide choice from traditional to modern roofing. It is estimated that the average roofing lasts for 20 to 40 years. It is not easy to decide which roofing to choose. Gradually, traditional materials are returning to fashion. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages. By knowing the properties, choosing and applying traditional techniques or certain details correctly, we can enrich and decorate our buildings. Knowledge of traditions enables the creation of a unique own living environment that provides self-esteem, confidence and peace.
Author: Rasa Bertasiute (KTU)