In Estonia, chips used to be the most common wooden roof material and this is why chip and splinter roofs are today found to be hiding under old asbestos cement roofing. Historical evidence shows that chip roofs were first built at the end of the 18th century and became common at the end of the 19th and in the beginning of the 20th century. At first, chip roofs were built to replace thatched roofs that could be no longer built as the use of threshing material resulted in a scarcity of suitable material. In South Estonia, approximately half of the buildings erected there had chip roofs by 1922.
Different types of wood are used as the raw material for roof chips; a lack of knots and timer that is easy to process should be the first criteria to be considered. This is why aspen is most popular today; however, spruce that has lots of fine and sharp knots is also widely used. Pine chips are uncommon as pine has large knots. Aspen has the benefit of having a relatively small number of knots but it also tends to show more play under a strong sun.
Chip roofs are usually built to accommodate three layers; this is the optimum number for wooden roofing materials. Roofs that are thicker may not dry completely after heavy rainfall and this may result in the onset of rotting. We only recommend double roofs on outhouses of minor importance as, inevitably, a double layered roof will have a service life that is considerably shorter. In general, the average service life of wooden roofing is assumed to be 10 years per layer; roof sides that face south are usually the shortest living as the influence of UV radiation on chip roofs can be quite devastating. Without proper maintenance, the roof will easily become covered by lichen and twig and leaf remains, which will start to absorb water. The service life of a wet roof will be considerably shorter than that of a dry roof. A diligent house owner will inspect his roofs at least once (better twice) a year, removing all the loose debris and applying some tar or tar oil to the roof. The longevity of wooden roofs requires quick drying of the material. This can be facilitated by a more abrupt roof pitch or applying a layer that protects the roof material from moisture and water (impregnation) – and the importance of regular cleaning can’t be overestimated.
Puitkatused OÜ offers you both aspen and spruce roof chips with the length of 510–520 mm; a triple layer will be fitted at 165 mm interval and chips will be secured with long, thin nails. This is important to know for setting the roof boarding (50 x 50 mm sawn timber) to be sure that the chips will be a good match later. Classic chip roofs have ridges finished with roof boarding; boards as wide as possible, usually 180 or 200 mm, are chosen for that purpose. Gables will be finished with 150 mm gable board and an additional 100 mm board to cover the roof edges.
Anyone capable of yielding a hammer can build a chip roof, using some tips and recommendations. However, as anyone should do the job that he/she feels most comfortable doing, we’re always willing to “chip in” for you.