St. Germanus church Cornwall, Tyvek® roofing underlay, Cornish Building Photos, Product

St. Germanus Church, Cornwall : Tyvek Breather Membranes

Tyvek® roofing underlay, Southwest England, UK – breather membrane

14 Mar 2011

The restoration of an architectural and cultural gem: St. Germanus church on the Rame Peninsula in Cornwall puts faith in DuPont™ Tyvek® breather membranes

St. Germanus Church Cornwall, Tyvek roofing underlay
photo : DuPont™ Tyvek®

St. Germanus church restoration in Cornwall

Historic buildings have a special charm that require careful and sympathetic preservation even if they sometimes need a little ‘discreet’ help from very modern materials.

The medieval St. Germanus Church on the picturesque Rame Peninsula in Cornwall is one such architectural and cultural gem which now has a new roof benefitting from a reliable, hi-tech DuPont™ Tyvek® underlay.

This remote and exquisite 13th Century structure has continuously withstood the onslaught of time to serve its parishioners admirably, without even the need for contemporary amenities such as running water or electricity (its famed candlelit carol service draws international visitors). Nevertheless, the structure became vulnerable to the harsh coastal climate and had begun to lose roof slates at an alarming rate due to nail rot.

This put the precious interior at risk from wind and water and so it was time for some vigorous fundraising by its community and the application of superior roofing solutions to ensure the longevity of the restoration.

The project involved removing and saving whatever original Cornish Delabole slates could be re-used, undertaking any necessary structural repairs and then installing DuPont™ Tyvek® advanced-breather membranes before re-fixing both salvaged and new tiles. The membrane was essential both to protect the church from weather during the construction process (and should any slates fail in the future) and to allow for the evaporation of any interstitial moisture or condensation.

St. Germanus church Cornwall DuPont Tyvek roofing underlay St. Germanus church Cornwall DuPont Tyvek roofing underlay St. Germanus church Cornwall DuPont Tyvek roofing underlay
photos : DuPont™ Tyvek®

DuPont™ Tyvek® underlays offer proven durability (as demonstrated by recent test results) and are distinctive in several key ways that make them ideal for today’s roofing projects, whether new build or to preserve the treasures of the past. Unique because of the high-quality single layer construction, DuPont™ Tyvek® is naturally vapour open but also water-tight. This is due to its composition of millions of micro fibres that are bonded together to make a “maze” that’s impermeable to moisture and yet allows water vapour to pass through the natural pores in its structure.

Easy to install yet robust enough to withstand the rigours and exposures of a construction site, DuPont™ Tyvek® is resistant to UV damage, wear and tear and to high thermal exposure over the life of the roof, factors which may cause some other membranes to lose crucial water tightness.

Simon Crosbie, Director of Le Page Architects, ( a Cornwall-based practice highly experienced in working with historic buildings, comments, “The church is very typical of the Cornish coast line with its rugged, simple architecture matching the surroundings. Built mainly of slate stone, its fenestration is of local granite as is the Cornish slate roof. As with all Grade 1 listed buildings of this nature a purposeful philosophy has to be adopted to ensure corrective work is undertaken that protects the fabric without damaging or removing any of the historic “nature” of the architecture. In this particular case, the roofs had to be stripped as the slates and rainwater goods were failing.”

Simon Crosbie continues, “Due to the poor original levels where the slate roofs abutted the parapet walls, new granite copings have had to be set in place. This detail allows the correct lead soaker and flashing dimensions, and of course the DuPont™ Tyvek® membrane, to be turned up accurately behind. It was very important that we choose the right products for the new roof. Whilst the slates were sorted and those which still had a long lifespan reused alongside replacement Delabole slates, the requirement to have a reliable underlay of the highest specification was an absolute necessity, as it forms the second line of defence in case of wind-blown or water damage…and due to the structure’s locality this is a possibility over time.”

So now parishioners and visitors can continue to enjoy the distinctive beauty, calm and spiritual solace of St. Germanus at Rame in good faith that they are well protected from the elements. To learn more about the church, the restoration or to donate to the appeal please visit

The roof work was undertaken by Western Counties Roofing (Newton Abbot).

For more information about the DuPont™ Tyvek® range and how it can enhance your projects, please visit or call 01275 337 660 in the UK and 087 922 2740 in Eire. An introduction to the overall DuPont offer for architecture, interior design, building and construction markets is available at

About DuPont Building Innovations – DuPont™ Tyvek® is a product of DuPont Building Innovations. From innovative energy-saving systems to beautiful and long-lasting surfacing solutions, the extensive offering of DuPont Building Innovations delivers safety, durability, beauty and energy efficiency, providing a major contribution to the modern built environment – across the spectrum of building and architecture, roads, bridges and other infrastructure and also to landscaping and gardens, as well as to the preservation or the renovation of contemporary and historical constructions.

The main products and brands managed by DuPont Building Innovations are DuPont™ Corian® (, DuPont™ Zodiaq® (, DuPont™ Tyvek® (, DuPont™ Energain® (, DuPont™ Typar® (, DuPont™ Plantex® ( and a new range of highly efficient building integrated photovoltaic modules (

About DuPont – DuPont is a science-based company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 90 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food, building and construction, communications and transportation.

DuPont® Tyvek roofing underlay images / information received 140311

Rame, St Germanus
Grid Ref SX426492
Rame, Torpoint, Plymouth, PL10 1LG

Location: Rame Head, Rame, Cornwall, south West England, UK

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Website: Rame, St Germanus, Cornwall