thatch roofing

Thatch Roofing

Save on thatching costs including reed and straw

Even with the availability of more modern roofing materials, many people still prefer thatch roofing. Residents often choose this type of material for everything from barns to estate homes. A thatched roof gives a structure a unique look that simply can’t be duplicated with any other roofing material while also being economical and durable.

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What is Thatch?

Thatch is actually a tightly-woven blend of vegetation such as straw, reed, or rushes that is used to create a roof. This was the primary material used for roofing in England until the turn of the 20th Century. It involves layering the material and then securing the layers to the wooden beams of the roof. This continues until the roof has reached its desired thickness at which time the final layer is secured to the ridgeline of the roof.

Advantages of Thatch Roofing

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When considering a new roof, many people never consider thatch roofing. That could be because many people tend to think of thatch roofs as being placed on older country cottages only. The truth is that many different types of buildings look elegant with thatch roofing, as many estate homes, churches and pubs all use this type of material. In addition to being very versatile, a few other advantages of thatch roofing include:

  • Durability – can last for up to 50 years
  • Versatility – a variety of materials can be chosen to give the roof a unique look
  • Design – craftsmen can also design decorative features such as animal sculptures for the roof
  • Superior insulation – provides a great deal of protection from the weather, making it ideal for especially cold climates
  • Economical – costs very little to produce
  • Environmentally-friendly – uses renewable materials that do not harm the environment
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Maintaining a Thatched Roof

Even though it can last for decades, thatch roofing will nonetheless require maintenance from time to time. This is because some of the material may decompose or be blown away by heavy winds. It can be obvious that a thatched roof needs attention whenever one of the following conditions occurs:

  1. Parts of the wooden support beams are visible
  2. There are sagging spots in the centre of the roof
  3. Spots that are wet and dark appear on the inside of the structure near the roofline
  4. There appear to be open areas around a chimney that allow heat to escape

The Importance of a Skilled Contractor

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Learning how to apply thatched roofing requires contractors to be specially trained. Thatching is a fine art that has been passed down from generation to generation, and roofers who are not familiar with this craft may not perform adequate repairs. There are several advantages to choosing a roofer that specializes in thatched roofing including:

  • Roof will last longer
  • Structure of your house will not be damaged – thatch is often very heavy and requires the right support
  • Ensures there are no leaks present
  • Repairs are less noticeable whenever patching is needed

Potential Disadvantages of Thatch Roofing

  • Thatch roofing is normally far more expensive to install than other types of roofing because it requires substantially more labour to ensure that it is correctly fitted.
  • Home owner’s insurance tends to be higher if thatch roofing has been installed because it is considered more susceptible to drying out and catching alight.
  • Annual inspections are encouraged to be carried out on thatch roofed properties to ensure that repair work can be done before it gets too expensive to do so.
  • Thatch roofing requires regular applications of fire-retardant – especially during the warmer Summer months.

Thatched Roofing Costs

There are a number of factors that play a part in the cost of thatched roofing including:

  1. Availability of materials – some may need to be shipped from other areas, thereby driving up the cost
  2. Skill of the contractors
  3. Size of roof
  4. Whether wire netting is also needed for support
  5. Presence of fixtures such as chimneys and dormer windows
  6. Size and pitch of roof

When it comes to choosing thatch roofing, consumers can feel confident knowing this material is likely to be popular for some time to come. This means investing in a thatched roof can be a sound decision that will pay off for those who choose to do so.

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Your thatch roofing questions answered

What is thatch roofing?

Thatch roofing is defined as a roof that is made by binding vegetation together in such a way that it sheds water away from the inner roof. Traditionally, these roofs were made from straw, water reed, heather, rushes, or other similar plants.

Does thatch roofing still have modern applications?

Thatch roofs are still popular for cottages, as well as with building owners who want a rustic or more traditional look for an older house or building. Some modern thatch roofs are frequently just set on top of a more traditional roofing structure.

Is thatch roofing weatherproof?

The reeds used to make most thatched roofs are already naturally waterproof. As long as they are bundled properly and tightly together, the water cannot work its way through the reeds and into the home.

How long do thatch roofs normally last?

When properly installed, a thatched roof will last 40-50 years. The main difference is that the roof ridge, the area at the very peak of the roof, will need to be replaced every 8-10 years.

What gives thatch roofing its waterproof properties?

Thatch roofs are made from reed and certain types of grasses that are all known to have waterproof characteristics. In fact, water reed naturally sheds water, and will therefore not allow any moisture to penetrate the surface of your thatch roof.

Is thatch roofing resistant to mould or other types of bacterial growth?

Thatch roofing needs to be treated annually to prevent dampness from getting into it. It is also encouraged that thatch roofing not be installed close to areas where trees will be hanging over it, as this can provide an ideal breeding ground for fungus, moss and mould.

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