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Thatch Roofing - Installation & Repair Costs

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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thatch roofing
what is thatch roofing?

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

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
advantages of  thatch roofing
maintaining  thatch

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

Thatch Roofing and Eco-Friendliness

There are some homeowners who appreciate the beauty and design of a thatch roof, but who wonder about the sustainability of the materials or the roof’s ability to reduce energy consumption. Believe it or not, thatch roofing can be just as environmentally-friendly as many other common roofing materials. First, thatch is made from materials like reed or straw, which are highly abundant and completely renewable. They require little processing, and they’re lightweight, so they’re inexpensive to transport. Thatch is also a very good insulator, which means the air you pay to cool or heat won’t escape through your roof. You’ll stay more comfortable all year long, and you’ll consume less energy than before!

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.
 thatch roof disadvantages

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
 thatch roofing costs

Thatched roofing can cost more than other options even though the materials themselves are widely available. Remember that a thatched roof is constructed of many, many layers of reed or straw, which takes substantial time to build up to the preferable thickness. What’s more, thatch requires more maintenance than other types of roofing, which can quickly become expensive. You’ll need to treat your roof regularly to prevent decomposition, mold, and rot, and you’ll also need to apply fire retardants to ensure that your home is as safe as it is beautiful.

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.

I needed a trusted accredited company and was provided with such. Mr W.

The Importance of a Skilled Contractor

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
professional  thatchers

Your thatch roofing questions answered

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Because thatch roofing isn’t as popular as it once was, there aren’t many thatchers who have the expertise and experience necessary to install it correctly. It’s important to do some research before making your decision and choose a thatching company who is experienced in the application of these materials.

This depends on the scope of the damage. For example, if you have only a small area of thatch that needs to be replaced, this can often be done in a day. On the other hand, if your thatch has been exposed to moisture due to improper upkeep, the repairs can be quite extensive, and you may need to replace the entire roof.

This will also depend on the scope of the damage, though it’s also important to consider another factor - the skill involved to repair the thatched roof. Because thatch isn’t as popular as it was in the past, many roofing contractors lack the experience necessary to perform an optimal repair. The companies that do provide the repairs often charge more for them.

The Quote Process

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Example Roofing Work Requests

23 Sep Thatch Roofing

Our thatch is due to be replaced this year so we would like to get some quotes in for a replacement, and also any alternatives that might be cheaper?

23 Sep Outdoor Bar

I am in the process of building a bar area by my pool. I am going with a Polynesian theme and would like a quote for thatch roofing to go over my bar area.

23 Sep Partial Replacement

We have existing thatch roofing on our main house, as well as on two of our outbuildings, all of which is starting to look ‘bald’ in places. Would you be able to provide me with an estimate of what it would cost to attend to this problem as soon as possible?

22 Sep Small Thatch Roof

I have a large bar outside by my swimming pool designed like a tiki hut. It is in need of new thatch roofing as the current roof has become extremely worn. Please offer me a quote for thatch roofing for my bar area.

22 SepLocal Thatchers

We're looking to purchase a cottage with a thatch roof that will need replacing in a year or two. Could we please arrange a free quote so that we know how much this will cost in the future.

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