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How Often Does A Thatched Roof Need To Be Replaced

What Can Happen If I Do Not Replace My Thatched Roof

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If your thatched roof is deteriorating or has significant damage that requires replacing, you should not ignore it. A roof system that is not properly functioning can have leaks, which will cause structural damage to the home. Thatched roofs with mold or mildew can also have adverse side effects for allergy sufferers in the house.

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What Are Its Advantages

Thatched roofs have several advantages over slates and tiles:

  • The roof is naturally breathable, which prevents rotting
  • Because there is a lot of trapped air in the bundles and in the hollow reeds, they have great insulating properties, so theres usually no need to insulate the loft
  • Thatched roofs are also cool in the summer thanks to low heat conductivity
  • They are made from natural materials, so theres no mining or quarrying required, making them more environmentally friendly
  • They are beautiful and striking, adding character to any property
  • Because no guttering and drainpipes are required, there is a cost-saving
  • They can increase the value of a home
  • Thatch is lighter than tiles, so the roof timbers can be smaller

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What Are The Supply Costs Of A Thatched Roof Installation

Having a thatched roof installed is best to be done by a professional who knows what to do and how to do it properly.

However, if you want to buy your supplies without any labour or additional thatch roof costs, then here we will go through the different supply costs you need to have a thatched roof installed in your home.

Combed wheat reed is a slightly more expensive alternative to use. In some respects, it’s comparable to long straw, but it’s handled differently.

Water reed is the most expensive thatching choice, but it also has the longest lifespan. As a result, it may be worthwhile to pay the extra money now to save money on labour costs later.

You will need scaffolding for the job to be safe. The cost of erecting a scaffold tower ranges from £200 – £300. Scaffolding on three sides of a semi-detached house will cost between £800 – £1,000, while scaffolding on three sides of a detached bungalow will cost between £600 – £700.

You will also need timber if it is needed, which will cost you £33 – £50 depending on how many you need and the size of the timber. You will need a thatched cartridge which will cost £170 – £220. This creates the spars using wood.

You will need a twister which will cost £8 – £18, a drill driver will cost £25 – £120, and a set pin will cost you £10 – £20.

A spar hook cost £20 – £40. You will need kneelers to protect your knees. They cost £5 – £15. A mallet will set you back £3 – £7.

Mallet £3 – £7

Signs It Is Time To Replace A Thatched Roof

How Often Does a Thatched Roof Need to be Replaced?
  • Holes Or Bald Spots In Thatch. If you notice patchy spots on the roof that expose the layers beneath that then your roof is likely starting to deteriorate. You should look into replacing the roof if you notice this.
  • Your Roof Is Leaking. There are several reasons a thatched roof can be leaking. One reason is that the roof needs to be replaced. Regardless of the reason you should look into the cause and resolve it as soon as possible. This will help prevent further damage to your home.
  • Appearance of Horizontal Lines On Roof. If you notice horizontal lines appearing through the that on your roof you may need to replace or mend it. This is a sign that the thatch is weakening and thinning.
  • An Indent or Ravine Forms In Your Roof. If your roof has formed a gully of any sort then it likely needs to be replaced, or at least mended. This should not be ignored as it can cause further damage to your home.
  • Increased Space Between Wire Netting And Thatch. A gap between the protective wire netting and the thatch itself is a sign that your thatch is thinning and may need to be replaced.

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Are There Any Thatched Roofs In America

Thatch is less common in the US, but thatcher William Cahill estimates that there are thatched buildings in at least every state. However, there are at least 100,000 in Japan, 4,000 to 5,000 added annually in Holland, and an estimated two million in Africa! Half timbered home with a thatch roof in Avebury, Wiltshire.

What Are The Repair Costs Of A Thatched House

This can largely depend on the material used, with water reed arguably being the riskiest option. A damaged water reed thatch cannot be repaired, meaning it will need to be stripped to the timber and replaced. However, water reed is regarded as the most durable with a typical lifespan of 20 40 years. Long straw roofs, on the other hand, often only need to be partially stripped to be mended, but their lifespan is much shorter.

New lead flashings can cost around £350 with new scaffolding costing around £300. Cement flashings are a cheaper but less durable option at around the £200 mark. Labour is often a considerable amount as everything is done by hand.

Labour can be anywhere from £100 to £225 a day per thatcher. Two or three roof thatchers can take around a month to complete a new roof. As a standard slate roof only takes from 1-3 days to complete, there is a hefty difference in labour costs. Installing a new thatched roof can cost up to 30 times as much as a regular roof from labour alone.

Moreover, the decorative layer, known as the roof ridge, also has to be replaced every 10-15 years and costs around 25% of the cost of the entire thatch. With so many factors to consider, the only real way to obtain an accurate estimate of a repair is to book amaster thatcher to inspect your roof.

Exemplifying the differing cost estimates is the below table by Checkatrade:

Cost of thatch

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Why Dont Thatched Roofs Need Guttering

It is difficult to place guttering on a thatched roof, but they arent necessary anyway. The overhang of thatch at the eaves makes sure that any excess water runs off the roof and away from the house.

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Are There Maintenance Costs

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Just like your car or boiler, regular maintenance is the key to getting good value for money and longevity out of your thatched roof. An annual visit from a thatcher is always a good idea they should be able to inspect your roof and make any small repairs that need doing. This will probably come to less than £1000 a year. You might also have slightly higher home insurance premiums because of the fire risk.

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How Often Does A Thatched Roof Have To Be Replaced

Generally the ridge of the thatch will require replacing every 10 15 years. The coatwork will vary depending on the material used and its associated lifespan. To keep the roof in best condition: Allow it to dry well, remove trees and plants which may hinder the sun and wind drying it or rain dispersing.

How To Prolong The Life Of A Thatched Roof

Nothing lasts forever, and of course thatch water reed, combed wheat or longstraw is subject to natural degradation over time. You can, however, keep a weather eye on your roof, have a professional check it periodically and make any necessary repairs, also follow a few tips to keep it in good condition for as long as possible before it needs a total rethatch.

The most important part of the roof to keep in good repair is the ridge, which needs replacing every 10 to 15 years. The ridge is the thick block-like section of thatch which extends along the apex of the roof. Because it bears the brunt of the wind and weather, it is the first part to deteriorate, and without the ridge to hold the rest of the roof in place, all the thatch is compromised.

Apart from keeping your roof ridge healthy, get the thatched roof cleaned at least once a year professionals will remove leaves, moss, algae and dirt with special rakes. Keep trees and bushes growing near the thatch cut back, so the roof can dry out in the sun and wind as quickly as possible, avoiding rot and fungus growth. Avoid walking on the thatch which could cause damage, and take measures to deter birds and vermin which can damage the thatch.

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How Do I Find And Hire A Professional Roofer

When you need a new roof, firstly ask friends and family, or even work colleagues. Have a look around the area where you live. Is someone having a roof renewed? If they are, you can ask the owner whether they recommend the thatching company?

If you dont find any personal recommendations, Household Quotes can help you. Simply fill in the online form and well find local roofing contractors to give you no-obligation quotes.

Our recommendations will be members of SPRA or NFRC. The Single Ply Roofing Association and The National Federation of Roofing Contractors are both well-established trade associations.

Their members all meet the criteria set out by each association, and they expect high standards.

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All You Ever Wanted To Ask About Maintaining Thatch Roof And Its Lifespan

Our Re

Even though nowadays the majority of roofs are covered with modern roofing materials like cladding or asphalt, some homeowners still want to make their homes look unique and not like others.

Some people make use of tiles for this purpose, but some of them go further and get thatched roofs!

However, once you decide to get a thatched roof on your house, you will sooner or later face one big issue: how long can this type of roofing material last?

And it is a reasonable point of concern since thatching a roof is quite a tiresome task, and nobody wants to do it every year or two!So in order to help you out, we have prepared this article for you.

After you read it, you will learn how much time a typical thatched roof is able to last without any fixtures or renovations. Also, we will tell you what lifespan different types of thatching materials have in particular.

Finally, you are going to learn what factors might influence the lifespan of your thatch roof.

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Whats Involved In Installing A Thatched Roof

  • Erect scaffolding
  • Strip off old thatch
  • Lay new timbers if necessary
  • Make the spars The thatcher creates spars using wood. They are V-shaped with a point at each end
  • Now the roof thatcher takes the sheaves of wheat or read and lays them on the roof. A thatching pin holds each sheaf together
  • Now the thatcher will start the coatwork. If they are dealing with reed, they will place the bundle with the flower ends facing upwards. The other end, which is known as the butt-end is pointing towards the ground
  • The next part of the job is to take a tool that looks like a small-handled spade. On one side the metal is smooth, but on the other, it is full of ridges. The thatcher uses it to comb the reed or wheat. You will see the thatcher patting the butt-ends of the reed or wheat to make all the ends smooth
  • The roof thatcher works his way upwards creating layers of thatch as he goes. He drives the wooden spars through the new thatch into the old thatch underneath
  • When the roof is covered the thatcher will then create the ridge with a double layer of thatch. He will also add the design you have chosen
  • The layers of thatch, known as courses, are about 150mm thick. It is important that a thatched roof has a sufficient incline so that the rainwater travels downwards and off the roof
  • When everything is in place your thatch is complete!

What Questions Should I Ask Them

When you talk to a thatched roof specialist ask the following questions:

  • Are you a member of SPRA or NFRC? . Or they might be members of the National Society of Master Thatchers.
  • If they arent members of any associations, it could be because they are an old established thatching firm. Maybe its a family business thats been going for generations and the thatchers were trained by family members.
  • Do you have a website I can look at? It doesnt matter if they dont have one. Instead, ask if they have any photographs you can see.
  • Do you have any testimonials or references? If they have a website, it is likely that they have testimonials on the site. They might have case studies as well.
  • What is your experience with thatching If you are talking to an established company, it is likely that they have been in the business a while or it is a family company with youngsters who have were trained by family members
  • While you are working on the roof can you install fire retardant materials? Do I need to buy them, or can you supply them too?
  • Is the scaffolding included in your quote or do I need to organise and pay for it?
  • Do you hire a skip and remove all rubbish, or is that down to me?
  • Do you have public liability insurance?

Finally, make sure you get the quotation in writing and read it to make sure it includes everything you agreed during your conversation.

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When To Replace A Thatched Roof

A new thatched roof installed by a Master Thatcher today will probably outlive him and the owners of the house that the thatch sits atop.

Thatch is renowned for its longevity, which is one reason why this eco-friendly form of roof covering is still around centuries after tiles and slate took over as the more common form of roofing.

A thatched roof can last 50 to 60 years but theres a caveat: it needs to be well-maintained to keep looking good and functioning well for its maximum lifespan.

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The life expectancy of a roof made from wood can be up to 30 or 40 years, depending on the type of wood. Its often cedar thats used because it is resistant to both rot and insects.

Regular maintenance of a wood roof is required for it to achieve the longest possible lifespan, including cleaning and staining.

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What Are The Problems With Thatched Roofs

The Issues with Thatched Roofing

  • Leaking. Perhaps the most common and obvious problem with thatched roofing is the potential for leaks.
  • Compaction. Ensuring that a thatched roof is watertight and weather resistant is a difficult task, and largely relies on effective compaction.
  • Insurance.


When Should A Thatched Roof Be Replaced

Drive through virtually any English country village and you are certain to see more than a handful of properties with traditional thatched roofs. Very few potential homeowners would argue that a thatched roof isnt an appealing idea, but many may be put off owning such a property due to some common misunderstandings.

Concerns about pests and fire along with how often a thatched roof needs to be replaced and the associated costs are chief among such concerns. In this article, I aim to shed some light on how long a thatched roof is likely to last and when might be the best time to consider replacing it.

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Are Thatched Roofs Expensive To Insure

Are thatched roofs more expensive to insure? Expect to pay more for your buildings or contents insurance as a thatched roof is a bigger fire risk than a slate roof. They also have a more expensive rebuild value than conventional houses because theyve been built using specific materials by specialists.

How Is The Ridge Of The Roof Protected

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There are two basic forms of ridge: flush and block. A flush ridge is just that it is flush with the rest of the roof line and does not stand out from it. A block ridge, on the other hand, is built up and then cut to form a block raised very visibly over the roof ridge.

Technically, both ridge styles are equal. Each does the job of sealing the ridge line quite effectively. The choice of which to use is usually one of aesthetics. Flush ridges are more understated. Block ridges stand out more and can be cut in quite elaborate styles. Thatchers each have their own distinctive style of ridge patterns, and experts can tell who thatched a building with a glance at the ridge line.

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