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How To Do A Thatched Roof

How To Build A Thatched Roof

How to Thatch a Roof

Thatched roofing has been around for centuries as an effective way to build weatherproof roofing with materials at hand. To this day, thatched roofing is still used in “green” house construction as well as roofing for outside structures, such as landscaping huts and poolside cabanas.

If you are thinking of building a thatched roof either on your house or on a smaller building around your grounds, you can follow these simple steps to get started today!

Do I Need Planning Permission For A Thatched Roof

You will need planning permission if youll be changing the material or style on a listed property with an existing thatch roof. This is why its very important to always check in with your local authority before starting work. Youll also need to meet strict building regulations for any new thatch roof, in relation to fire and pest proofing the roof.

How Is The Ridge Of The Roof Protected

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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What Types Of Thatching Materials Are There

Straw has been used widely for centuries but alternatives found include heather, rushes, marram grass, broom, flax – and even wood chips and potato stems! Long straw thatching declined in the 1960s and 70s in favour of water reed and combed wheat reed. However, long straw is now recovering. The main thatching types today are:

Long straw. Roofs look shaggy, not cropped like the reed types, and eaves have hazel stitches. Long straw is seen in southern, central and eastern England. Combed wheat reed . This is actually straw laid like water reed. Eaves are not dressed, though, but cut and hips are more rounded. Combed wheat is characteristic of the West Country. Water reed . Eaves generally overhang less than with straw roofs. Ridges may be of sedge. Water reed is traditional in wetland areas. Imported material is of variable quality.

Overcoating of new thatch

How Long Does A Palm Thatched Roof Last

How much does a thatch roof cost? [Instant Quote]

When thatched properly by professionals, the major portion of such a roof should last 40 to 50 years. In other words, as long as any other roof. However, the roof ridge will have to be replaced roughly every 8 – 10 years.

Herein, how long does a palm roof last?

Palm fronds will usually last about 5 7 years. This time frame is really dependent upon the weather in your area. Wind plays a major factor in the life of the roof.

Furthermore, how long does a palapa roof last? Now, your palapa looks brand new and can be enjoyed by all. Mexican palm thatch will last up to five years depending on the climate in your location. Thatched palapas are great for the summer season and provide sufficient shade.

Herein, do thatched roofs leak?

Symptoms: The thatch roof is leaking where two sections of roof meet from different angles . The Problem: Generally valley sections, even if not fitted correctly, are fine when the roof is first thatched. After a few years of rain and damp conditions however, problems start to arise.

How do you build a thatched roof Palm?

Now that you know the basics, let’s go over six specific steps to putting together a palm frond roof.

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    What Were Medieval House Roofs Made Of

    In the early Middle Ages most roofs were thatched. Fires were a constant problem and in 1221 a law was passed prohibiting the use of thatch. This new law stated that the roofs of new buildings had to be covered with wooden shingles, stone slabs or clay tiles. Shingles were cut by hand from local oak trees.

    External Factors Affecting Thatching Costs

    When pricing thatching roof jobs there are a number of costs the Thatcher as to take in mind, for example, material costs, labour costs, overheads and other unexpected costs that may incur. There are a number of external factors that can affect the timescale of a project, for example, hiccups caused by traffic delays, builders, architects, scaffolders, hauliers missing deadlines and the list goes on. Often thatchers will have to work on the weekends and longer days than normal to make up for lost time affected by external factors. There are not many other jobs where so many external factors could delay a project.

    In the long run, it would be beneficial to call qualified craftsmen to your property to get experts view. On close inspection, it may turn out a new thatched roof may not be required and new coats of reed may need to be applied to your existing thatch roof. The layer of the reed will depend on the type of reed you have on your existing roof. Get in touch with Heart of England today for a quote of your new or existing thatch roof.


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    Factors Affect The Durability Of Thatched Roofs

    The first thing to understand is that there are a number of factors that will affect the durability of a thatched roof.

    1. Type of Cover The first and most obvious factor would be what type of cover is being used for the roof.

    Some materials will last longer than others. In Britain, the most common types of thatch used for roofs are rye and wheat straw.

    2. Location The location where a thatched roof is installed can have an effect on how much wear and tear that it will endure over time.

    An area with a great deal of rain or high wind could affect how much a thatched roof will have to be replaced.

    3. Types of Thatch An area with a high amount of rainfall could mean using Durable or Semi-Durable thatch.

    Many homeowners prefer the look and type of thatch, but if these variables are present then it may be best to install a different type.

    4. Pitch The pitch of a roof will affect how much thatch is exposed. An area with high wind or rain will require a steeper pitch in order to allow the water to be directed away from it.

    5. Moisture On an annual basis, most thatched roofs are exposed to more moisture than they would have been if they had been covered with tiles.

    If the average rainfall is more than 100 inches per year, it might be necessary to consider using sub-normal thatches or other materials instead of rye straw.

    Are There Other Benefits Of A Thatched Roof

    How to Thatch a roof | Roof Thatcher | Finding out | 1973

    From a conservation point of view thatch is less demanding on the land as the raw materials do not require quarrying or mining. Water reed is a natural crop that, properly maintained, promotes the surival of wildlife and improves the environment generally perhaps even more importantly, it grows in areas which are otherwise agriculturally unviable. The alternative thatching material, straw, is a by-product of an essential food harvest. So neither product creates wastage or is a drain on the worlds natural resources.

    Also, organic thatch weathers to produce a warm, textured, charcoal patina over decades of service. For appearance, warmth, charm, and performance, nothing approaches thatch.

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    Economic And Environmental Sustainability

    As a vernacular and traditional building material, thatching materials were generally chosen because they were inexpensive and convenient to obtain. Today, it can be expensive to keep thatched roofs in good repair as they need regular maintenance.

    Historically, thatching materials were usually secondary products, created from agriculture or livestock and land management .

    This Page Provides Information About The Different Types Of Thatch And Includes A Downloadable Guide To Identifying Them

    Long Straw Long Straw consists of thrashed wheat that has been harvested in the UK and prepared by hand. It provides a very ornate finish and is fixed with âliggersâ and hazel spars along the roof’s eaves and gable ends.20-30 years life expectancy.*

    Water Reed Water Reed, more commonly known as Norfolk Reed, is a much coarser and more durable material. It is grown in marshland and is significantly longer than straw, at approximately 5-6 feet.50-60 years life expectancy.*

    Combed Wheat Reed Combed Wheat Reed is derived from the same source as Long Straw, but is mechanically straightened and cleaned by passing it through a ‘reed comber’. The resulting bundles give the roof a smoother, more uniform appearance.25-40 years life expectancy.*

    Ridge The ridge of a thatched roof bears the brunt of the weather and generally requires attention every 12-15 years. All ridge work is constructed using Long Straw, regardless of whether the rest of the thatch is rendered in Water Reed, Long Straw or Combed Wheat Reed. The ridge pattern on the roof is cut to a thickness of 4″ and can incorporate wide variety of designs. Our clients can choose from a range of patterns in our extensive portfolio, or even design their own.15-20 years life expectancy.*

    * The actual life expectancy of any given roof is influenced by many factors, such as the quality of the season’s crop and the average weather conditions of the site over time. As such, these estimates are provided as a guide only.

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    Faq #: Roofs Are Just Made Out Of A Bunch Of Piled Up Grass

    Not exactly. While thatch roofs are made from dried up materials such as straw, stems, and reed, they are so much more than just piled up! They are woven together extremely tightly to form a nearly impenetrable surface that keeps out natural elements, rodents, and pests. At amaZulu, we carry easy-to-install natural thatch and synthetic thatch panels that are piled densely enough to deter rainwater and detract birds and insects from getting too comfy. So there are a few ways to create that beautiful and unique roof but all of them are long lasting and durable!

    Are Thatched Houses More Expensive To Insure

    Pitched roof insulation: Thatch roof replacement

    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.

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    Indication Of A Worn Roof

    On the ridge, the wire netting may be left raised where the thatch has degraded and the fixings may well be showing sticking out. The ridge may well be perfectly serviceable even if the fixings are showing and it is looking a bit untidy.

    Lines across the main roof coatwork and dips also indicate wear. Moss and lichens often are associated with well decayed roofs and sometimes the roof has reached a stage in its life where moss is best left as to remove it will do more damage than good.

    If you look at the eave and see a triangle of dark material it may indicate water ingressing and wear of the roof.

    Lead and cement flashings coming away from chimneys and gaps where they meet the thatch should be checked and cement flashings which are cracked or broken may need looking at.

    A thickly thatched roof is not the best roof, it is down to the pitch of the roof.

    These are just indicative signs. If you send us a picture we can give you a better idea or call out thatchers for their opinion.

    What Are The Potential Maintenance Areas

    • Airflow Keeping your roof in the best condition possible means ensuring that it is well ventilated. If your roof is able to dry out properly after rainfall, it will prevent the likelihood of moss and algae growth.
    • Moss and lichen growth Long wet periods of rain can encourage the growth of moss and lichens, and the moisture thus held makes it difficult for the thatch to dry out, promoting further growth. Its a vicious cycle that hinders the roofs functionality and looks unsightly. Do not assume that a neat ridge is a sign of a well-thatched roof. This could just indicate that a previous owner had the roof re-ridged recently. Instead, examine the eave. Discolouration or dips in the main coat-work can indicate more deep-rooted damage.
    • Physical damage If you are having other work done on your property, do not allow traders to damage the thatch with ladders, tools, or walking on the coat-work. Divots accelerate thatch degradation and should be avoided. Whats more, Birds, rodents and insects may all be attracted by the thatched environment that is often made from grain straw, and especially if the thatch is not laid tightly enough. Infestations can reduce the longevity of the roof and cause structural defects.
    • Water resistance Water leaks can occur in all areas of the roof and cause damage that isnt obvious straight away. When we examine the roof, we will check the ridge, the valleys, and the outer corners which are prone to damage from wind and rain.

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    Does A Thatched Roof Leak

    With a thatched roof the water is also constantly forming drops, by dripping from one piece of thatch to the next this effectively keeps the water in small amounts, as it flows over the roof . As long as both thatch and roof structures are at the correct angle water will not penetrate more than an inch or so.

    What Is A Thatched Roof

    No Leaks? How to make a Thatched Roof

    Thatching included as one of the crafting activities for the roofing process. Build with dry vegetation materials including water reed, heather, straw, rushes, and also palm branches. You need to layering the vegetation to make sure if the shed would help the water run away.

    The vegetation should be dry which can be used to trapping air and functionate as the insulation. This method has been used for almost 100.000 years ago. Most of the users lived in a tropical area including in developing country to minimize the use of budget.

    For those who loved to have rustic design for their house thatched concept can be beneficial to applied. Besides it is one of the Eco-friendly roof ideas to use vegetation material around us. In UK, this type of roof is quite popular and people appreciate their aesthetic quality.

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    Is It More Expensive To Insure A Thatched House

    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 To Install Tahitian Thatch

    Tahitian palm thatch, also called Fiji, Fijian or Brazilian thatch, replicates the lush beauty of the South Pacific and Tahitian islands. The palm leaves we use in our range of Tahitian palm thatch products have been specially dried in the sun, ensuring consistency in shape, quality and size. These leaves then get expertly woven into panels with commercial-grade nylon string for lasting durability and to help secure the leaves.

    Fiji thatch is an economical roofing material that comes in pre-cut panels three feet long and two feet wide, ready for immediate installation. This thatch is gorgeous on umbrellas, huts, covered decks and pavilions.

    After collecting your tools, you are ready to begin installing your new Tahitian palm thatch. Follow the steps listed below for the smoothest results.

  • Measure: Using a permanent marker and a reliable measuring tape, measure and mark the areas where you will apply your thatch.
  • Start at the lowest edge: Begin installation at the bottom edge of your roofing structure and apply the thatch in a horizontal line, securing the panels with a staple gun or hammer and nails.
  • Overlap: To achieve a full, complete look, you must overlap the panels at least 20 inches on center.
  • Final adjustments: Use a sharp pair of scissors to trim any stray pieces of thatch.
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    Disadvantage Of Using A Thatched Roof

    • The thatch roof is also a bit difficult to install because you need to lay the dried grasses in such a way that they overlap each other and tie them together with ropes.
    • This requires manual dexterity which can be quite challenging.
    • Training is required for individuals who want to learn how to build a thatch roof.
    • A wrong move can lead to accidents and mechanical problems that may arise when working with organic materials like straw, hay or grasses.
    • Thatch roofs need constant mending because it is susceptible to weathering elements such as wind, rain and snow damage.
    • Animal droppings can also create a bad smell.
    • Until the roof is completely dry, it can be a fire hazard as well as a breeding ground for all kinds of insects and fungi that may cause allergies and asthma to those who live under a thatched roof.
    • You also need people who are skilled or experienced in building thatch roofs to install it properly.
    • Otherwise, it will be a lot of hassle and can end up looking like a badly done DIY project.


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