How Thatch Works

Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge, rushes, heather, or palm branches, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof.

How is a thatched roof constructed?

  • Build the roof structure for the thatching
  • Obtain the dried reeds either from a local source or by purchasing from a dealer. The best reeds are harvested during the winter as standing dead material. This ensures that the reed is dried completely
  • Gather the reeds into bundles and then twist the tops twice to hold them together until you can place them. Starting at the bottom corner on one side of the roof, use the wire and pliers to wire one bunch of reeds at a time to the cross members. Continue across the entire cross member, making sure to leave minimal space between each thatch bunch. Continue this process all the way to the ridge pole, making sure to overlap each upper layer of thatching at least halfway across the lower thatch layer.

Are thatched roofs dangerous?

Statistically, homes with thatched roofs are no more likely to catch fire than those with conventional roofs, however if they do the results are often rapid and spectacular. It seems worse, mainly because thatched fires in unprotected properties usually causes severe damage and therefore receives maximum publicity.

A thatched roof is a good insulator

Thatch is also a natural insulator, and air pockets within straw thatch insulate a building in both warm and cold weather. A thatched roof ensures that a building is cool in summer and warm in winter. Thatch also has very good resistance to wind damage when applied correctly.

How long will a thatched roof last?

The lifespan of a thatched roof is very much dependent on the homeowner and thatcher working together to give the greatest lonjevity

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