You’ve probably seen those whimsical, traditional-looking buildings with thatched roofs and wondered what it would be like to have one on your home. There are so many benefits to a thatched roof, from environmental benefits to aesthetics and even potentially reduced energy bills.
We are D&S Symonds Ltd, a thatching service in Dorset with an excellent reputation for providing extensive, reliable thatching work and we are experts in what we do. Here, we discuss what a thatched roof is, some of the benefits of having a thatched roof and the maintenance involved.
What is a thatched roof?
A thatched roof is one of the oldest styles of roofing, originating thousands of years ago and adopted by various cultures all around the world. This type of roof has a great traditional look and this is achieved by covering a building’s roof with a layer of thatch, usually made out of dried vegetation such as straw, grass, reeds or palm fronds, making it a renewable material source.
Some characteristics of a thatched roof include good insulation, a distinctive rustic appearance and it’s environmentally friendly. There are many reasons why people choose to have a thatched roof. These are most commonly associated with traditional or historical buildings in rural or culturally significant areas where thatched roofs are the norm.
How a thatched roof is created
Thatching is a very labour-intensive task that should only be carried out by trained professionals in this niche industry. It involves layering and securing thatch materials together to create the roof, but this needs to be done properly for it to be effective and long-lasting.
Here are some of the steps involved with creating a thatched roof:
- Choosing the thatch material- there are a few options to choose from when it comes to the materials of a thatched roof and sometimes this will depend on the type of thatched roof being installed, the region and what is available. Some areas typically only use one type of material whereas other areas will use another, depending on the local area and tradition.
- Laying the framework- if the roof doesn’t already have a framework in place, this will be the next thing put in place. This is where wooden supports are installed to hold the thatched roof in place and to create a stable surface to hold it to.
- Thatching layers- this is the labour-intensive part of the task where layers of thatch are attached to the roof to create that traditional look. The layers are placed at a slight angle to help rainwater trickle off. The number of layers used will depend on the type of thatched roof being installed, the materials used and local traditions.
- Securing the ridge cap- the ridge cap is the highest point of the thatched roof and it’s where it should be the strongest. Often, a different, stronger material is used at this point, to create an attractive finish and to ensure water shedding.
- Fire prevention measures- fire barriers are installed in certain locations, such as around chimneys and other potential fire hazard areas.
These are just some of the steps involved in installing a thatched roof as you can see, it is very specialised work and only professionals in this niche should carry out the work. This also includes the maintenance of thatched roofs.
What buildings are suitable for a thatched roof?
You will typically find thatched roofs on traditional and historical houses and buildings such as cottages, farmhouses, barns, historical and cultural sites, pubs and inns, churches and even some new eco-friendly homes or converted homes.
Some areas of the UK are culturally appropriate for thatched roofs and therefore, more than the above examples have them. These are usually found in small villages or church towns with characteristics such as old cobbled streets and independent retailers.
Maintaining and protecting your thatched roof
It’s important to maintain and protect your thatched roof for its longevity and to keep it looking great. There are a few things you can do to maintain and protect a thatched roof, including:
- Regularly inspect your roof- check for signs of damage and wear such as sagging, thinning or even infestation. A professional thatcher can do this for you.
- Clean your roof- Remove any bits that have landed on your roof such as leaves, branches, and dirt because over time, if debris isn’t removed it can trap moisture and promote decay, again, a professional thatcher can clean your roof for you.
- Patch up your thatched roof- every so often, your thatched roof may need to be patched up in places where there is damage or where there are signs of wear.
- Keep an eye out for pests- birds, rodents and insects can damage a thatched roof so it’s a good idea to put pest control measures in place.
- Mould and damp prevention- ensure good ventilation to avoid damp patches where mould is likely to grow and allow for plenty of sunlight to dry it out. A professional thatcher can talk to you about how to prevent mould and dampness.
- Take fire safety precautions- due to the materials used on a thatched roof, it is more susceptible to fires, which means you must take precautions to prevent this from happening. Using fire safety materials or fire safety barriers is important, within the structure and underneath the thatched roof.
- Waterproofing– in some cases, waterproofing may be recommended but this isn’t always necessary or the best option.
A professional thatching company, like ours, can maintain and protect your thatched roof with regular maintenance visits and keep you informed of the current safety regulations for thatched roofs.
Why you should consider getting a thatched roof
Thatched roofs offer many benefits for the right properties and this is why so many homeowners and communities in rural areas of traditional towns really appreciate them.
Here are just some of the benefits of having a thatched roof:
- Provides excellent, natural insulation– the materials used on a thatched roof offer great insulation properties, allowing the home to stay lovely and warm in winter yet cool in the summer which potentially reduces energy bills in the home.
- It offers a traditional look– nothing quite says, ‘look at our quaint British’ like a thatched roof. It provides a rustic and charming appearance and keeps the historical feel of the building.
- Eco-friendly using natural materials- in recent years, more and more people have become conscious of their part in protecting our environment, which is why thatched roofs are becoming more popular. Thatched roofs are made using natural, renewable materials, making it a more eco-conscious choice than other types of roofing.
- Traditional craftsmanship- thatching is a traditional and unique craft that only a few people know how to do nowadays, giving a thatched roof a luxurious, hand-made feel to it. By choosing to have a thatched roof, you are helping to keep this niche industry going and the traditional craftsman working in this beautiful trade.
D&S Symonds Ltd
At D&S Symonds Ltd, we pride ourselves on delivering a professional service with excellent results and this shows as most of our work is generated from word of mouth from our happy customers. We work in Dorset, Devor, Somerset and the surrounding areas offering a range of services such as:
- New thatching
- Ridging work
- Chimney repairs
- Repairs to Roof Timbers.
We even grow our own thatching materials, including combed wheat and water reeds, meaning all of your thatch is locally grown and reduces the environmental impact of transporting materials.
As you can see, there are many benefits to having a thatched roof from the traditional aesthetic appeal to excellent insulation and environmental factors. To get a quote on a new thatched roof or for maintenance on your own, choose us as your thatched roof professional for a great service.