What Are Thatched Roofs Made Of?
What Are Thatched Roofs Made Of?
Thatched roofs are traditionally made of dried grasses, straw, and other plant materials. Common thatching materials include water reed (often known as Norfolk Reed), longstraw, combed wheat reed, sedge (a grass-like plant which grows in wetland areas), straw, stems, and palm branches.
Synthetic thatched roofing is made out of proprietary polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) blends.
Thatched roofs can last for years with proper care and maintenance, such as replacing the material regularly, treating it with flame-resistant chemicals, coating it in dangerous chemicals to prevent pests, and applying mesh netting.
Reed and straw are two of the most popular materials used to construct thatched roofs, both of which boast their own unique benefits.
Reed is known to be a particularly durable material, with roofs made from it often having a lifespan of up to 40 years, while straw is more traditionally associated with rural British architecture and can typically last for around 15-20 years before needing replacing.
Both materials have proven themselves to be incredibly effective roofing options; reed for its longevity and reliable performance and straw for its attractive appearance that makes such an impact on a building’s aesthetic.
Problems With Thatched Roofs
Thatched roofing can add a picturesque and quaint charm to a home’s exterior, providing a postcard-ready image of rural life. However, its appeal is largely limited to aesthetics, as this type of roofing presents a range of challenges that can cause significant issues for homeowners.
One of the most prevalent issues with thatched roofing is leaks, which can occur from various parts of the roof, including valleys, ridges, and corners. Valleys, in particular, are prone to leaks as they are where two sections of thatch meet and bear the brunt of rain and severe weather.
This area can take longer to dry than other parts of the roof. Meanwhile, ridges, also known as capping, are typically made of cement, which can crack and result in leaks if expansion joints are not present.
The cornering section of the roof is the most difficult part to thatch correctly, and if it is not done well, it can be too thin to withstand high winds and rain.
Thatched roofs need to be compacted effectively to ensure they are watertight and weather-resistant. Compaction refers to the process of binding the thatch together tightly enough to increase its strength while limiting the oxygen that can flow through it, which can be a fire hazard.
When compaction is done incorrectly, various problems can arise, including rotting, leaking, wind damage, and more.
Homeowners who are considering thatched roofing must carefully check whether they have adequate insurance.
Thatched roofing is considered high risk, and insurance rates are typically much higher than those for other roofing materials. This is mainly because thatched roofs pose a considerable fire risk, especially during dry winters when fires are lit in the homes below.
With no dampness to slow the spread of flames, thatch fires can quickly engulf the entire roof. Water damage caused by leaks is also a factor that drives up insurance premiums.
Small animals such as mice, rats, and birds can be attracted to thatched roofs made from grain straw because traces of food may still be present. This can lead to holes in the roof from animals nibbling away, causing significant damage over time.
In conclusion, while thatched roofing can offer an attractive aesthetic appeal to a home’s exterior, it is not without its challenges.
Leaks, compaction issues, high insurance rates, and animal damage are all potential problems that homeowners may face when choosing this type of roofing material. Homeowners must weigh the potential benefits against the drawbacks before deciding whether thatched roofing is the right choice for them.
Why Do People Not Like Thatched Roofs?
People don’t like thatched roofs because of their association with a greater fire risk due to the materials used to thatch a roof leading to fires spreading quickly and causing more costly damage. Despite this, a thatched property is no more likely to catch fire than any other type of property; it just looks like the risks are higher.
What Is The Average Life Of A Thatched Roof?
A thatched roof lifespan may be surprisingly long, lasting anywhere between 15 and 40 years if it is properly maintained. The ridge of the roof will typically need to be replaced more often, between 10 and 15 years, but the actual roof itself can stay in good condition much longer.
With regular care and maintenance a thatched roof can provide reliable protection over many years without requiring major repairs or replacement.