Ins and outs of Thatched Roof Building

Thatched roofs appeal with appearance, availability of the material for both building and renewal, environmental qualities, weather and acoustic insulation. It easily covers irregular roofs, and allows attaching additional strange forms of straw to the roof, which is often the case.

Even though it is regarded as a more flammable, the thatch is not prone to fire more than the conventional roofs, and even such accidents tend to happen less often with their maybe because such houses owners are more cautious, and also simple flame retardants are used in new buildings; however as a downside thatch fires are much harder to be extinguished once caught.

A well-built thatched roof has more than fifty years durability, and it is not exceptional to see such roofs standing for centuries.
Thatching dates millennia back in the time. Once, thatching was cheap, however nowadays, the skilled and intensive labour required have made it comparable with the other ways of roofing. Nowadays, thatched roofs can be often seen in Perth, Melbourne and other Australian states.

A thatched roof adds unique charm to a house, and is an element of the eco housing. It is favourite for smaller backyard buildings such as gazebos, barns, porticos, summer cottages, beach and poolside cabanas, huts, and any sloped roof construction. The quaint B&Bs with thatched roofs have become increasingly popular with tourists.

There are three main varieties of thatch: water reed, long straw, and combed wheat reed. The new buildings tend to employ water reed because of its durability. In case of re-thatching, they most often replace the whole existing water reed. Long straw thatched roof can be distinguished for its visible straw lengths and poured-like appearance. 

Austwest roofing told us that in the past, long straw was used much more extensively. Before the laying, the old-time wheat varieties are harvested slightly green, dried, and the straw left after the wheat threshing is made into yealms in order to straighten and make it manageable through a long procedure. Usually, they fit netting to the roof to prevent the bird’s attacks.

Combed wheatreed is also straw although it looks like water reed. The straw here comes with readily laid in one direction butts by the means of a combing machine installed on the threshing drum. It is then bundled and stacked. Re-thatching of both longstraw and combed wheatreed also does not require removal of all old material. The thatch ridges can be either “butt-up” or “wrap-over”, with the latter being more commonly used. There are also some specific regarding the thatched roof ridges such as using sedge for the waterreed roofs and applying innovative and creative patterned ridges.

Building a thatch does not require special structure. Some special architectural requirements include a 45 degrees roof slope, and clearance below dormer windows as downpipes and gutters are not used due to the roof thickness. The straw and reed harvest schedule also affect the building process. It will be cost saving to have in mind thatch since the very first stages of the building, i.e. design and planning. Thatching itself tends to take between a month, however there is a two- or three-months lead time as the skilled thatcher’s are rare today.

A water reed thatching algorithm can include the following stages:

1.      Roof structure building. Limber pieces are positioned from every corner to the central ridge pole, and nailed in cross members.
2.      Dried reeds provision, either buying locally or from a dealer. Winter harvested ones are of best thatching quality as are fully dried.
3.      Reeds placing. They are first gathered into bundles, and twice top twisted for a better hold until their placement. They are put commencing from the bottom corner of a roof side wiring them one by one to the cross members by wire and pliers. As little space as possible should be left between every bunch. This continues to the ridge pole, while every upper thatching layer is overlapped minimum halfway across the lower one.
Obviously, the beautiful thatched roofs require a professional touch. The best think you can do is to appoint the right person, know what is to be done, have it built, and then enjoy the result.