Thatched houses are unusual and beautiful. Simple in design, the indigenous materials of which they are composed invariably blend in a very satisfactory way into the environment. They are personalised and individualised by location and craftsmanship. Our landscape would be poorer aesthetically without them.
Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge, rushes and heather, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. It is a very old roofing method and has been used in both tropical and temperate climates.
Thatch is still employed by builders in developing countries, usually with low-cost, local vegetation. By contrast in some developed countries it is now the choice of affluent people who desire a rustic look for their home or who have purchased an originally thatched abode.
Good quality thatching straw can last for more than 45–50 years when applied by a skilled thatcher.
Thatch is fastened together in bundles with a diameter of about two feet. These are then laid on the roof with the butt end facing out and secured to the roof beams, after which they are pegged in place with wooden or steel rods.
The thatcher adds the layers on top of each other, finishing with a layer to secure the ridgeline of the roof. This method means thatch roofs are easy to repair, can endure heavy winds and rain and only need a stable supporting structure.
Thatch is also a natural insulator, and air pockets within straw thatch insulate a building in both warm and cold weather. A thatched roof will ensure that a building will be cool in summer and warm in winter.
Thatch also has very good resistance to wind damage when applied correctly.Read More