Thatched roofs have been around for hundreds of years and certainly give a house great character. But is thatch a good choice or roofing material for your new build? Check out this overview of the advantages and disadvantages before you make your final decision.
The advantages of choosing a thatched roof
- A professionally installed thatched roof will last from 15 to 20 years, as long as it is correctly and regularly maintained.
- Thatch is a great insulator and when used for roofing can save you the need for using additional insulation in your loft space. A thatched roof can keep your home cool during the summer heat and warm when the cold weather arrives in winter, saving you money on fuel bills for air conditioning and heating.
- Thatch often looks better in rural settings as it ages and the colour becomes darker, blending seamlessly with the surrounding countryside. This could be important if aesthetics and the environment are high on your list of priorities.
- The materials used to make thatch are entirely natural, providing work and income for rural communities and leaving a smaller carbon footprint than some other roofing materials.
The disadvantages of using thatch as a roofing material
- Thatch can be an expensive option as a roofing choice because of the labour intensive nature of its installation.
- Your home insurance could be more expensive if you choose thatch, as insurers often regard thatch as a higher fire risk than other materials.
- Thatched roofs require an annual inspection to make sure that they are in good condition and that no maintenance work is required. After severe storms, thatch can be prone to sustaining damage to the ridge cap, which can cause leaks. Thatch must also be treated regularly with fire-retardant and biological preservatives, adding to the expense of maintaining the roof.
- Thatched roofs must be located away from any overhanging vegetation and trees to prevent drying out, which could present a fire risk.
- Many professional thatchers recommend the installation of a fireboard and lightning rods to prevent fire.
- If you have an open fire, you'll need to have it built double-walled and with a spark resistor fitted.
- Some pests, such as lizards, snakes, and rodents may decide to take up residence in your thatched roof. They can cause damage when they begin nesting and breeding.
If you're keen on having a thatched roof on your new build property, be sure to bear in mind the pros and cons listed above before making your final decision. Your building contractor will be able to offer more advice and could also recommend a professional thatcher who could provide you with more information.