Our inhouse structural engineer has the experience of designing thatched roof structures for over 30 years. Along with our network of selected thatching contractors throughout South Africa, we are able to provide our clients with a complete solution of design, construction and fire protection of their investment.
Thatched roofing is a traditional method that involves using dry fibers such as stra, reeds , palm tress and other natural fibers to create a roof covering. These are grouped and interwoven with a certain tension to form a surface, which through successive overlaps becomes impermeable and almost impenetrable to rodents and pests. The roof is mounted from the bottom up and the top is where more care must be taken and more maintenance must be done, as it is a weak point for water infiltration. Roofs with a steeper slope will make the water run faster, preventing potential infiltration problems. But this does not mean that the material restricts the designers' creativity.
Thatch has a much higher insulating value than any other traditional roofing material. With the right choice of materials and details, a well-maintained thatched roof will keep a building warm in winter and cool in summer, and has the added benefit of being very soundproof.
The most common type of thatched roofs are modern thatched roofs. Most commonly thatch consisits of ong straw wheats or water reed.
Straw can also work to create a contrast between modernity and tradition. The thatched roof contrasts with the straight shapes and polished metallic cladding, whose reflective properties aim to give the illusion of a house dissolved into the landscape. The building of thatch roofs and structures is a specialized trade. No matter how big or small the structure may be.
As Lapas are made from natural materials, they are only minimally affected by the strength of the sun, whereas shop bought gazebos don't last long in the same climate even with modern coatings.
Whilst constructed as a semi-open environment, the thick thatch of a Lapa provides not only shade, but also protection against rain showers and ensures it is suitable for many different uses all year round.
Lapas are still extremely commonplace alongside the main residential structure as a hosting area, and the additions of a built-in braai (BBQ) and fireplace ensures they are the perfect place for get-togethers. The Lapa building technique and style is also found incorporated into the design of commercial settings such as hotels and leisure facilities.