Repairs & Maintenace To Thatched Roofs

A thatched roof requires consistent maintenance to ensure its longevity. In addition to general degradation of the thatch over time, common problems in thatched roofs that require maintenance include damage caused by monkeys, birds, and overhanging trees, as well as leaks and rotting, which are frequently caused by the roof being improperly thatched and built in the first place.

Many people fantasize about living under a thatched roof. You can keep your dream from becoming a nightmare if you know how to care for your thatch.

A good thatch will necessitate regular maintenance. Determine the condition of the thatch early on so that appropriate work (if necessary) can be planned. Do not assume that because materials are slipping or the roof appears to be in disarray, it requires re-thatching.

Do not assume that just because the roof appears neat (with a well-conditioned ridge pattern), it is in good condition.

Maintenance of a Thatched Roof:

How long will my thatched roof last? 

With regular maintenance, your standard thatched roof (consisting of the ridge or uppermost part and the top layer of thatch or coatwork) will last for years, depending on various factors including materials. Water reed tends to last 25-40 years, combed wheat reed for 25-30 years and longstraw 15-25 years. Ridges last around 10-15 years.

How do I maintain my thatched roof?

  • Keep an eye on your thatch, especially during the winter.
  • Remove any trees or vegetation that are impeding exposure to the sun and wind or preventing rain from running off to ensure that the thatch can dry well.
  • Allow no one to harm it by leaning against it or walking on it.
  • Keep food (such as bird food) away from your home to deter rodents.

Signs that maintenance is due 

  • Fixings showing through
  • Hollows or lines in the thatch
  • Wire netting raised on the ridge
  • Net patches under the eaves
  • Moss and lichen growing on the thatch
  • Flashings (the waterproof strips around chimneys and roof protrusions) coming away

What work will a thatcher carry out to maintain my roof?

  • Depending on the condition of your roof, your thatcher may recommend minor repairs or a complete re-thatch.
  • Re-ridging entails removing any wire netting from the ridge, removing the old materials, and installing new ridging.
  • When re-ridging, cement flashing is usually replaced. Lead flashing lasts longer and may not need to be replaced as frequently.
  • After this stage, 'dressing up' the thatch that has come loose from its fixings is possible. The thatch will be secured and leveled.
  • Brushing down is the next step, which involves removing loose materials and moss.
  • Patching is used to repair isolated holes on the ridge or coatwork.