How long does a thatched roof last?
The climate, materials and pitch of the roof go a long way to defining the life expectancy of a roof. Here in the West Country in the hands of a good craftsman wheat thatch should last 20 - 25 years.
If there’s a problem do you have to replace the whole roof? No. The beauty of thatch is that it can be relayered and patched. Or sections can be completely removed and re-laid where necessary.
If I’m buying a property how can I judge the condition of the thatch?
You can get some idea by looking out for isolated patches of discoloration, slippage/unevenness or areas where the thatch has visibly worn thin. A building survey will go into more detail, but we recommend you get a master thatcher to take a look. This is a specialist service that Exmoor Thatchers offer.
Does thatch really keep the heat in and the cold out?
Yes, and it is all to down to insulation. Although thatch is tightly packed, the layers of straw create thousands of pockets of air, making it an incredibly efficient insulating material. Far more effective than other roofing materials.
PS: At the time of writing it is a sweltering 34 degrees outside, but our nice thatched roof also keeps the heat out.
How much will it cost?
This will depend on the size and complexity of the job. A master thatcher will be able to give you an accurate estimate of the job in hand, when maintenance will be required and how much it will cost. We have gained a reputation for being exceptionally competitive in our pricing.
What about insurance?
Traditionally this costs an arm and a leg. But we deal with insurance companies regularly and know companies who take a more realistic view on premiums. We would be happy to advise you.
How long will it take?
Again it depends on the complexity of the job. But one master thatcher alone would expect to cover 70 square meters in 2 weeks. On occasions we work as a team, and to our knowledge there are no thatchers in the area who can work faster.
What materials do you use?
Combed wheat reed is the traditional material used on most of the roofs in the Exmoor area. But we are skilled in the full range of thatching materials and can provide them as and when required.
What about fire risk?
Like any roof if the house catches fire underneath, thatch will eventually burn. Chemical fire-proofing is available but is not widely used.
What about pests?
A wire netting can be applied to make it difficult for certain pests to remove dislodge or take up living quarters in thatch. Baiting measures will also deter damage.
How do I choose a thatcher?
Easy. Go to the pub and ask around. In the West Country word of mouth is your best possible guide. In addition check credentials and be sure you employ a master thatcher. There are cowboys out in them hills.