A stitch in time… Makes good sense and saves money


What to look for:

  • Holes
  • Grooves
  • Decay
  • Moss growth
  • Fixings visible

Thatch is usually of long straw, combed wheat reed, water reed or heather, depending on the regional building tradition. The material demands a high degree of craftsmanship and the advice of a local thatcher of proven ability is essential. Any re-thatching should always be carried out in the local tradition, preferably using local materials. Any changes to the design and character of the roof may need Listed Building Consent if the building is listed.

It is not always necessary to dismantle and recover the entire roof. Patch repairs and coating over are both possible without wholesale stripping, depending on the condition of the roof. Do not worry about the roof looking patchy; repairs will soon blend in.

If you think moss growth may be a problem this should be removed in wet weather when the moss is loose. Seek the advice of a thatcher; you may do harm by trying to remove the moss yourself. Thatch once settled should not experience any point loading including people standing on the roof. Galvanised wire netting can prevent birds and vermin removing the straw for their nests.

Fire prevention: keep the roof space draught-free and clear of straw dust and old thatch. Chimney stacks and stove pipes, whether inside or outside roof spaces, should be swept regularly and inspected for thin walls, or holes which could leak hot gases which might set light to the thatch. Electrical wiring in roof spaces should be checked by a qualified electrician. Fit a smoke alarm and check the batteries regularly, or have it hard wired. Spray-on chemicals to increase fire resistance or spread of flame characteristics are not recommended.