to care for a thatched roof

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to care for a thatched roof

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Do you see a thatch home and feel immediately calm and relaxed? Thatch roofs are indeed beautiful but they do need to be well maintained in order to last and give you the best insulation.

If your roof has been thatched by a well-qualified professional, chances are it will not require frequent maintenance at all. However, if you have just bought a home and it has a thatch roof, it is wise to establish right away what state it is in.


Step One

Inspection -Have a look at your thatch and once you have seen what it is like you can actually work out a maitenance schedule. If the roof is a bit messy and some of the thatch is slipping, do not automatically assume that it needs rethatching.The other common misconception, is assuming it is in good condition if it looks neat, thick and tidy. Thatch that looks thin is also not necessarily a bad thatch. Before doing anything at all, get a well respected company to come in and give you an idea of what state the thatch roof is in and if anything needs to be done.Once you have inspected the thatch on the outside, it is important to look at the underside of the roof and check all the rafters and branderings. Occasionally, the smaller rafters could be broken or rotten. Do not be alarmed as this is relatively easy to fix – most of these can be replaced from underneath without disturbing the thatch at all.Be sure to also check the ridging and ensure that the fibreglass or concrete covering is in good condition.


Step Two

Little animals and birds -Often, you will find that birds and other outdoor animals make holes in the thatch or end up actually living in it or under the apex. This problem can be solved with flashing and netting.Do not let anyone, except an experienced thatcher do this job. Long straw thatching should always be securely netted to prevent bird penetration.


Step Three

Alterations -Once you have determined what needs to be done to get your thatch roof in tip-top condition, get a quote from an experienced thatcher and get going. If the quote has exceeded your budget, the thatcher will be able to tell you what needs to be done immediately and what can be done at a later stage.The life of your thatch roof can be extended significantly by doing a good repair at the right time.


Step Four

Water, wind and fire -Water penetration into thatch is limited, and when it is correctly installed, it hardly absorbs water at all. Any water striking the apex of the roof is transferred down the roof surface from stem to stem, until it drops from the eaves.By nature, thatch is not prone to wind damage - it is actually a lot more weather-resistant than most roofing materials.


Step Five

The incidence of a fire occurring in a thatched house is very often overstated.Fires that break out in thatched properties are started the same way fires in all kinds of housing are started - so normal, sensible fire precautions should be taken.If you have a chimney going through the thatch, get an expert to check that it is well insulated and not liable to burn the thatch.Do not install a built-in braai or outdoor fire too near to the house as the sparks could start a fire. All electrical wires should be installed safely - inside conduits.Thatch roofs are as safe as any other form of roofing if the occupants of the home are responsible with all forms of fire hazards, such as smoking, candles and the use of gas.


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