For many people the thought of owning and living in a traditional thatched cottage is incredibly appealing. There are around 35,000 thatched properties in the UK, of which around 24,000 are listed. However there is an increasing trend for thatch to be used in many new build houses. But what are the pros and cons of using thatch rather than other roofing material such as tile or slate?
Pros of thatched roofs
Aesthetically appealing – Many people simply love the look of thatch and so chose to either buy or build a thatched property because of the emotional response that they get to it. Also due to the nature of thatch itself, it can be formed into many more interesting shapes that other more rigid roofing materials. Soft, undulating waves and curves are a feature of many thatched roofs and so it can make it an appealing choice for properties with less standard designs.
Insulation – Thatch is naturally incredibly insulating, much more so than a standard slate or tile roof, even with additional layers of insulation. A thatched roof will keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer and so could help to reduce energy bills.
Eco-friendly – Thatch is probably the most sustainable and eco-friendly roofing material available, especially in areas where local materials are used to create the thatch itself.
Lightweight – Even though it may not look it, thatch is actually much more lightweight that other roofing types, so it does not require the complex and heavy support structures that they do. This can help to reduce costs when either building or maintaining the structure of your property.
Cons of thatched roofs
Expensive – Installing thatched roofs is a very labour intensive process, often taking around 4 weeks to fully complete, which means that it is one of the more expensive roofing options. Also thatched roofs only have a lifespan of between 15-50 years and so there will be considerable ongoing costs associated with them.
Maintenance – To keep a thatched roof in good order and hopefully increase its lifespan it must undergo a yearly inspection to assess its state. Keeping up with running repairs, such as patching any holes, is also very important. Also it is recommended that thatched roofs are ‘brushed’ between every 5 and 8 years. This process removes the uppermost layer of thatch which removes any rotten areas and allows air to penetrate into the lower layers to allow them to dry out more effectively.
Safety precautions – Even though the fire risk to thatched properties isn’t necessarily any higher than that to houses with other roof types, you will still need to ensure that all flues are fully lined, chimneys are kept in excellent condition and additional fire proofing methods are employed such as installing fire boards etc. You may also need to undertake pest deterrent activities to ensure that your thatched roof does not become damaged by unwanted visitors.
Undertaking the maintenance and installation of thatched roofs is a job for a specialist Master Thatcher. However for all other aspects of roofing services and property maintenance contact the trusted and friendly experts at Wisecraft Ltd for all of your building needs.
There’s no point in spending time and money on the rest of your house if you roof is not doing what it’s supposed to be doing and keeping the water out. Starting from the top down is one of the most often used practices in building for a reason – it’s the right way to do things! So a leaky roof is something that you need to get onto and get fixed as soon as possible. But don’t worry, often the causes of roof leaks are surprisingly quick and easy to fix.
Broken or slipped roof tiles or slates
One of the most obvious and most common causes of roof leaks is when the tiles or slates that cover the roof have become damaged or dislodged. Once this happens water can then easily breach the roof and will drain directly into your house causing a leak. Depending on the extent of the damage, this can often be a relatively easy repair, when placed in the hands of the experts, such as those jolly clever Bolton builders of Wisecraft Ltd. Although be warned that the longer you leave it the worse the damage will inevitably get and the more it will cost you to repair.
Many people don’t actually realise that your roof is made up of more than just tiles or slates. In fact, underneath these is a membrane known as the underlay. In the case of very strong winds it can be possible that rain is forced through any gaps or underneath the tiles. Initially the underlay will collect this water and cause it to travel down towards the guttering, but over time and with continued exposure to water, the underlay may begin to rot which can lead to a leak.
Unfortunately flashing is the name of the areas of lead (or other metal) that cover the joins between different areas of your roof, and nothing to do with funky disco lights! If flashing is installed and functioning effectively then it will ensure that water does not seep through any gaps between your tiled areas. However even a small area of damaged flashing can have a surprisingly serious effect, so ensure that you catch the problem soon and that a reputable expert is employed to repair it.
From the ground you may not be able to see if your gutters are full of leaves and moss, but if they are then water may end up pooling at the edge of your roof, rather than running off effectively. As it is stationary, water will naturally find the path of least resistance and may end up working its way into your roof or walls through any small gaps or cracks. However a simple cleaning of your gutters can easily remedy this.
To find out more about ensuring that your roof is in tip top condition, contact the friendly expert builders at Wisecraft Ltd today.
It may not be the most exciting part of your house, but on average the roof makes up 20%-30% of its visible area, and a faulty roof can cause serious damage, cost and inconvenience. Therefore it is important that when choosing a roofing material you make sure that you consider all of the available options carefully and make your decision based on more than just cost. Have a look at our round up of some of the most common roofing options and then why not give the friendly Bolton builders of Wisecraft a call and get us round for a free, no obligation consultation?
This modern type of tiled roofing system comprises of tiles that are shaped to securely interlock. This reduces the need for overlap that you find with some of the more traditional tiling systems and so can reduce both cost and weight. Interlocking systems are weather tight and easy to lay and can be manufactured to replicate the look of traditional tiles including slate.
Clay has been a traditional material for roofing for centuries and can have an extremely long lifespan. In fact clay tiles have been found on some buildings dating back to the 14th century. Clay tiles can be formed into many different shapes and styles and so can be a great choice for period buildings which can take advantage of dramatic ridge tiles, finials and fish-tail and bull-nose shapes. If you are considering clay tiles ensure that they meet the UK’s frost requirements as the British winter weather classically has repeated cycles of freezing and thawing which can take its toll on some poorer quality clay tiles.
Concrete tiles are one of the most common types of roofing material in the UK. They are available in a vast range of styles, shapes and colours and so can be used to create or match a heritage look at a reduced cost. Concrete tiles are also available in interlocking formats which improve weather proofing and can also be used on shallower roof pitches. However the disadvantage of concrete tiles can sometimes be their longevity, resulting in higher maintenance costs and the need for expedited re-roofing.
Due to a plentiful and local supply of slate, many areas of the UK have slate as their most common roofing material. However traditional slate requires higher overlaps to achieve waterproofness and is most effective on simple shaped roofs rather than curves etc. Many companies are now producing composite lookalike versions and recycled slate which can be more cost effective.
To discuss your roofing options further contact the experts at Wisecraft Ltd today.