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.