Skip to Content

How Long Does a Thatched Roof Last

how long does a thatched roof last

There are many variables that affect the lifespan of a thatched roof. These factors include materials used, frequency of maintenance, and geographical location.

The lifespan of a thatched roof is 50 years. If you take care of your thatched roof, it will last longer. The better the materials, the better quality products. If you make your thatched roof with good materials, it will last a long time.

What is a Thatched Roof?

The roofs in many traditional buildings are often made of thatch. Thatched Roofs are roofs made with bundles (sheaves) of reeds or straw, laid close together and tied at top to keep the sheaves from shifting.

In an alternating check pattern, some bundles would be laid upside down. This is known as “under-thatch” or “sick thatch”.

A less expensive roofing material is found in the bundles of reeds exposed to the weather, known as “weather-thatch” or “over-thatch”.

These thick bundles are laid side by side, with the ends overlapping to prevent water from penetrating between them.

A second layer of bundles was then laid crosswise at right angles to the first, and a cap of thatch completed the roof. This would be cut away from around doors and windows where necessary, allowing all light to enter the room.

Sheaves are typically tied with string or wire, although “rips” (thin split reeds) are often used for tying weather-thatch into place.

An experienced thatcher can readily produce a seemingly random pattern of overlapping thatch over an existing roof.

A Brief History of Thatched Roof

Thatched methods have been around for a long time. There used to be many natives of America who would thatch their houses. Thatching became popular in England at the beginning of the nineteenth century.

Thatch is popular in England, the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany. According to a report, thatch has been used in about 150,000 installations in the Netherlands and 60,000 in England.

Factors Affect The Durability Of Thatched Roofs

The first thing to understand is that there are a number of factors that will affect the durability of a thatched roof.

1. Type of Cover – The first and most obvious factor would be what type of cover is being used for the roof.

Some materials will last longer than others. In Britain, the most common types of thatch used for roofs are rye and wheat straw.

2. Location – The location where a thatched roof is installed can have an effect on how much wear and tear that it will endure over time.

An area with a great deal of rain or high wind could affect how much a thatched roof will have to be replaced.

3. Types of Thatch – An area with a high amount of rainfall could mean using Durable or Semi-Durable thatch.

Many homeowners prefer the look and type of thatch, but if these variables are present then it may be best to install a different type.

4. Pitch – The pitch of a roof will affect how much thatch is exposed. An area with high wind or rain will require a steeper pitch in order to allow the water to be directed away from it.

5. Moisture – On an annual basis, most thatched roofs are exposed to more moisture than they would have been if they had been covered with tiles.

If the average rainfall is more than 100 inches per year, it might be necessary to consider using sub-normal thatches or other materials instead of rye straw.

6. Trade Thatch – Trade thatch are those that are produced in bulk for the purpose of being used as roofing material. Because they are made from multiple components, there are a number of factors to think about.

7. Types of Grass – The grass species used will be another determining factor for which type of cover is best. For example, meadow-grass is less durable than bent-grass because it does not have the same long fibers that are found within the straw.

8. Yarns or Beards – The last thing to consider is the yarn or beards that are used in the thatch. These can take on different shapes and thicknesses, which may affect the durability.

Advantage Of Using A Thatched Roof

A thatched roof is the best kind of roofing you can have for your house if you want to save money on your energy bill.

The reason why thatch roofs are more efficient is because they create an airspace between the inside and outside of the house. More benefits to expect:

  • Provides natural insulation
  • Cheap to install
  • Sturdy
  • Long lifespan
  • Easy to maintain

The thatch roof is composed of dry vegetation, which is used as a traditional roofing option in many parts of the world. It can be made from materials such as sisal, jute, broom grasses and palm leaves.

To provide natural insulation, the empty gaps between the thatch create airspace. This airspace will reduce heat loss by blocking cold air from outside and trapping warm air inside.

Cool air is trapped at the ceiling level while hot air stays near to the roof beams and walls. The top of the roof provides a good space for ventilation and light penetration into the house.

In areas where it rains a lot, the thatch roof keeps the rain out as well as tropical conditions such as rain and humidity.

The best thing about thatch roofs is it comes with a long lifespan, easily lasting 10 to 15 years or more. This makes it an ideal green building material for eco-friendly houses.

Disadvantage Of Using A Thatched Roof

  • The thatch roof is also a bit difficult to install because you need to lay the dried grasses in such a way that they overlap each other and tie them together with ropes.
    • This requires manual dexterity which can be quite challenging.
  • Training is required for individuals who want to learn how to build a thatch roof.
    • A wrong move can lead to accidents and mechanical problems that may arise when working with organic materials like straw, hay or grasses.
  • Thatch roofs need constant mending because it is susceptible to weathering elements such as wind, rain and snow damage.
    • Animal droppings can also create a bad smell.
  • Until the roof is completely dry, it can be a fire hazard as well as a breeding ground for all kinds of insects and fungi that may cause allergies and asthma to those who live under a thatched roof.
  • You also need people who are skilled or experienced in building thatch roofs to install it properly.
    • Otherwise, it will be a lot of hassle and can end up looking like a badly done DIY project.

Is Thatched Roof The Best For Your House?

A thatched roof is not the best option to use if you want to save energy because it provides natural insulation which means no air conditioning.

But there are other options available for homeowners who do not want to use a thatched roof.

But if you are up for a traditionally looking house or building, a thatched roof can be an excellent option to consider.

Just make sure you find the right people who are knowledgeable and experienced enough in building these types of roofs for your home.