Thatched roofs, maintenance and fire risk

Cottage with thatched roof

If you aspire to own an historic cottage, you may also wish to own one with a thatched roof. Delightful as these are its important to understand how they work and some potential challenges

Below is a photo of a local Suffolk thatcher completely renewing a cottage roof with Norfolk reed. You will see that the bales of reed are laid onto the rafters and tied down with binder. Then compacted and overlaid with netting. The local thatcher reassures us that this roof will now last for 70-80 years but will need the ridge renewing every 10 years or so. Ongoing problems could be moss growth and rodents eating the thatch.

The completed thatched roof in the photo is in good condition . In this case the owner has heightened the chimney stack to minimise the risks of fire risk. If maintained properly a woodstove need not lead to fires. However  lining the flue  or installing a new flue will minimise the risk as will a temperature gauge on the flue.

Here at Chiltern Associates we can help you with such challenges including appraising the thatch on your proposed purchase