How much will it cost to employ a thatcher to work on my roof?

Thatch is priced on a 10 ft by 10 ft square and ridging is priced by the linear foot, with materials and overheads taken into account.

A checklist for when you receive a quote and compare prices:

Does the quote include scaffolding, VAT, finial (if required).

Compare the like for like, i.e. materials used, The Ridge quality and density (I always used three layers including the wrap over) and pattern as they involve different degrees of work.

What about ventilation and insulation?

A thatch roof is extremely thermally efficient – warm in winter and cool in summer. 12 inches of thatch, which is the standard thickness for a new coat, at a 45 degrees pitch meets modern insulation standard, the U-value of 0.35, which is equivalent to 4 inches of fibreglass insulation between the joists. When a new coat is added to the existing coat as in a combed wheat reed roof the U- Value far exceeds that of the standard.

Environmental issues

“From a conservation point of view thatch is less demanding on the land as the raw materials do not require quarrying or mining. Water reed… is a natural crop that, properly maintained, promotes the survival of wildlife and improves the environment generally; perhaps even more importantly, it grows in areas which are otherwise agriculturally unviable. The alternative thatching material, wheat reed, is a by-product of an essential food harvest. So neither product creates wastage or is a drain on the world’s natural resources.” (from Thatch by Robert West)

What about the ridge?

There are two basic forms of ridge: flush and block. A flush ridge is within the roof line and does not stand out from it. A block ridge, on the other hand, is built up and then cut to form a block raised very visibly over the roof ridge. Technically, both ridge styles are equal in purpose however a pattern block ridge will give you more years in its life

How does thatch keep weather out?

A combination of its compactness and the steep pitch of a thatched roof means water runs off the roof by dropping from one end of a stem of reed to another. A new thatch will only ever get wet about 1″ down from the surface.

Why don’t most thatch roofs have gutters?

Generally because of the thickness of the thatch the bottom projects far enough away from the walls of the property to shed the water away from the walls.

How long does a thatch roof stay new looking?

About 2 years. Most then turn a charcoal grey colour.

How long does a thatch roof last?

It depends on the material, it depends on the pitch, it depends on the aspect of the roof, and it depends on the workmanship. Generally wheat reed  is thought to last around 25 – 30 years and water reed 40 +

Will a roof require any maintenance?

A new ridge will need to be fitted every 10-15 years and at this time the whole roof can be dressed and cleaned and any moss removed.

Does it catch fire easily?

Not easily. Shut the thickest book you can find and try lighting its closed pages on the opposite side to its spine! Lack of air and compactness is the key as with water shedding.

Can I have real fires?

Yes no problem. Chimney heights should be well above the highest point of the thatch. Chimneys should have a lining and be well cleaned. Heat sensors that are specifically for chimneys on thatch roofs can also be installed.

What about lead work?

With the exception of box gutters and gullies, all lead work is dressed down on to the surface of thatch i.e. around chimneys. I can do this for you.

Do I need to put felt under my thatch?

No definitely not- this will inhibit the ventilation.