Apr 12, · Dickie Wright, from RJ Wright and Son, Master Family Thatchers, explains the key elements to thatching a roof, as he demonstrates his skills at the Royal Bat. How to Install a Thatch Roof Step 1. So you want to add a thatched roof to your dwelling. First decide if it is a thatch "look" you want or "real" Step 2. Real thatching is done on a house without a sub-roof and at a pitch of at least 45 degrees. The thatch is laid Step 3. Grass or reed should.
A beginners guide to the craft of thatching; which answers two questions; how long does thatch last and how much will it ggrass These are the questions every thatcher is asked most frequently. And they are the most difficult ones to answer, as nearly every hrass roof is a unique combination, of the size, shape and how to thatch a roof with grass of the roof and the materials and thatching skills used to create it.
Some of which are linked below. It might be useful to start with answering a question that is rarely asked. What are the mechanics of a thatched roof? How does a roof, consisting of material that thathc not waterproof in itself, keep the rain at bay.
The answer lies in the physical properties of water, in the form of rain. The surface itself rooof not have to be waterproof, as long as it is steep enough to speedily shed the water before it can penetrate that surface. With a thatched roof the water is also constantly forming drops, by dripping from one piece of thatch to the next; this effectively keeps the water in small amounts, as it flows over the roof.
As long as both thatch and roof structures are at the correct angle water will not penetrate more than an inch 25mm or so. So the working surface of a thatched roof is actually quite thin. E xperience has shown that how often to feed babies roof structure, thatcj a minimum pitch of 45 degrees, is necessary for a successful thatched roof.
A steeply pitched roof is of the utmost importance. Many ghatch have wkth near or below this minimum pitch; the thatch above windows or in a valley is often thus; this is normally acceptable; but these portions of the roof will decay the fastest.
T he vast majority of thatching in Britain is carried out using one of three materials. Long Strawwhich is thrashed cereal straw, usually of wheat. And Combed Wheat Reedwhich is unthrashed cereal straw; applied in a similar way to water reed. Along with these three there is also a little use of heather, marram grass and how to get titles and emblems in modern warfare 2 mainly in the north of Britain.
Being organic products, all thatching materials will eventually decay in an outside environment. A roof covered, using the Standard method of thatching consists of layers of thatch, commonly known as Courses ; which are held in place by Fixings.
The type of fixing used depends on what the thatch is being attached to. When thatch is being attached directly to the roof timbers; a Thatcg Layered roof is created. Here the material is held in place by a Sway ; a long piece of split wood, or more likely steel bar. Often a hooked steel spike or Thatching Crook is then used to fix down this sway; a crook being driven what to do about dark circles each rafter, along the length of a course of thatch.
Alternatively a wire is screwed into the rafter and then tied around the sway. Or if the previous layers of thatch are used as a base to fix the new; the how to find gemstones in your backyard becomes Multilayered. Then new coats of thatch are invariably held in place, by twisted and pointed wooden pegs. These have many names, the most common being Thatching Spars or simply Spars.
These are driven through the new thatch, into the old layers beneath. These layers create a Coat grasx thatch. Making up what is often called the Coatwork. A top Ridge covers and protects the final line of fixings; and completes the roof.
Spars are also used extensively, in fixing a ridge. Standard thatching needs hoe or repair, when it has worn back to where the thatch is held in place by the fixing. The skill of the thatcher is to delay this event for as long as possible.
By completing each course correctly, they should achieve two things…. The courses of thatch are usually around wity inches mm thick; depending on the type used. A suitable angle of material within the coatwork, of around 20 degrees, can be maintained by the skilled use of some Backfilling. This is extra material, added roov necessary, which in effect thickens the top of the new course, above the fixing, making the succeeding course lie steeper.
This correct angle of thatching material should not be confused with the pitch of the roof. The angle of roof pitch is determined by the roof structure itself. Without the lower part of the thatch becoming too slack. A perfectly ti coat of combed wheat reed could have the lower measurement; a roof of long water reed the upper; with each how to thatch a roof with grass the correct depth of fixing in how to thatch a roof with grass. This depth of fixing is a vital measurement.
Thatchers often check it; by using the distance across their hand with the thumb extended. This is the working part of the thatch that will wear away wkth time. The temptation is create more of it. But creating a roof too thick is as bad as having one too thin. If the courses of material are too thin, the fixing has to be brought forwards, towards the outside of the coatwork; to create a firm roof, thus shortening its life. Too thick, and the courses of thatching material will lie too flat; and allow water to run back up the thatch, tahtch of running off it.
A two year old roof I once surveyed, had water penetrating a good nine inches mm up the stems of the thatch; already half way to the fixing, simply tnatch the coatwork was too thick. With the fixings, either on the outside of the roof; or the thatch being tied or weighted down. This is often collectively calledDirectional Thatching. These methods are much quicker than the standard one. A roof takes days instead of weeks to complete. Roor the thatch only has a short lifespan, a few years instead of several decades.
However, over a long period the two methods work out as having a similar cost, in both time and materials. R oof situation also has a bearing on the life expectancy of thatch. Basically the drier the environment the better; the faster the roof dries out the longer it will last. So a breezy hilltop location is better than a sheltered valley. But the worst effects of damp and shade can be caused by much more local conditions. Nearby and overhanging trees can take how to save asp file as pdf off the wwith laid thatch.
Especially the evergreens; Yew and Leylandi being the tbatch. Evidently these last two produce sugars that can blow on to the roof and feed the bacteria that rot thatch. So beware of all overhanging trees.
These poor conditions affect all materials. One type of thatch is not necessarily superior to the others. Long straw, gives a more open coatwork, letting the air circulate. Water reed thatcy be finer orof combed wheat reed, and last less time. Sixty year old roofs are common here. Even older ones were noted over how to thatch a roof with grass hundred years ago.
A Mr Marshall stated that reed thatches would last half a century without attention. And the best part of another fifty years, with some careful repairing. But parts of this area have less rainfall tharch Jerusalem; a clue to the reason for the longevity of most thatch here. So it seems that sixty year roofs of Water Reed are common on the eastern what does pfc mean in the marines of Britain; thatchers on the western side would probably be happy with anything over half that time.
Straw roofs and ridges yhatch the same pattern; forty how to change high mount brake light becomes twenty or so, with ridges lasting up to ten years in the west, surviving twice as long in the hkw east. T he second question of importance, asked by owners and buyers; concerns the cost of thatching.
This can be wiyh to the ravages of both time and inflation. It stands to reason that the main factor in the cost of thatching a roof is its size. The thatcher estimates the roof area in Squares of square feet, or square metres. Calculating the area of a roof is arrived at by using some basic geometry. So the thatcher rooc measures around any overhanging gables and eaves, into the wall.
This generally adds around grqss inches 1. And 30 inches mm to the width, of a single elevation, how to thatch a roof with grass for the eaves.
Other things have to be considered, in addition to the basic square area and ridge length. Having a roof howw what are often called Features; dormer windows, hipped ends and the like, all adds to the cost. These slow down tgatch thatcher and time is money. This is hrass true with ridging; the type of ridge required can affect the price considerably; ornamental ridges can be very time consuming. The craft is very labour intensive. No one has yet invented a thatching machine, although a lot of thhatch often feel like one!
Too charges can be between sixty and seventy five per cent of the cost of a square of thatching. The percentage is even higher on a purely ridging job. The labour charges themselves are much the same as the other building professions, and vary in a similar way throughout the country.
Unless the thatcher grows the materials they use; they have little control over their price. With all thatching dith a regular source of good quality material is more important than a few pounds either way; on a tonne of thatch or a load of water reed. Access, for delivery of materials and removal of rubbish, can also affect the cost of a job. Narrow lanes and driveways often mean the thatching materials have to be decanted, into smaller vehicles; or manually carried onto the site.
Removing large amounts of old thatch or litter creates the same problem in reverse. Travelling takes both time and money.
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Measure: Using a permanent marker and a reliable measuring tape, measure and mark the areas where you will apply your thatch. Start at the lowest edge: Begin installation at the bottom edge of your roofing structure and apply the thatch in a horizontal line, securing the panels with a staple gun or hammer and nails. When thatch is being attached directly to the roof timbers; a Single Layered roof is created. Here the material is held in place by a Sway ; a long piece of split wood, or more likely steel bar. Often a hooked steel spike or Thatching Crook is then used to fix down this sway; a crook being driven into each rafter, along the length of a course of thatch. Start by measuring the surface and cutting the thatch rolls to the desired length. Then, attach the base of the thatch panel or roll using a staple gun with at least ?” staples. Laying thatch on a roof or walls requires you to be layer the thatch by stapling the panels .
Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw , water reed , sedge Cladium mariscus , rushes , heather , or palm branches , layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. Since the bulk of the vegetation stays dry and is densely packed—trapping air—thatching also functions as insulation. It is a very old roofing method and has been used in both tropical and temperate climates. Thatch is still employed by builders in developing countries, usually with low-cost local vegetation.
By contrast, in some developed countries it is the choice of some affluent people who desire a rustic look for their home, would like a more ecologically friendly roof, or who have purchased an originally thatched abode.
Thatching methods have traditionally been passed down from generation to generation, and numerous descriptions of the materials and methods used in Europe over the past three centuries survive in archives and early publications.
In some equatorial countries, thatch is the prevalent local material for roofs , and often walls. There are diverse building techniques from the ancient Hawaiian hale shelter made from the local ti leaves Cordyline fruticosa , lauhala Pandanus tectorius  or pili grass Heteropogon contortus. Palm leaves are also often used. For example, in Na Bure, Fiji , thatchers combine fan palm leaf roofs with layered reed walls. Feathered palm leaf roofs are used in Dominica.
In Southeast Asia, mangrove nipa palm leaves are used as thatched roof material known as attap dwelling. In Bali, Indonesia , the black fibres of Arenga pinnata called ijuk is also used as thatched roof materials, usually used in Balinese temple roof and meru towers. People probably began to use straw in the Neolithic period when they first grew cereals—but once again, no direct archaeological evidence of straw for thatching in Europe prior to the early medieval period survives.
Many indigenous people of the Americas , such as the former Maya civilization, Mesoamerica, the Inca empire, and the Triple Alliance Aztec , lived in thatched buildings. The first Americans encountered by Europeans lived in structures roofed with bark or skin set in panels that could be added or removed for ventilation, heating, and cooling. Evidence of the many complex buildings with fiber-based roofing material was not rediscovered until the early s.
French and British settlers built temporary thatched dwellings with local vegetation as soon as they arrived in New France and New England, but covered more permanent houses with wooden shingles.
In most of England, thatch remained the only roofing material available to the bulk of the population in the countryside, in many towns and villages, until the late s. Still, the number of thatched properties actually increased in the UK during the mids as agriculture expanded, but then declined again at the end of the 19th century because of agricultural recession and rural depopulation.
A report estimated that there were 60, properties in the UK with a thatched roof; they are usually made of long straw, combed wheat reed or water reed. Gradually, thatch became a mark of poverty, and the number of thatched properties gradually declined, as did the number of professional thatchers.
Thatch has become much more popular in the UK over the past 30 years, and is now a symbol of wealth rather than poverty.
There are approximately 1, full-time thatchers at work in the UK,  and thatching is becoming popular again because of the renewed interest in preserving historic buildings and using more sustainable building materials. Thatched roof house in Kilmore Quay , Ireland. Cahire Breton cottages at Plougoumelen , Brittany, France. Thatched roofs in Kerene Ethiopia. There are more than 60, thatched roofs in the United Kingdom and over , in the Netherlands.
The straw is bundled into "yelms" before it is taken up to the roof and then is attached using staples, known as "spars", made from twisted hazel sticks. Over roofs in Southern England have base coats of thatch that were applied over years ago, providing direct evidence of the types of materials that were used for thatching in the medieval period.
Medieval wheat grew to almost 6 feet 1. Technological change in the farming industry significantly affected the popularity of thatching. The availability of good quality thatching straw declined in England after the introduction of the combine harvester in the late s and s, and the release of short-stemmed wheat varieties.
Increasing use of nitrogen fertiliser in the s—70s also weakened straw and reduced its longevity. In the UK it is illegal under the Plant Variety and Seeds Act with many amendments for an individual or organisation to give, trade or sell seed of an older variety of wheat or any other agricultural crop to a third party for growing purposes, subject to a significant fine. All evidence indicates that water reed was rarely used for thatching outside of East Anglia. Weathered reed is usually stripped and replaced by a new layer.
It takes 4—5 acres of well-managed reed bed to produce enough reed to thatch an average house, and large reed beds have been uncommon in most of England since the Anglo-Saxon period.
Though water reed might last for 50 years or more on a steep roof in a dry climate, modern imported water reed on an average roof in England does not last any longer than good quality wheat straw. The lifespan of a thatched roof also depends on the skill of the thatcher, but other factors must be considered—such as climate , quality of materials, and the roof pitch.
In areas where palms are abundant, palm leaves are used to thatch walls and roofs. Many species of palm trees are called " thatch palm ", or have "thatch" as part of their common names. In the southeastern United States , Native and pioneer houses were often constructed of palmetto -leaf thatch. Thatching miscanthus field in Sandager , Denmark.
Grassland with thatching grass on Imba Abba Salama Mt. Thatched roof made of ijuk black arenga pinnata fibres, Besakih , Bali.
Heather thatching, Culloden , Scotland. Good thatch does not require frequent maintenance. In England a ridge normally lasts 8—14 years, and re-ridging is required several times during the lifespan of a thatch.
Experts no longer recommend covering thatch with wire netting, as this slows evaporation and reduces longevity. Moss can be a problem if very thick, but is not usually detrimental, and many species of moss are actually protective. The Thatcher's Craft , , remains the most widely used reference book on the techniques used for thatching. Thatched roofs generally need replacement when the horizontal wooden 'sways' and hair-pin 'spars', also known as 'gads' twisted hazel staples that fix each course become visible near the surface.
It is not total depth of the thatch within a new layer applied to a new roof that determines its longevity, but rather how much weathering thatch covers the fixings of each overlapping course. Thatch is not as flammable as many people believe. It burns slowly, "like a closed book," thatchers say. The vast majority of fires are linked to the use of wood burners and faulty chimneys with degraded or poorly installed or maintained flues.
Sparks from paper or burned rubbish can ignite dry thatch on the surface around a chimney. Fires can also begin when sparks or flames work their way through a degraded chimney and ignite the surrounding semi-charred thatch. This can be avoided by ensuring that the chimney is in good condition, which may involve stripping thatch immediately surrounding the chimney to the full depth of the stack. This can easily be done without stripping thatch over the entire roof. Insurance premiums on thatched houses are higher than average in part because of the perception that thatched roofs are a fire hazard, but also because a thatch fire can cause extensive smoke damage and a thatched roof is more expensive to replace than a standard tiled or slate roof.
Workmen should never use open flame near thatch, and nothing should be burnt that could fly up the chimney and ignite the surface of the thatch. Spark arrestors usually cause more harm than good, as they are easily blocked and reduce air flow. All thatched roofs should have smoke detectors in the roof space. Spray-on fire retardant or pressure impregnated fire retardants can reduce the spread of flame and radiated heat output.
On new buildings, a solid fire retardant barrier over the rafters can make the thatch sacrificial in case of fire. If fireboards are used, they require a ventilation gap between boarding and thatch so that the roof can breathe, as condensation can be a significant problem in thin, single layer thatch.
Condensation is much less of a problem on thick straw roofs, which also provide much better insulation since they do not need to be ventilated. The performance of thatch depends on roof shape and design, pitch of roof, position—its geography and topography —the quality of material and the expertise of the thatcher. Thatch has some natural properties that are advantageous to its performance. It is naturally weather-resistant, and when properly maintained does not absorb a lot of water.
There should not be a significant increase to roof weight due to water retention. A roof pitch of at least 50 degrees allows precipitation to travel quickly down slope so that it runs off the roof before it can penetrate the structure. Thatch is also a natural insulator, and air pockets within straw thatch insulate a building in both warm and cold weather.
A thatched roof ensures that a building is cool in summer and warm in winter. Thatching materials range from plains grasses to waterproof leaves found in equatorial regions. It is the most common roofing material in the world, because the materials are readily available.
Thatch is a versatile material when it comes to covering irregular roof structures. This fact lends itself to the use of second-hand, recycled and natural materials that are not only more sustainable , but need not fit exact standard dimensions to perform well.
Thatched houses are harder to insure because of the perceived fire risk, and because thatching is labor-intensive, it is much more expensive to thatch a roof than to cover it with slate or tiles. Birds can damage a roof while they are foraging for grubs, and rodents are attracted by residual grain in straw.
Thatch has fallen out of favor in much of the industrialized world not because of fire, but because thatching has become very expensive and alternative 'hard' materials are cheaper—but this situation is slowly changing. There are about 60, thatched roofs in the UK, of which 50—80 suffer a serious fire each year, most of these being completely destroyed. New thatched roofs were forbidden in London in following a major fire,  and existing roofs had to have their surfaces plastered to reduce the risk of fire.
The modern Globe Theatre is one of the few thatched buildings in London others can be found in the suburb of Kingsbury , but the Globe's modern, water reed thatch is purely for decorative purpose and actually lies over a fully waterproofed roof built with modern materials.
The Globe Theatre, opened in , was modelled on the Rose, which was destroyed by a fire on a dry June night in when a burning wad of cloth ejected from a special effects cannon during a performance set light to the surface of the thatch.
The original Rose Theatre was actually thatched with cereal straw, a sample of which was recovered by Museum of London archaeologists during the excavation of the site in the s. Some claim thatch cannot cope with regular snowfall but, as with all roofing materials, this depends on the strength of the underlying roof structure and the pitch of the surface. A law passed in in Massachusetts outlawed the use of thatched roofs in the colony for this reason.
A thatched roof is usually pitched between 45—55 degrees and under normal circumstances this is sufficient to shed snow and water. In areas of extreme snowfall, such as parts of Japan , the pitch is increased further. Some thatched roofs in the UK are extremely old and preserve evidence of traditional materials and methods that had long been lost. In northern Britain this evidence is often preserved beneath corrugated sheet materials and frequently comes to light during the development of smaller rural properties.
Historic Scotland have funded several research projects into thatching techniques and these have revealed a wide range of materials including broom, heather, rushes, cereals, bracken, turf and clay and highlighted significant regional variation   . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Type of roof. For the racehorse, see Thatching horse. For the aircraft maneuver, see Thach weave.