Buildings might have changed over the centuries, but one thing remains the same. British builders are still capable of erecting structures which last the test of time. Skills and techniques have been passed down from generation to generation.
One of these time-honoured skills is thatching, and despite its somewhat old-fashioned appearance, thatch is still used for roofs all over the UK. But in a modern age, why would homeowners ever consider having their tiled roof turned into a thatched one?
Energy bills are on the rise, and will likely continue to rise for the foreseeable future. In an attempt to try and bring the bills down, people are installing smart meters, better insulation, double-glazing, and draught excluders. However, one of the best insulation choices money can buy is a thatched roof. Doing away with the need for fibreglass and face masks, thatch keeps the heat in and the cold out.
Thatch is also a natural product, and will break down at the end of its lifespan, unlike modern insulation materials.
We are all more conscious of our effect on the environment nowadays, and that’s beginning to have an effect on our homes. More and more of us are investing in solar panels and appliances with better energy efficiency. With this in mind, thatch is makes a lot of sense. Writing for @thegreenhomeuk, Ben Jones explains:
“Thatch is highly environmentally friendly, and is one of the best eco roof types around. The materials needed are grown easily and harvested with little to no machinery. Whilst thatched roofs are more labour intensive to source and construct than some other options, most of the materials are sourced from rural communities which benefit greatly from the work created.”
Thatch roofs have the added advantage of ageing well; the older a thatch roof becomes, the more in keeping with the local aesthetic it is. Since thatch is often found in the countryside, it is a great choice for maintaining the countryside’s aesthetic appeal – as well as your home.
There are a few downsides which need to be mentioned. And one of them is lightning! Thatched roofing needs to be protected from lightning strikes with a metal pole to ground the current. Additionally, thatch needs to be protected from pesky birds which can strip it away in an alarmingly short amount of time. This can be done with plastic netting (which isn’t particularly eco-friendly) or with metal wire, but the wire will need to be replaced every so often.
Although people might wonder about longevity, thatch is surprisingly long-lived if maintained properly. It can last for as long as 30 years before it needs replacing. Considering tiled roofs need their own fair share of maintenance, this isn’t such a bad thing.
Few people consider thatch when it comes time to re-roofing their home or building an extension. But it’s a lot more practical than you might think.