When Should You Replace A Thatch Roof?

There's no doubt that a thatched roof adds character, but what do you do when the thatch starts to fall or if the thatch needs to be replaced?





Properties with thatched roofs have a certain charm about them and they are popular for country homes, themed housing estates and holiday homes. But while thatch adds character to a home before you decide on this roofing option consider the maintenance requirements and lifespan of a thatched roof.



South Africa is a climate where thatch is a sustainable roofing material. There is an abundance of grass types that are suitable for all types of thatching processes including roof thatching for properties. In my housing development alone, there are two properties that are thatched and I have seen how this material needs to be regularly maintained to prevent expensive repair or replacement costs.






Where a thatched roof is professionally installed and regularly maintained, it offers a sustainable and durable roofing solution with a lifespan of up to 40 years*.






We have already looked at the pros and cons of a thatched roof in this article, but over and above that, if you have a property with a thatched roof it is important that you do have a professional thatching company undertake an inspection on your behalf.



Regular inspections will reveal whether or not a thatched roof remains in good condition or require any treatment or maintenance of the thatch. Not only the roof area itself should be inspected but also any slopes or valleys along the construction of the roof.



Over time, a thatch roof loses thickness as a result of the elements and general wear, this can be as much as 25mm over an 8-year period. Increased reduction in the thickness of the thatch covering can result in the underlying fastenings become rotten or wearing away. These are problems that you will not be able to see from an exterior point of view and that only a professional organisation will be able to identify.








It is hard to determine the exact lifespan of a thatched roof as the materials used and the installation process can vary greatly around the country. However, the overall lifespan can be up to 40 years with ongoing and regular inspections to immediately rectify any problems.



Any signs of deterioration, as can clearly be seen in the image below, need to be addressed as quickly as possible. Rotten or damaged areas should be stripped and replaced.



In the event of severe damage it may be necessary to re-dress the thatch which involves the application of a new layer of thatch over the existing layer. However, this can only be done if the original roof structure is able to take the additional weight, or the fixings are not decayed, in which case the entire thatch roof must be removed and replaced.



If you are in any doubt as to the condition of your thatch roof, get in touch with a professional thatching organisation in your area and let them come out and give your thatch roof a thorough inspection. If you require additional information, click here to download a Guide To Thatching In South Africa.






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