Skip to Content


« Back to Glossary Index

**History and Geography of Thatching**
Thatching methods passed down through generations
– Various building techniques in equatorial countries
– Use of palm leaves in different regions
– Wild vegetation used for shelters in Europe
– Thatch usage in ancient American civilizations
– Popular thatched roof regions
– Countries where thatch is popular
– Evidence of types of materials used in medieval period
– Number of thatched roofs in the UK and the Netherlands

**Materials and Techniques of Thatching**
Longevity of good quality straw thatch
– Traditional application methods
– Types of straw used in medieval period
– Impact of technological changes on thatching materials
– Layering of dry vegetation for roof construction
– Function of thatching as insulation
– Employment of thatch by builders in developing countries
– Reasons for choosing thatch in developed countries

**Popularity and Perception of Thatching**
– Decline of thatch as a mark of poverty
– Increase in popularity of thatch in the UK
– Symbol of wealth rather than poverty
– Renewed interest in using sustainable building materials
– Impact of technological changes on thatching popularity

**Flammability and Performance of Thatching**
– Thatch burns slowly and is not as flammable as commonly believed
– Most fires are linked to wood burners and faulty chimneys
– Insurance premiums on thatched houses are higher due to fire risk perception
– Fire retardant treatments can reduce flame spread and heat output
– Thatch performance depends on roof shape, design, pitch, location, material quality, and thatcher’s expertise

**Advantages, Disadvantages, and Maintenance of Thatching**
– Thatch is weather-resistant and does not absorb much water
– A thatched roof can provide natural insulation
– Thatch is versatile for irregular roof structures and allows for use of recycled materials
– Thatched houses are harder to insure due to perceived fire risk
Thatching is more expensive and labor-intensive compared to other roofing materials
– Thatched roofs in the UK typically have a maintenance cycle of 12-15 years

Thatching (Wikipedia)

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.

A thatched pub (The Williams Arms) at Wrafton, North Devon, England
Inside view of an Inca roof in one of the few reconstructed buildings of Machu Picchu
« Back to Glossary Index