For many, life beneath a thatched roof is the epitome of rural living, but misconceptions often deter buyers.

Maintenance and fire are the two most common concerns voiced by prospective buyers, but it is simply a matter of taking precautions and making sure you understand and take steps to minimise the potential risks involved.

A new thatched roof should last between 15-35 years, depending on the type and quality of materials used, whilst maintenance on a typical three to four-bedroomed home will usually include replacing the ridge every 10-15 years.

While thatched roof homes are no more likely to catch fire than homes with a conventional roof, it is important to remember that if they do ignite the fire is very difficult to control and the results can be devastating with some buildings being partially or totally destroyed.

As many thatch fires relate to chimneys and the use of woodburning stoves, making sure your chimney is swept and inspected on a regular basis and that it is appropriately lined can all help to reduce the fire risk.

Finding and maintaining your perfect thatch:

  • Take time to stand and look at the condition of the thatch
  • If fixings are exposed it could indicate it is nearing, or is at the end of its life
  • If gullies are appearing (vertical, deep patches of rot) these will require the attention of an experienced thatcher
  • Wet patches on the eaves could indicate the thatch is leaking
  • If the roof is covered in heavy moss, it could mean that the thatch is unable to breathe and is therefore unable to dry out properly
  • Although a high quality ridge will only need replacing every 10-15 years, a poor quality ridge may only last 5-7 years. Sometimes, however, the ridge may look shabby, whilst still serving its purpose of keeping water out.

Homeowners or potential buyers who are unsure about the condition of a thatched roof should talk to a local thatcher. There is a ‘Find a Thatcher’ facility on the website of the National Society of Master Thatchers