Thatched house with plants growing up the wall


Thatched roofs - Dos and Don'ts

Information and advice when using an open fire, wood burning or multifuel appliance.


  • Keep all working chimneys tops ideally at least 1.8m above the thatch, allowing sparks to escape and die out before they settle on the thatch. The deeper the thatch is around the chimney, the greater the possibility of a fire occurring.
  • Ensure a professional chimney-sweep sweeps all chimneys, always before the first fire of the season, and again if the chimney is used frequently during the winter period.
  • Have your chimney inspected to ensure that the brick or stonework is in good condition, especially where it passes through the thatch to ensure that the flue is in good condition. This may require an internal inspection of the chimney with Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) equipment.
  • Manage the flue temperature by fitting a flue thermometer. This will tell you the temperature of the flue gases leaving the stove and give you an indication of what the temperature might be further up in the flue where the chimney is adjacent to the thatch.
  • Use hard woods that are seasoned and have 20% moisture content or less.


  • Burn paper in the appliance with the doors open or use inappropriate accelerants.
  • Burn wet or unseasoned wood, as this will leave tar deposits in the flue.
  • Fit spark arrestors to chimneys. Research has shown that few thatch fires are started from sparks however, a blocked spark arrestor can slow flue gases leaving the chimney and build up the heat in the flue. If you do have spark arrestors, then these must be cleaned every year after the summer period before you use the chimney to ensure all tar deposits and any blockages have been removed.