Can any roof be thatched?
No. To thatch a house the pitch of the roof should be no less than 45 degrees otherwise the water would penetrate backwards and the life span would make it non commercially viable.

Do pests affect thatched roofs?
Yes. Unfortunately thatch can suffer from rats, mice and squirrels. Like most things, prevention is better than cure. Long Straw and Wheat Reed roofs are covered in galvanised wire netting. The wire is joined together ensuring no gaps, then is tacked under the eave leaving no holes for the vermin to intrude. With Water Reed, only the ridge is protected by wire netting.

How is the thatch attached to the roof?
There are several ways to secure thatch to a roof:

Spars and string.
" steel rod and spikes driven into rafters.
" steel rod and screw fixings screwed into rafters or battens.

Spars are made from Hazel wood split and sharpened each end by hand. The spikes vary in length from 6" - 22".

How far do you travel?
I normally work within 50 miles of Cambridge or in travelling time, 1.5 hours. I’m prepared to travel if the work is there. That said, there are no hard and fast rules so please contact me regardless.

Finally, how much does it cost to thatch a roof?
Each job is different. Please contact me and I will gladly give a free no obligation quote along with my professional advice throughout.


On average, how long does a thatched roof last?
The life span of a thatched roof depends on a number of things; the materials used, roof pitch, house elevation, over-hanging trees, house location, the style and shape of the thatched roof i.e. valleys, windows, gables, hips, the length of the roof from top to bottom. All these factors affect the life span of a thatched house. The quality of the workmanship is also a major factor! On average the following should last:

Water Reed: 40-50 years
Wheat Reed: 25-40 years
Long Straw: 20-30 years
New Re-ridge: 10-15 years

Is thatching a dying trade?
There are over 1,500 Thatcher’s nationwide so thatching itself isn’t a dying trade. However, the length of time it takes to train an apprentice is 5-7 years so it’s more a question of how many Thatcher’s last the course or want to take up a long apprenticeship.

How long does it take to thatch a roof?
On average a 1000sq foot roof can take between 3-5 weeks depending on the shape and style of the house.

What do you thatch a roof with?
Long Straw, Wheat Reed and Water Reed.

Is thatch more expensive than conventional tiles or slates?
Predominantly yes, thatching is a unique craft. Everyone loves a newly thatched house so prices are nearly always at the top of the roofing sector compared to tiled or slated houses.

General questions about thatched roofs

jeff helme thatching services ltd

website by : recolo design

Questions to ask your thatcher

1) Do they belong to any of these trade organisations?
National Society of Master Thatcher’s Ltd, East Midlands Master Thatcher’s Association

2) Can they provide references, or are they happy for you to contact past clients?

3) Do they offer any sort of guarantee?

4) Do they give you a choice of ridge design? (if appropriate)

5) Do they totally strip off the ridge, or just put a thin covering over the top with new wood to make it look totally new?

6) How long is the waiting list?

7) How long have they been in business?

8) Do you get the same person to deal with throughout work?

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