The Issues with Thatched Roofing

Although on the decline, thatched roofs are still a familiar sight in many typical English country villages.

Conjuring a sense of the quaint, in the right circumstances they can provide a pretty aesthetic, turning any home into a postcard-ready image of rural life. However, outside of looks, thatched roofing does not offer many other advantages, and in the majority of cases can cause a number of issues…


Perhaps the most common and obvious problem with thatched roofing is the potential for leaks. These can come from all areas of the roof, including the ridge, valleys and corners.

  • Valleys: As the areas where two thatched sections are joined tend to bear the majority weight of rain and strong weather, leaks commonly begin to appear after a year or two. Their structural layout means they take far longer to dry than other sections of the roof.
  • Ridge: Often referred to as the ‘capping’, the ridging is another common spot for leaks to occur. Capping is generally made from cement, which will almost always crack if it hasn’t been laid with expansion joints present.
  • Corners: The trickiest bit of the roof for a thatcher to get right is the cornering. Often, these sections will be too thin, not giving the corner sufficient strength to withstand high winds and rain.


Ensuring that a thatched roof is watertight and weather resistant is a difficult task, and largely relies on effective compaction. This is the process of binding the thatch together tightly enough so as to increase its strength while reducing the oxygen that can flow through it (a fire hazard).

When compaction is performed incorrectly, a whole range of problems can occur, including rotting, leaking, wind damage and much more.


You shouldn’t even come close to considering thatched roofing on your property without carefully checking that you have the correct insurance.

It may not surprise you to learn that insurance rates are considerably higher for thatched roofs than they are with other, less precarious materials – sometimes up to three times as much!

This is mainly due to the fire risk that thatched roofs pose, particularly during dry winters when fires are lit in the homes below. With no dampness to temper the flames, a thatch fire can spread across the entire roof extremely rapidly.

Contents damage due to water ingress from leaks is also another factor in driving up home insurance premiums.

Animal Damage

When thatched roofs are built from grain straw, small traces of food may still be present – an instant attraction for mice, rats and birds. This obviously creates a big problem for the roof, as holes can form due to these animals nibbling away.

Morgan Asphalte are one of the leading suppliers, installers and repairers of asphalt, felt, slate, tiled, lead, liquid, aluminium and single ply roofing in the London and wider South East regions.

Fully accredited, and with over 45 years of experience in the industry, you can rely on Morgan Asphalte for the highest quality products and services every time. Get in touch today for more information.

Posted on 23 September 2014 in Roofing.

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