Thatched roof safety

Thatched roof fires

Thatched properties conjure up images of times gone by and quintessentially English country cottages. They are certainly beautiful and picturesque, but they do require a little more attention than your average tiled roof.

You need to be extra strict about fire safety, keep on top of maintaining it and beware of any animal visitors that might want to live in the thatch.

To find out how to care for a thatched roof to keep it in excellent condition and looking its best, have a read through our guide.

Chimney care

Looking after the chimney may not be high on most homeowners' priority lists, but those lucky enough to have a thatched roof need to treat theirs with a little extra care.

Ideally, chimney tops should sit two metres above the thatch to allow sparks time to die out before they reach the roof.

Chimneys on these types of roof need to be lined with pumice, clay, ceramic or concrete and need filling with rockwool to reduce the amount of heat that transfers through the brickwork of your home.

This will decrease the risk of your thatched roof catching fire, making your home safer and providing you with peace of mind.

You may think chimney sweeps are a thing of the past, but employing a specialist to regularly give yours a thorough clean will also reduce the risk of fire.

Fire safety

It's not just with your chimney that you need to exercise fire safety, you need to be careful around the rest of your home too.

For those with wood burning stoves, you must only light hardwoods that have matured for at least two years and have less than 20 percent moisture.

Burning wet wood can result in flammable bits of tar entering the flue and causing damage.

When burning wood, you can check the flue temperature by using a special thermometer to make sure it isn't too hot when passing your thatched roof.

Remember to ensure fires and stoves have been put out before you go out or go to bed and never burn paper in a stove when the doors are open.

As fires can sometimes be unavoidable and extreme weather can inflict damage on a thatched roof too, it's important that you invest in home insurance. This will cover you for repair costs, meaning you won't be left out of pocket should you find yourself with a thatch-related crisis on your hands.

General maintenance

While you may have better things to do than scrutinise your roof, it's important to check your thatch regularly to make sure it's in good condition.

Look out for wear around the chimney as this can contribute to fire risk and keep your eye on patches that appear darker than others as these could indicate that the thatch is leaking or beginning to rot.

To ensure any repairs are done to the highest standard, call in a professional thatcher, but double check to make sure any equipment they use isn't going to cause further damage to your roof.

Animal visitors

Just like thatch keeps your property lovely and warm, it can provide a cosy shelter for animals such as mice, squirrels and birds.
They can make holes in the thatch, which can cause damage, so call in an expert if you're worried about any furry or feathery visitors.


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