Winter is here, but before you ‘batten down the hatches’ have you checked your roof? If you own a thatched property enlisting the help of a professional thatcher to check the structure and thatch on your roof during winter is essential.
Does re-roofing require listed building consent?
If your property is listed you might need permission from your Local Planning Authority to repair or restructure the roof. It’s best to err on the side of caution when owning a listed building, and advised that you consult your conservation officer before starting roof repairs.
There are various factors to consider when owning a house with a thatched roof. The following checklist can offer guidance as to what to what to look out for.
Discolouration & Cavities
Look out for holes, dents, and discolouration in the thatch. Even a small gap, a dip in the thatch or subtle changes in colour can be signs of potentially larger problems. If there is a hole it can be ‘patched’ with the same material as the rest of the roof providing there are no underlying issues with the roof that is causing the hole to appear.
Check the roof netting!
Birds and rodents can access the roof under loose netting and burrow into the thatch which can cause underlying issues with the integrity of the thatch and sometimes the structure. In addition, leaves can get trapped between the loose wire and the roof. An experienced thatcher can secure the netting so that it sits flush to the roof itself.
Most thatch ridges will need replacing every 10-15 years. Indications that the ridge may need repairing or replacing include raised netting or fixings left in place after the thatch has worn away or degraded.1 It is worth noting however, that missing thatch from the ridge doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem with the ridge structure, but it is worth checking this with a thatcher.
If the ridge does need repairing or replacing, the ridge thatch is usually stripped back to the base layer and new thatch reapplied so that it sits securely in the ridge frame.
Lead or cement flashings act as waterproof seals under windows or between the thatch and chimney. Flashings are also used in the roof ‘valleys’ as added protection between the roof and the walls where water runs down, and in areas where thatch could wear away more rapidly. Check for cracks if your house has cement flashings – often found on listed buildings.
Moss & Lichen
Moss and lichen may need to be removed from your thatched roof, but in some cases it might be better to leave it in place as removing it can affect the structure of the roof. A professional thatcher will be able to make an informed decision around this.
If you have a bird guard, check that it’s safely secured. Be aware of signs around mortar wearing away and make sure the brickwork of the chimney stack is in place. Enlist the services of a professional chimney sweep as your thatched property insurance will require you to have your chimney swept regularly, although the frequency may vary between insurers.
Make sure your thatched home insurance is up to date, as cold weather, rain, storms and snow can damage even the most well-maintained property.
If you’d like to check, review or update your insurance policy, please don’t hesitate to contact our team.
What matters to you, matters to us
- 1. https://www.thatchadvicecentre.co.uk/thatch-information/care-thatch/maintenance#:~:text=Generally%20the%20ridge%20of%20the,drying%20it%20or%20rain%20dispersing
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