Pros and Cons of Thatched Roofs

Last Updated on May 22, 2023 by Lily Connel

Thatched roofs offer aesthetic appeal, cultural significance, natural insulation, and environmental sustainability. They contribute to a unique and charming appearance, preserve tradition, regulate temperature, and have a low carbon footprint. However, there are drawbacks. Thatched roofs are prone to fire and require regular maintenance. They have a shorter lifespan, attracting pests and necessitating pest control.

What are thatched roofs?

Thatched roofs have been around for thousands of years, and they are still used today on both commercial and residential buildings. Thatch is a sustainable resource and a natural insulator, which can keep a house cool in summer and warm in winter. Additionally, thatched properties add value to homes, and they can raise the selling price of a house. Although people think that thatched roofs are less durable, some types of thatch can last up to 65 years with proper care.

  • Thatching is known to be a labor-intensive process, and getting a thatched roof installed can take a few weeks. The process is priced according to the size of the property, and some factors that need to be taken into consideration are the shape and design of the roof and the thickness of thatch that is required. After the installation, homeowners will need to give their roofs regular inspections to prevent leaks and animal nesting among other issues.
  • One of the biggest concerns with thatched roofs is the risk of fire, and although they are not more likely to catch fire than a regular roof, if they do, the damage can be more significant. Homeowners can reduce this risk by using fire retardant sprays for their thatch roofs and installing chimney heat alarms. Not all home insurance providers cover thatched roofs, so it is essential to check the details of a policy carefully, and homeowners may need to find a specialist thatched roofing provider.

The Pros of Thatched Roofs

  • The roofs may not be the most popular choice, but they have several advantages. Firstly, they add value to your home and can increase the selling price of your house. In fact, many of the thatched properties across the UK are listed. Thatched roofs are also incredibly durable, with water reeds having a lifespan of up to 40 years, and the correct care and attention can extend this further.
  • Further, thatch is a natural insulator that keeps your house cool in summer and warm in winter. This will help you save money on heating bills, and as a sustainable resource, thatching is environmentally friendly. Thatch is also flexible and can be shaped into cool designs and patterns on ridge and edges.
  • It’s essential to take some precautions while installing and maintaining the thatched roof. If not maintained, leaks are the most common problem that can cause issues deep into the thatch. Safeguarding your home against fire is also critical. For example, ensure that your chimney is correctly insulated and has a fire board set before the thatch.
  • Getting a thatched roof initially installed is a labor-intensive process that takes a few weeks, and the pricing depends on the size of your property. A thatcher must consider the shape and design of the roof and the required thickness of the thatch. Regular inspections are also necessary to check the overall condition of the thatch.

Overall, thatched roofs have their benefits and drawbacks as with any roofing material. It is essential to understand both the pros and cons to make an informed decision. Thatched roofs are aesthetically pleasing and flexible, and with the correct maintenance will last for years to come.

The Cons of Thatched Roofs

The roofs have their fair share of advantages, but they also come with some disadvantages that homeowners should consider before installing one. Here are some cons of thatched roofs:

  • Fire hazard: Although thatched roofs are not more likely to catch fire than regular roofs, if a fire starts, it can spread rapidly and cause significant damage. Homeowners need to take extra precautions such as using fire-retardant sprays and installing chimney heat alarms to minimize the risk of fire.
  • Maintenance: Thatched roofs require regular inspection and maintenance, as leaks and wear and tear can cause serious damage if not addressed promptly. The ridge cap, in particular, may need regular maintenance and repair due to its constant exposure to the elements.
  • Cost: Installing a thatched roof is a labor-intensive process and can take several weeks to complete. Homeowners should expect to pay a higher price for thatched roofs, especially for larger properties. However, it is important to choose a reputable thatcher to ensure the quality of the work.
  • Safety precautions: Homeowners need to take additional safety precautions when living in a thatched property. Overhanging branches should be cut down to prevent moisture build-up, lightning rods should be installed, and pests should be deterred using special treatments.
  • Lifespan: Although thatched roofs can last up to 65 years, there are variations in lifespan depending on the material used. Water reed is the most durable material, while long straw has the shortest lifespan. Homeowners should take this factor into consideration when choosing the material for their thatched roof.


The roofs have a long history and have been a part of human settlements for centuries. They have endured the test of time and proved their durability and sustainability. With the recent focus on eco-friendly and sustainable materials, thatched roofing has seen a resurgence in popularity. However, like any roofing material, there are both pros and cons to consider before making a decision.