For many home owners, switching out a conventional roof for a thatched straw roof is very desirable. And, indeed, there are many advantages to having a thatched roof — hence why thatched roofs have been constructed for centuries. They can give an old world look to your home that blends in perfectly with rural surroundings. And thatched roofs are also naturally insulating so they will keep you warm in the wintertime and cool in the summer.
But before you make the plunge and hire a roofer to construct the thatched roof you have always dreamed about, there are some unique considerations for thatched roofs that should be kept in mind.
It can be a fire hazard
With any dry material like straw with a large surface area, fire can be a major problem. If a spark gets hold of an untreated thatched roof, it will spread very quickly indeed. And this is something to bear in mind in Australia above many other places because of the risk of forest fires. Australia's bushfire weather continues to worsen, and for owners of straw roofs, this can be a huge problem.
Fortunately, there are ways of fireproofing a roof, so it is essential that you are proactive in arranging this. Fire-retardant and intumescent chemicals will form a protective layer over thatched straw that prevents it from setting alight.
It's more expensive than other roofing options
Thatched roofs were once the roofing option for poorer people, but now the tables have turned and thatched roofs tend to be more expensive. This is because they are less common, and you will have to lean on specialist thatch roofing skills to achieve the effect you desire.
You will also need to invest in roof repairs more often than with other roof options, not only to get lodged debris out of the straw, but also to retighten the thatch in order for it to remain waterproof.
Also, because of the aforementioned fire risk that thatched roofs can present, you'll also pay a premium for roof insurance when you opt for a thatch.
It might experience bird damage
Birds will love your thatched roof just as much as you do, and this is bad news because they could potentially peck at it until it is bare.
There are a couple of ways of combating this problem. You can put a wire mesh over the thatch, although this could reduce the aesthetic appeal of your beautiful straw roof, and you can try to make sure that your roof isn't a thoroughfare by pruning or completely removing trees that are close to your roof.