How Long Does A Thatched Roof Last?

thatch roof repairs

How Long Does A Thatched Roof Last?

Thatched roofs have been around for centuries and have become an iconic image frequently seen dotting rural landscapes. There’s a lot to be said for thatching, and many desire it for its olde-worlde qualities which hark back to a time before tiles, slate, and felt. But, despite this method being hundreds of years old, it is still the preferred choice of many even today.

But why is this? Why do so many still choose to construct their roofs using a method that is centuries old? And how long does a thatched roof last? Our hope is to provide some answers for these questions so you can see for yourself why thatched roofs are still an excellent choice; even in 2019.


Water vs Wheat

To the uninitiated, all thatched roofs look the same, but the trained eye can tell you that they aren’t all made using the same material. Thatched roofs can be built using either water or wheat reed and, depending on which type is used, the lifespan of the roof will differ.


Water Reed

Water reed is a heavy duty variant and roofs made using this material are designed to stand the test of time. Imported from countries like Turkey, Romania, and Hungary, water reed is a material commonly used for a wide variety of roofing assignments. When installed correctly by a team of professionals away from overhanging trees, and maintained regularly, a water reed installation can last anywhere from 25-45 years.


Wheat Reed

By comparison, wheat reed is virtually indistinguishable from water reed – visually. This is where the similarities end as wheat reed is far more fragile and prone to rot than its more durable counterpart. In fact, a professionally installed wheat reed roof that is maintained regularly can be expected to last anywhere from 15-25 years. Yet, despite this, wheat reed has been used widely for centuries as well.

The question is, why would you choose wheat over water reed? Often it’s wise to thatch using materials grown locally and this can sometimes be water and sometimes wheat reed. Wheat reed is great for those looking to construct a roof with a softer, more rounded appearance as this is more aesthetically pleasing. The method of installing wheat reed roofs is far gentler, and the material weighs less than water reed, placing far less strain on older structures.

At RV Miller, we thatch using both materials and are happy to advise our customers on the right material to suit their requirements. So now you have the answer to the question “how long does a thatched roof last?” you’re probably wondering why you should opt for one at all.


What are the Benefits of a Thatched Roof?

Nowadays, people are all about lowering their carbon footprint while saving money on their energy bills. The beauty of thatching is that it naturally insulates, keeping a property warm in the winter and cool in the summer. You won’t even need to install additional insulating materials to compensate. If your property is situated in a rural location, a thatched roof will also blend in seamlessly.

In stark contrast to the bold colours and textures of tiles and slates, thatch actually changes colour as it ages, becoming darker, creating a sense of harmony with the surrounding environment. Plus, a thatched roof can be designed and shaped in a way that is far more natural looking than man-made alternatives, eliminating hard edges and straight lines.

Thatched roofs are a fantastic option for those concerned about the environment. The material is naturally grown and harvested using almost no machinery. The installation itself, while intensive, is carried out using locally sourced materials which, in turn, helps local communities. As well as great thermal insulating properties, thatched roofs also offer amazing weather resistance and soundproofing qualities too.

How Long Does A Thatched Roof Last?

Such a roof can withstand even strong gale force winds and rarely do they ever leak. Usually, if a leak is observed, this is an indication of a damaged or broken wooden spar. It may also be a result of prolonged dry weather, though such issues usually “self-heal” without any intervention. Plus, thanks to the waterproofing spray provided by RV Miller, your thatching will also be protected from:


  • Mould
  • Moss
  • Algae
  • Rotting
  • Slime


The coating uses nanotechnology and is designed to impregnate all types of reed. It is water-based, completely organic, biodegradable, non-flammable, and non-toxic. So, how long does a thatched roof last? A long time, and even longer when you choose RV Miller. If you have any questions or would like to inquire about our services, call our team today on 01929 462465.

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