After the most common question of “how much does it cost to thatch a roof?”, one of the questions we get asked the most is “how long will it take?” or “when can you start?”
Timing is one of the hardest things to predict in thatching. Obviously the great British weather doesn’t always give us a helping hand.
We work all year round (unfortunately not just the summer!) but it only takes a few big jobs to soon book the diary up. Thatching a whole roof will take a lot longer than tiling a roof as there is a lot more work involved. An average cottage will take 2 thatchers around 5 weeks to complete. Bear in mind that different people have different views on what is an average thatched cottage.
We only have one job on the go at any time, so you can rest assured that you will get our full attention until completion. Because of this we cannot give an exact start date until nearer the time. If we have to leave the job for a day it is generally an emergency to repair a leaky roof.
Most good thatchers will be booked up for over a year, with some booked up for over 3 years. You will be lucky to get a good thatcher to complete a re-thatch in the same year of their first visit. As always, do your research before choosing a thatcher.
Ever since starting this job at the old Ovaltine Farm in Abbots Langley, near Watford, I have wondered if it is the biggest thatched building in the country. It is certainly the biggest I know of, and no other thatcher I have spoken to knows of a bigger one.
If you know of a thached property bigger than this, I would love to hear from you.
This link shows you a photo of this impressive building from above:
Moss is becoming more of a problem on thatched properties recently. This is due to the change in the climate we are seeing. Years ago, you could depend on a solid four seasons, with harsh winters and hot summers. But, with this a particularly mild winter (how many times have you had to defrost the car in the mornings this year) and, unfortunately, rainy summers we now seem to get, conditions are ripe for moss growth.
However, moss doesn’t necessarily damage thatch. The lighter green moss (lichens) often indicates a healthy thatched roof underneath. The darker green moss does hold water in and can cause damage, but your roof could still be solid under the surface. As with any concern, contact a thatcher as each case is different. Indeed, you could cause more damage by removing the moss from your thatch. Even if the moss is removed, the roots are likely to remain, and the moss will grow again in a few years. Some sprays are available but have not had the test of time, and I would recommend putting as little chemicals on your thatch as possible.