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Dos & Don’ts of Thatch Cottages

Always remember that you will require listed building consent to re-thatch a property in a conservation area or a listed property in a different style or thatching material. If the current thatch on a property is suspected or discovered having been altered without the seeking of the appropriate consent it is critical to ensure that the local planning authority agrees with the change. Otherwise, you can be prompted by the local authority to reinstate the original material and can face potential criminal prosecution if found guilty.

Roof Frame

Never assume that just because your thatched property’s roof frame seems flimsy that it requires replacement or major repairs. It is quite common to have thatched properties with simple roof structures comprising of no more than rafter frames and purlins that have performed to satisfaction for a long period. Inappropriately qualified and experienced professionals condemn the basic roof structure too many thatched roofs thereby leaving them stripped and re-covered completely. Simple strengthening and repair can often ensure the retention of the current roof structure thus eliminating the need for a total re-thatch and the financial implications it comes with.


Never assume that is necessarily expensive to get thatch roof insurance. If you choose to go for an insurer without experience or background of thatch, the premiums they quote will most likely be excessive. Luckily, there are several specialist insurance companies that specialize in thatched properties and offer competitive premiums based on real risks as opposed to inaccurate assumptions. For more information about specialist insurance, see the insurance pages on this website.

Choosing a Thatcher

Always remember that to acquire the title of ‘Master’ you will need no specific assessment of the thatcher’s ability and does not imply any specific skill level. Anybody in the thatch industry can refer to themselves as ‘Master Thatcher since it indicates that the thatcher is an independent craftsman.


Ensure that you always get several quotations for any thatching work that may be required and always keep in mind that the best of thatchers will sometimes be booked months or even years in advance. Those that own long straw roofs can maintain their thatch through strategic repairs until the thatcher is ready to do the job. In fact, some thatchers offer general maintenance schemes where they inspect your thatch annually and make any necessary reapers. Spotting areas of concern early enough will help you prolong the life of your thatched for a long time and save you a lot of money.


Ensure that you get a surveyor or architect to discuss any plan of extending your thatched property with the thatcher to make sure that any roofing alterations that you intend to have thatched are suitable for thatching. Ensure that your designs are simple and consider using alternative materials in the areas of excessive wear e.g. porches under low pitched dormer windows  or main eaves roof.

Ensure that you obtain an independent survey of the condition of the thatch on the property that you plan to purchase from an individual who does not have vested interest in any potential financial outlay because of the survey.

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