aging natural thatched roof with damage and moss

6 Common Problems With Aging Natural Thatched Roofs

Natural thatch roofing has been used throughout human history for thousands of years due to the ease with which materials can be acquired and its effectiveness in keeping buildings warm against the elements. Even though thatch roofing has evolved immensely in the modern age, namely through the development of engineered thatch roofing, regular thatch made of dried vegetation is still put into use throughout the world. 

Natural thatch certainly carries a timeless aesthetic charm, but is it the long-term solution for residences and commercial buildings seeking durability and safety? From the experts in thatch roofing and manufacturers of the industry-defining engineered thatch, here are six common problems with aging natural thatched roofs. 

Natural Thatch vs. Engineered Thatch

Whether you’re considering installing natural thatch for your property or you’re already a proud owner, it’s likely that you’re aware of the unique beauty offered by thatch. However, because of the natural degradation, it will eventually reach the stage where it requires complete rethatching. Weather takes a significant toll over time, and it is particularly susceptible to risks such as fire and pests, but for those of you who are dead set on thatch as the roofing material for your residential or commercial building, engineered thatch is a wonderful alternative.

Engineered thatch looks identical to natural thatch, but it is made of a proprietary blend of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) – the same material used in bulletproof vests – which makes it incredibly durable and long-lasting. In fact, engineered thatch comes with a 20-year warranty and is guaranteed to be fully fire, hurricane, precipitation, pest, and rot-resistant. If that wasn’t enough, engineered thatch is an environmentally friendly building material that is 100% recyclable. Its durability is only matched by its beauty as it comes in a variety of different colors and styles including Cape Town, Kilimanjaro, Somerset, Kona, and Bali themes. 

Common Problems with Aging Natural Thatch

We know that engineered thatch sounds ideal, but unfortunately, there are a lot of individuals who are unaware of the extensive downsides of investing in natural thatch. There are a plethora of problems that aging natural thatch roofing has, including: 

1. Rotting

Because natural thatch is made from natural vegetation such as palm leaves, rushes, grass, and reeds, it is susceptible to rotting over time. This is especially true in environments where there is significant precipitation or humidity, and it can be even worse if these periods of dampness are not interrupted by frequent sunshine. Natural thatch is bound to begin rotting quickly in these wet conditions, but all natural thatch will inevitably rot over time, even if conditions are ideal. 

2. Pests

Natural thatch is particularly attractive to pests. On one hand, the natural thatch is perfect for species that seek warm, dry places to nest such as mice, rats, birds, and snakes, but its composition makes it ideal for insects as well, including wood-boring beetles, ants, and spiders. 

The longer that a natural thatch roof is installed and unmaintained, the likelihood of pests thriving in the thatch increases. 

3. Thinning and Poor Compaction

Natural thatch can become thin and badly compacted through years of incorrect maintenance procedures – i.e., not filling and re-compacting the thatch during the “combing” process. Once the wire stays are visible from the outside, leaking is likely to occur. Unfortunately, this is a constant battle for owners with natural thatch roofs as continual maintenance is required. 

4. Moss and Debris

In relation to the above point, aging thatch is very likely to accumulate moss and debris over time, especially if it isn’t maintained properly. Unfortunately, moss and debris can become a safety hazard, and if left untreated, it accelerates how quickly natural thatch needs to be replaced. 

5. Increased Risk of Fire

Perhaps the biggest problem that natural thatch faces is its significant fire risk. Composed of dry vegetation, it’s all too easy for natural thatch to catch fire from a lightning strike or indoor fires. For residential and commercial buildings alike, one of the most important safety factors is the roof structure – brand new and aging natural thatch, unfortunately, compromises this safety. 

6. Aesthetic Degradation

Last but not least, aging natural thatch will undoubtedly lose its aesthetic value over time. When natural thatch is initially installed, it will have beautiful and even vibrant hues of tan; however, this color will quickly fade to shades of gray as it begins to age. 

Invest in Premium Engineered Thatch

There are significant problems that natural thatch faces as it begins to age. At best, it begins to lose its aesthetic charm and at worst it becomes dangerous to the property and the people within. Fortunately for people who love the appearance of natural thatch, you don’t have to compromise! Engineered thatch retains the natural look of thatch but is built to be one of the safest, strongest, and most durable roofing materials in the industry. Don’t lose peace of mind wrestling with natural thatch; invest in the highest quality engineered thatch today!