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How is VIVA Engineered Thatch Palm Installed?

VIVA engineered thatch is a perfect solution for nearly all roofing needs, offering high insulation, weather, fire, pest resistance, and a long lifespan. Whether completed through a commercial installation or DIY project, the installation process is easy and straightforward. 

This article describes the installation process, including all the materials and tools you’ll need and what to expect with your VIVA engineered thatch system. The guide will be based on an open wood structure as a roofing frame, representing the most common situations for installing engineered thatch. Fortunately, it’s not just all work with no play. We trust that after knowing more about how engineered thatch is installed, you can sooner have the peace and comfort you’re investing in. 

Required Materials and Tools

Installation materials and tools you may need: 

  • Roofing nails (regular coil; stainless steel; 1.25”)
  • Nail gun 
  • Heat gun
  • Knife/ box cutter/ razor cutter
  • Work gloves
  • Ladder that can reach at least 2 feet above the top of the roof frame.
  • Optional: Roofing screws (stainless steel; 1.25”) and electric drill

VIVA Engineered Thatch System Components 

The VIVA engineered thatch system consists of two pieces: 

  • Field shingles
  • Hip and ridge shingles

1. Decking/ Roofing Base

Ensure the decking and roofing base is free of debris, trash, or impurities. If the base and frame are not cleaned correctly, the shingles may not adhere effectively, creating other repercussions that may hinder the roof’s effectiveness. 

2. Unbox Field Shingles

Unbox your VIVA engineered thatch shingles and loosen the rough edge for the most natural appearance. Brushing the rough edge back and forth on a clean surface is an effective way to loosen the edge of the thatch shingles. 

3. Fold Flat Edge

Fold the flat edge of each thatch shingle at the seam. It should be folded underneath or onto the bottom-facing surface of the shingle. 

4. Identify Nail Targets

The top face of the thatch shingle has nail indentations along the flat edge. There are 6 of these nail indentations per field shingle, and they will be where you drive nails through into the wood frame below. 

5. Align Thatch to Frame

Place the first thatch shingle on the roof frame, starting at the second purlin from the bottom. Ensure the full length of the bottom-most purlin is covered by the shingle. Nail the shingle into place, using the nail indentations as guidance.  

Add more shingles horizontally, with each subsequent shingle overlapping the previous one by a minimum of two inches. 

Once one row of shingles is completed, lay another row just beneath it by about 6 inches. This second row should have joints offset from the previous layer, and each shingle should have slight variances to their alignment to add a more natural look. 

And a final row of thatch shingles in the exact same placement (vertically) as the first row with offset joints. Altogether, there should be three rows, with the middle sandwiched between the others. Don’t forget to allow 2 inches of overlap between shingles that are adjacent to one another!

Finish this first section by cutting off any length of shingle that extends beyond the frame’s side but leaving the bottom fringe portion of the thatch shingle to hang. 

6. Complete First Row

Following step 5 above, continue placing the first row of thatch shingles around all 4 sides of the roof frame. 

7. The Next Purlin Up 

After completing the first row (along the four sides but not the corner hips), proceed to the next purlin up (vertically). This purlin and every row going forward will be a simple one-row course of shingles rather than the three layers described in steps 5 and 6. Nail each field shingle into place along its respective purlin with the nail indentations as guidance, but the leftmost nail of each shingle should be driven into the purlin of the previous layer one row down. Cut off the excess ~8 inches on each end of a row in line with the shape and slope of the frame. Cutting 3 inches over the centerline usually gives the best results. 

Once a row of thatch shingles has been installed on the topmost purlin, add one final layer nailed into the top purlin but at the middle point of the shingle so that the top hangs up and above the purlin. Simply cut off the top, flat portion of the shingle hanging over the purlin, and the result should be a seamless transition without the flat portions of the shingles showing. 

Complete this exact process again on each of the four sides of the roof frame. If there is an inverted corner, simply fold a field shingle in the transition and cut the flat edge to match the shape of the frame purlin. 

8. Install Hip Shingles

Hip shingles require a bit of finesse to install successfully. A hip shingle should be installed vertically on each corner of every row. Place a hip shingle underneath the field shingles on either side and add additional hip shingles to retain the best shape and volume of the thatch roof. Low-sloped roofs may require fewer hip shingles, while steep slopes will require additional hip shingles to retain volume on the corners of the bottom row. 

Nail hip shingles into the frame. Start from the bottom row of shingles and work vertically for each of the four corners. 

9. Gable Ends 

Approximately 6 inches should be left on the field shingles reaching the edge of a gable. This edge is wrapped underneath the main cross-length of the roof frame and nailed into place. Cut the edges to an appropriate length and manipulate the shingles closest to the frame’s peak so that the shingles’ fringe hangs over any exposed frame. 

10. Ridge Shingles

From the gable end of a ridge, place and nail ridge thatch shingles along the top of the roof frame’s ridge. A new ridge shingle should be placed approximately every 8 inches along the ridge. 

11. Finishing Touches on Gable Corners

Ensure each corner, especially the gables, has enough cover from surrounding shingles and looks settled and natural. Sometimes, it’s helpful to use a heat gun to help you manipulate the lay of various shingles and their fringes – corners tend to stick away from the roof, but a heat gun will help them relax. 

Enjoy Your Brand New Engineered Thatch Roof

Now that you’ve been able to install your new engineered thatch roof, all that’s left is for you to enjoy the fruits of your investment! VIVA engineered thatch roof brings all the traditional charm and insulation effectiveness of natural thatch and blends it with modern science, longevity, and durability. 
Watch our tutorial video if you’d like to see an installation in action, or if you still have questions, contact the professionals at Endureed today!