Roof plane, Ridging cap, Overhangs, Thatch thickness & Chimney

What to look for on a “Roof plane” on thatched roofs

Thatch roof planes are the areas where the roof covers the most area of a roof from one corner to another corner or valley where it changes the [pitch of that particular section] of the roof.

Roof planes during construction of a roof become somewhat easier for the thatchers since they can work on an area without obstructions such as corners or valleys so work becomes uninterrupted from this point of view.

The overall finish of this sections give a proper appeal to the work quality of a thatching company and it should be flat and without a variance of swelled nor shallow areas for a newly built thatch roof and free from bumps or dents on an aged roof. As your thatch ages, pockets of damped and decayed thatch will form and will fall down off the roof when it rains and winds get to it leaving behind the whole of where the grass was once upon the time.

Visual observation can be seen by identifying grass lines coming down in the same direction, hips and overhangs should be free of “bulges” and “camel backs” which also gives a clear indication of a consistent thatch thickness which is easily seen if your looking for it.

By inspecting your roof from the above description you will then be able to determine whether your roof is in need of maintenance or recall your newly built roof. You will get the whole picture easily by viewing it from a reasonable distance.

thatch of old
OverThatch image

Eaves corners and Overhangs on thatched roofs

Much of the above said article relating to “roof Planes” includes in this section also.

Eaves corners tend to loose grass due to [wind and weather conditions] so it is good to keep them always in check.

What is Thatch Overhangs ?

Be sure to check the Overhangs on thatch roof. Making sure that they are free from birds nests, bees, bats and mice infestations. Thatched overhangs tend to bend inwards with age since their overhanging although usually only about 300mm should remain stiff depending on construction technique used during building phase.

Thatched houses where cape reed grass were used on the exterior surpass longevity over the ones where highveld grass was used due to their vine type and rigidity. Pros and cons well worth considering.

Any other unexpected surprises are common to find in thatched houses. After all thatch houses are pretty much built of natural building materials meaning nature exists in it!

Why is thatch thickness important?

Thatch thickness has always been a sensitive subject among contractors and thatch owners and some miss conceptions were able to take foothold over time. TASA and other [Guide lines of good Practices of Thatching] house hold entities indicate a time period and rationale table for when roofs are to be over thatched or add an additional one. These are guide lines and choices become the gap in the build between the contractor and home owners! thus creating the confusion and g a p in the thatch market. So it means you can build according to the given table or you can opt for a fat and original layer. Both are very feasible though some studies have been put in the CSIR guide lines thus making it more credible. Bottom line, is you want a thick layer which is what makes your roof more or less comfortable which in part makes it more colder or warmer.

For a house build you can negotiate thatch thickness with your contractor though for an entertainment area lapa you would rather stick to a thick ‘ish layer.

why is thatch thickness that important

For our purposes of [Thatch Inspection] we would want to make note on the thatch thickness as this is always a clear indication of your starting point.
Taking in consideration in an average that every 5 to 7 years will need revisiting and meaning that eventually you will be coming closer to an overlay time. This may be costly so saving up early is always a good idea.

Fixing your “ridging cap” or concreted thatch ridge

It may be that you have a preference for some particular type even though they all have their pros and cons so you can in fact go with the flow to what is used in your area. Thatch Ridges can be made of concrete which if not properly done can crack every now and then. Fiberglass is also acceptable but if too thin it won’t stand wind test and are prone to fading so painting becomes an added maintenance. Thatched woven type is very stylish though it requires lots of maintenance.

[Repairs to either] of the ones above described can be costly to replace so keeping an eye on it can save some expenses. Cheaper repairs like patching can also work to cover up small cracks and do a fine job.

How to look for “chimney condition” and its maintenance

If you have a chimney or more than one also do inspect it. Though most
times they are quite high making it difficult to reach a quick look to
areas where the brick meets the thatch will give straight away an
indication and a need of a closer look. Providing they were correctly
built and are high enough from starts they biggest problem is mainly
leaking water at the joints. Chimneys that are correctly fitted have
an arrestor closer to its tip and are built at least 1m radius clearance from the roof, the higher the better.

It is imperative that they are checked every time as to avoid blockages leading to fire hazards. Also if fitted with a wind direction rotating cowl ensure its operational. And as a last tip do make get into a habit of having it cleaned for at least once every 10 years, yes inside clean.

If you were fitted with a flue type for some braai box do lake sure the galvanised section of the flue is not touching and not in close approximation to any thatch. Have it insulated with bricks, flashing, fire emulsion blankets or something that will protect it from heat so when you go to sleep after a heavy night you don’t awake at at heating disaster.

We service all areas in the Gauteng and nearby areas. For any thatch work areas contact us at on the following link.

Find our form in the link below to request a quotation or speak to a consultant ..

blog content by P.Filipe

Thatch Footline

In some parts of South Africa also referred to as Footlaag.. but pretty much the end of your thatch roof and also referred as eaves.

what to look for in your thatch Thatch Footline ?

Footline gives a straight indication that your roof is in need of maintenance. Having them in a near “perfect straight line” it gives first impression to any house or lapa.

In other cases thatch rooflines are curved and form different odd lines that makes thatched houses so much more appealing.

Footlining work is a time consuming job since it requires the thatcher to pull the grass ends out of line so it can be hit or re-compacted back to one new original level line.

Thatch roof foot lines
ps: notice this Lapas’ roof footlines

Doing this can be easier said than done as this work entails hit back continuously at at particular height requiring the most stamina out of any thatcher where experience plays another great role.

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We service all areas in the Gauteng and nearby areas. For any thatch work areas contact us at on the following link.

Find our form in the link below to request a quotation or speak to a consultant .. for thatch repairs in Gauteng:

Loose wires on your Thatch

During your walk around your thatch house look out for loose wires hanging out or when they are clearly visible in the roof plane. When these happens is clear sign that thickness of your roof is been compromised and needs filling up to make it back to its original thickness.

The purpose of these wires are to cross tie the grass bundles during [construction phase]. Other materials used to achieve the same purpose can include natural products such as cape reed which are also commonly used and acceptable.

Repairs to this issue include filling it up with new fresh grass and in most aggravated cases re-thatch or overlay may be required to get it back to acceptable conditions.

Providing you have a thatcher of your trust advice on the repair can be quite tricky to get to grips and choice of repair. Usually which ever advice or choice given do make sure you are provided with an alternative to compensate your budget expenditure.

Be sure to check back in our next edition when we chat about Thatch Footline.

Thatch of the day
Thatching blog

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We service all areas in the Gauteng and nearby areas. For any thatch work areas contact us at on the following link.

Find our form in the link below to request a quotation or speak to a consultant .. for thatch repairs in Gauteng:

Attention to Thatch roof valleys

Hello again and since our last blog where we chatted about executing “your own thatch inspection” thus reducing maintenance and costs.

Lapa with clear valleys
Visible cleared thatched valleys

The above Lapa demonstrates valleys clearly over-thatched and open. Also notice that there aren’t any trees or shaded areas visibly affecting the valleys.

In this blog we will be chatting about thatch roof valleys.

How to inspect your thatch roof valleys

Inspection of thatch roof valleys. A weak link on every thatched
house or thatched roof for that matter. Humidity tends to be number one issue in most cases and the reason is pretty evident. Usually valleys like any other valley that you know including geographical natural areas are the most humid places for which in thatch roofs is no different.

It is quite difficult and always impossible to build or draft a house where all valleys can be exposed to sunlight and for this reason makes house roof valleys specially in thatched houses one of the most important areas to keep an eye on to avoid degradation and subsequent [high repairs].

Half Moon Thatched Lapa
Entertainment area featuring a Half Moon thatched Lapa.

In above picture we can see how the contractor was able to avoid having valleys in this project. No Valleys to observe. why are thatched roof valleys so important ?

These are the sections where two roof planes meet and join and a place where biggest amounts of water will follow path to run off. They can take longer to dry also depending geographical position of north/south position of your house thus with more/less sun light and a chance to make dry faster or slower. By talking to “VigoThatching experts” they can help you in finding workable solutions for your applications. Some that spring to mind can be like in some cases as the best alternative would be to install a galvanised flashing under the valley area where the two planes are meeting which then in this case it will change the look of your thatch by ending up with two separate areas. It may look odd if you are not careful so do chat to your contractor so you don’t get any unforeseen surprises for when he is done and is presenting you with the bill. It is a different concept and if well planned ahead you can then go with a new theme and building style.

Another good option if you are planning to build a new thatch house is to check with your architect and discuss with him the various different roof topology options such as gable type house roofs. They are extremely practical from a maintenance point of view and it offers the advantages of extending your house at a later stage without having layout issues such as roofs facing each other and/or overhanging each other.

Thatched house in the prairie.
Beautiful thatched house demonstrating clean valleys

In many cases thatch valleys require high maintenance and filling up a bit more of grass is less expensive than having to re-thatch it. In this [link here repairs] can be executed by Vigo Thatching technicians. You just need to drop them a message so they can dispatch help your way.

So keeping an eye on it is of pretty much high importance in your maintenance check list! Look out for our next post when we chat about “Loose wires in your Thatch”

We service all areas in the Gauteng and nearby areas. For any thatch work areas contact us at on the following link.

Find our form in the link below to request a quotation or speak to a consultant .. for thatch repairs in Gauteng:

Thatch inspection

Executing an inspection of your own thatch

Executing an inspection of your own thatch is a task that can be tedious just as much as fun if you are to do it yourself.
It is a function that can be executed by your self or you can have a professional to come over and do it for you though it may be at a cost.

There are obviously numerous advantages weather you do it your self or get that professional which you think has the know how and being able
to read between the lines of his recommendations.

In this list you will write down the areas that require your attention and observation. A stroll around the house inspecting your own thatched roof could not be easier and equally leading saving yourself some unexpected budget surprises.

If you require one of our service technicians to visit you and access your thatch, please feel free to request [here] at this link.

We service all areas in the Gauteng and nearby areas

Inspection list used on Thatch builds:

  1. Thatch roof valleys
  2. Loose wires
  3. Thatch Footline
  4. Roof plane
  5. Eaves corners
  6. Thatch Overhangs
  7. Thatch thickness
  8. Ridging cap or concreted ridge
  9. Chimney condition
  10. Dormer window areas
  11. Drafter ends
  12. Fire and lightning protection

We service all areas in the Gauteng and nearby areas. For any thatch work areas contact us at on the following link.

Find our form in the link below to request a quotation or speak to a consultant .. for thatch repairs in Gauteng:

blogs by P.Filipe

Looking after your Thatch Roof

Looking after your Thatch roof couldn’t be much different to any other type of roof such as ceramic roof tiles or other types providing you know what to look for. In our “thatching Blog” section you can find all tips relating to keeping your thatch always in tip top condition. All builds are subject to deterioration and require maintenance at one time or other.

Is it worth keeping up with the maintenance periods.. is it worth maintaining your motor vehicle, running it without service intervals and oil changes? well ..

Talking to insurance experts they will be able to give you a good number of reasons to do it. The mortgage owners will emphasize on it as if they life would depend on it running they comprehensive items to the teeth.

General condition of your thatch are straight away pointers that come to mind.

thatching blog

Does your Thatch look tatty / flat/ dull.. doesn’t have to, just give us a call or drop us [an email right here]

All these are good indications that lack of maintenance exists. Usually a brush would solve that issue though you need to consider when the last time it had a brush so you don’t do it unnecessary thus reducing thatch roof thickness making your house colder.
A crisp thatch look is want you would prefer to have and ultimately always want.

If unsure about the condition of your thatch, do not bother to stress one bit longer. just give as call and we will send our technicians to your location for a free of charge quotation.

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Thatched umbrella
Beautiful scene for a thatched umbrella

We service all areas in the Gauteng and nearby areas. For any thatch work areas contact us at on the following link.

Find our form in the link below to request a quotation or speak to a consultant ..

Thatching Maintenance

Maintenance like any other type of roof

It is quite simple to maintain your thatch when you are a home owner. It involves making up a small list and run a ‘no have to’ priority schedule for when to do it.

As far long as people began building thatch roofs and thatch entertainment areas the most talked about and talked about has been the maintenance required to it.
Thatch houses and building form a natural beauty to it that can be quite indescribable by many yet its beauty remains in place to be enjoyed and used by many.

Thus bring us to the true grits on to maintain your thatch?

At a glance it can be quote obvious that by calling out a thatch expert or company most issues can be solved at the exchange of coin.
Although after numerous re call of maintenance periods and having to revisit many times the same issues makes you wonder weather you entrusted the right professional to the task at hand.

After a few years of owning your own thatch house it becomes more apparent of the areas that require more attention and vigilance.
Understanding that thatch is a high maintenance build it will straight away make you twitch or accept the challenge.

If you require one of our professional members to visit you and access your thatch, please feel free to request [here] at this link.

Old Lapa
Lapa that needs repairs and maintenance.

Check list tips regarding the “exterior of thatch roofs” can be viewed such as:

hot check points

But it can’t all be doom providing you take these golden steps at heart:

  1. you understand at starts the current condition of your thatch,
  2. begin to track its condition as time progresses,
  3. get in the habit of making a record of it,

Once you have these facts at hand it then becomes extremely easier to then call the professional to execute exactly what repairs as deemed necessary and why the further recommendations.

Staying away from cheap repairs might always be a great idea since the repairs quote needs to be based on thatcher reputation, material costs to execute such repair and once things begin to go wrong can you call him back!?

also look at how to execute your own “thatch inspection”[here] at this link.

The most difficult thing is to understand the method chosen for the repair as it happens that thatch handlers come from different geographical
areas in Africa and chances are your thatch roof was developed by some other style although appealing but not necessarily practical to maintain.
The local market is flooded with thatchers from all over Africa and everyone claiming better results than others.

This would be one main reason to use a company versus a passer claiming to “know how” come execute thatch repairs at your place rather than somebody that can give you some referrals and offer you some sort of guarantees.

.. more on Interior Thatch Checks in our next blog

We service all areas in the Gauteng and nearby areas. For any thatch work areas contact us at on the following link.

Find our form in the link below to request a quotation or speak to a consultant ..

blog content by P.Filipe