Suffolk Thatch has been a traditional form of roofing for hundreds of years and the industry is thriving today, with not enough thatchers to cope with demand. Consequently waiting times for rooves to be replaced or repaired can be as long as 3 years! An apprenticehsip to become a Master Thatcher can be up to 7 years and therefore finding skilled craftsmen can be like looking for a needle....
Raw materials are produced locally - Norfolk reed is common but for older, listed properties straw thatch is still preferred. Generally thatch is found on older properties, giving them character and history - did you know that old thatch isn't removed, just added to with new layers, which means that the older the property the thicker the thatch! A lot of history can be sitting on the roof top.
It is true what old cottagers with thatched rooves used to say 'warm in winter, and cool in the summer' as thatch has excellent insulation qualities. And thatch can be treated with a fireproofing agent which is just as well if you have an open fireplace. As thatch tends to be on timber framed cottages, the combination of dry straw or reed with timber frame plus sparks from the chimney can be a dangerous combination.
Nevertheless thatched properties are much in demand due to their heritage appeal - they are quirky and unique, often with exposed beams, inglenook fireplaces and not a single straight line or right angle anywhere! For a slice of history and character it's difficult to beat a pretty thatched cottage in Suffolk
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