Colin McGhee. MgGhee & Co. Roof Thatchers.

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:: Frequently Asked Questions ::

Even though thatch has been used for centuries throughout the world, there are alot of common misconceptions about this roofing method. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

:: Q ::Does it really keep out water?
:: A ::Yes. Thatched roofs do keep out water. This is possible because of the steep pitch of a thatched roof, which is 45 degrees, and because the phragmites (water reed) is a hollow, waxy organic material that is applied in a cubic foot throughout the roof. All these elements work together to provide a roof that is not only beautiful, but watertight.
:: Q ::Isn't it a fire risk?
:: A ::Consider this: would you choose to light a fire with a rolled newspaper, or would you fan the pages first? The concept is the same for a thatched roof. The reed is applied so densely and tightly that a thatched roof is more likely to smolder than burn (although, like any roof, if the house is on fire a thatched roof will eventually burn). Thatched roofs are rated similarly to cedar shakes. Additional fire-proofing is available.
:: Q ::How much does it cost?
:: A ::The amount varies depending on choice of materials, details of structure, and size. For an estimate, please contact us.
:: Q ::Can it be put on an existing structure?
:: A ::A pitch of 45 degrees is required for a thatched roof to ensure correct tension and maximum water run-off. The pitch of an existing structure may be 'built up' to achieve the proper angle.
:: Q ::How long does it take to thatch a roof?
:: A ::Of course each job is unique, but a master thatcher working alone will normally complete a 1,000 square foot roof in 3 to 4 weeks time.
:: Q ::Will it hold up in coastal storms?
:: A ::Since the thatch is fixed directly to the rafters, making the roof part of the permanent structure, a thatched roof offers more protection against storm and wind damage than any other method of roofing.
:: Q ::Is there a "real" roof underneath?
:: A ::No. There is no need for a sub-roof. The thatch is applied directly to the rafters. Some owners choose to 'finish' the interior ceiling, while others choose to leave the thatch exposed.
:: Q ::How long does a thatched roof last?
:: A ::A roof thatched with water reed will last approximately 70 years with very little maintenance. The ridge will need to be reworked every 10 to 20 years. McGhee has worked on several thatched roofs exceeding 100 years in age.
:: Q ::What about pests?
:: A ::The density of a thatched roof deters pests. A wire netting is often applied to further discourage any penetration. The roof may be additionally treated at the owners discretion.
:: Q ::Do I have to water it?
:: A ::This is actually a common question. The answer is No. The confusion may arise from the "living roof(s)" that have been constructed recently. The water reed is harvested in the winter months, after the reed has died, to ensure against shrinkage. Therefore, there is no need to water the roof.

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