Thatched Roof: 4 Interesting Places Where They’re Popular

Thatched Roof House in gray color

Get creative with your roof. There are all kinds of different building materials you can use when constructing a​ thatched roof. Some of them are more practical than others, while certain types are made to look good.

Thatched roofing has been used all over the world as a resourceful, practical roofing material.

​Let’s take a look at four places in the world where thatched roofing is a preferred choice.

What is a Thatched Roof?

wooden house with a thatched roof

So, what exactly is a thatched roof? A thatched roof is a type of roofing that can be made out of a variety of materials.

The term thatching is used to describe the building of a roof using dry vegetation. This can include water reed, sedge, straw, heather, palm fronds or rushes. As you can see, the type of vegetation used in thatching is varied and diverse.

Once you’ve chosen your type of vegetation, it is placed in a layered pattern. This is to keep the water from seeping through to the inner roof.

 Thatched roofing has another practical purpose. Because the majority of the vegetation stays dry and can trap air because it's densely packed, it can also be used as insulation.

Thatching is a roofing method that has been around for centuries. It has been used in both temperate and tropical parts of the world.

In third world countries, thatched roofing is used due to the low cost of the vegetation. In contrast, you can still find thatched roofing in affluent parts of developed nations, as it creates a charming rustic look.

​A thatched roof is also ecologically friendly, and is popular for this reason, too.

Two Interesting Places Where You’ll Find a Thatched Roof

Where can you find thatched roofing in the 21st century?

Rural Areas

The history points to the Americas. It says that ancient tribes including the Maya civilization often used thatched roofing in the construction of their buildings. These traditional dwellings were only rediscovered in the early 2000’s.

​Today, if you travel to the Americas, you will spot this type of roofing. They are most common in rural areas. Once these ancient American societies started to break down, thatched roofing was replaced by wooden shingles and other more permanent types of roofing.


Another place that you’ll find thatched roofing in the 21st century is in Africa. John Roston Smith, who specializes in the construction of thatched roofing, explains that he is a part of a global movement of people using the traditional practice of thatched roofing on modern homes.

The majority of thatched roofing in Africa uses dried grass as its vegetation. The grass is cut by hand and divided into bundles, ready to be used in the thatching process.

A newly thatched roof can take up to a month to build. If the roof is well-thatched, it will be completely waterproof.

2 Surprising Places Where Thatched Roofing is Common

Let’s take a look at two surprising places where thatched roofing is still a common practice.

Rural England

Sarah Lonsdale explains that rural England is a favorite place for thatched roofing. One builder, Westley Marriott, says that thatched roofing comprises seventy percent of the roofing jobs he takes on.

Due to the local council permitting for more thatched roofing to be used in modern construction, rural England has seen a rise in the popularity of thatching.

Because the building of thatched roofs is consistently regulated, there is less fire risk, and the premiums on insurance aren't as high. People are slowly but surely warming up to the idea of a thatched roof again after it lost its shine in the eighties and nineties.


Another surprising place where you’ll find thatched roofing practices in the 21st century is in Scandinavia.

While the art of thatching is prevalent in these countries, the vegetation that's used is unique. It is called sod roof, or turf roof. The thatching consists of a green roof outer layer of sod, supported by a dense coating of birch bark to keep the water out.

Beneath this, you will find gently sloping wooden slats. This type of thatching is commonly associated with a log building, where the home itself is constructed out of logs.

Using a Thatched ​Roof in Home Design

A brick-walled home with thatched roof

There are numerous ways to build a roof. Whether you like tiled shingles or plain weatherboard, the 21st century has a lot of different materials on offer. However, if you wish to step back in time and experience a natural way to roof your home, you can try thatching.

The art of thatching has been around for centuries. It’s a tried and tested method that has been proven to keep water out and warmth in.


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