Thatching is a traditional roofing technique that has been part of building construction across the world for hundreds of years. Within the UK thatched roofs have been particularly prominent in the South West and East Anglia and there has been a resurgence in popularity in recent years.
It is a highly-skilled craft requiring years of experience and an understanding of the materials used to effectively produce a secure and balanced layering of reed and straw.
Led by our master thatcher, our skilled thatchers roll out reed bundles into multiple layers and hold them in place using steel rods and wires which attach to the timber pole construction of the Lapa. These rods become invisible during the process as they are secured up to 6 inches below the top layer, and internally the reed bundles are 'tucked' to ensure a beautiful vision of the thatching both inside and out.
Our Lapa roofs are then finished with a flush or raised ridge, depending upon customer preference and the design of the building. Ridges are completed with wheat straw secured with hazel spars, a technique dating back centuries, and finished with a wire cover to effectively seal the ridge line.
Reed and straw thatch has been the natural choice of roofing material for centuries due to its historical abundance, sustainable nature and natural thermal properties. Water reed has no propensity to become waterlogged thanks to its hollow nature and tight cell growth, and with most thatched roofs up to 12 inches thick it provides an effective layer against the elements.
Water reed is traditionally grown in reed beds, rivers and lakes but due to the modernising of machinery and farming techniques across the country, the majority of reed used for thatching in the UK is now imported from across the world.
As thatching materials have evolved, there has also been a move towards using steel rods and wires within the deeper layers, improving the strength of the connections. Along the ridge we continue to use traditional hazel spars, ensuring the beauty and security of your thatched roof will remain for years to come.
These tiles are constructed using Cape Reed and are bound tightly into sections that are then clipped onto a steel supporting ring that forms part of the building's core structure. These tiles are ideal for residential and commercial use and are easy to install and replace over time.
Some commercial projects use an artificial thatch product, Endureed Synthetic Thatch which is well suited to commercial environments due to its mould and rot resistant properties, as well as its fire retardant nature.
The Lapa Company are proud to offer all of these thatching types and styles to our customers.