Quality Thatching Roof Supplies
McGhee & Co. Roof Thatchers provide only the best quality thatching roof supplies in their designs. For information regarding water reed or straw materials used for roofing or other projects, contact us.
In Europe, a roof made of reed is more durable than one made of straw. Plants such as Norfolk reed - so called because it was harvested in the Norfolk fens - were commonly used along coastal areas in the Southeast of England and along the west coast of Scotland. Other reeds are harvested all over the world and are commonly referred to by the generic name "water reed." The availability of reed accounts for the concentration of thatched buildings along coasts and in marshy areas.
Before it can be used, reed must be thoroughly dried to prevent it from shrinking once it is in place. Once dry, it is gathered in bundles and attached to the prepared frame of the roof. The bundles have a circumference of 24 to 27 inches, or "3 hands." Depending on the size of the project and the part of the roof, a bundle is anywhere from 3 to 7 feet long.
Straw is another common thatching material. While readily available, straw thatch does not last as long as reed. Collecting it is also more labor-intensive, since it has to be cut and thrashed before it's drawn by hand into workable bundles, known as "yearns." Because straw is so brittle, the thatcher must continually wet it while working, to keep it from breaking. The straw will not shrink as it dries, so the thatcher must gauge during the process what the finished roof will look like.