This often entails taking out any wire netting from the ridge, taking out some or all of the old ridge to a firm base, and then applying the ridge again. At this point, a roof is often dressed up and brushed down (except for Longstraw).
Dressing up is done as the thatch gradually loses its grip on its fixings due to deterioration. The thatch is knocked evenly and firmly back up into their fixings during dressing. Following dressing, the thatch may be brushed down to remove loose debris and moss, which can absorb moisture and progressively harm the thatch’s body.
Care of the roof
From patching to re-ridging and total rethatch along with repairing vermin bird and storm damage the thatcher will help keep your roof sound.
Thatch that has been properly installed and maintained shouldn’t usually develop holes or be destroyed by the wind. If isolated holes do develop (e.g., from bird damage), they can be fixed as long as there are no underlying issues, eg a roof that has reached the end of its useful life. A patch is typically secured in place with spars or screws and is ideally made of the same material as the coatwork. Older thatch in the vicinity will be more vulnerable to wear.
Please note the comment above on Listed Buildings and total rethatch. A total rethatch can involve stripping a roof to a firm foundation or stripping the roof to timbers.
Building rules should be taken into consideration while reducing a structure to its bare wood. Over the rafters and under the thatch, fire barriers are applied . Both flexible, breathable solutions and solid boards are possible choices. Typically, models that have received LABC approval should not need discussion to comply with the rules. Be aware that certain materials on the market don’t meet the requirements, and that the terminology surrounding fireproofing can be misleading. Fire protection, fire resistance, and fire barriers all have very diverse meanings and functions. Make sure you are aware of both your needs and the options being presented.
A new ridge must be added when the coatwork is rethatched (like for like if the building is listed), whether it was previously stripped to solid foundation or to timbers. In the case of Combed Wheat and Longstraw, the entire roof is typically wired even though it seems to be a regional preference. This is mostly attributable to eradicating vermin issues. Water Reed roofs often have only the ridge wired in.
The depth of the fixings, which depends on the individual thatcher’s expertise, is crucial to the lifespan of the roof.