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Alex Mitchell
Written by Alex Mitchell 6th April 2017

Thatch Appeal

Nothing says, ‘quintessentially English’, quite like a thatched cottage. On the other hand, for some, nothing screams ‘fire risk’ and ‘expense’ quite like it either. Whichever camp you fall into, houses for sale in the countryside often include listed, thatched properties which are typically snapped up more quickly than others. If you’ve fallen in love with a chocolate box cottage, or dream of doing so one day, what are the pros and cons of life beneath the thatch?

For obvious reasons, Guy Fawkes Night is the least favourite date in any thatched property owner’s diary. But there is a lot you can do to minimise the fire risk and keep insurance premiums down. Specialist fire alarms reduce premiums by roughly 40%, although do cost several hundred pounds to install with an annual maintenance charge on top. And new fire retardants can be sprayed on to the thatch to minimise damage in the event of the worst-case scenario. Now for the good news. Thatched roofed houses are statistically less likely to burn down as owners are more vigilant about electrical checks and sweeping chimneys, a job which should be done twice a year. Plastic mesh is a good idea as it deters nesting birds (and rodents) from taking up residence in the thatch. Unfortunately, spiders and other creepy crawlies are harder to avoid and may be a deal breaker if someone in your family has a phobia.

A huge positive for thatch is a ‘green’ one. Wheat and straw are sustainable, environmentally friendly materials, and in these times of austerity and high fuel prices, thatch offers fantastic insulation and therefore lower heating bills. The downside is that those savings may be swallowed up by costly upkeep and repairs, ranging from up to £1000 every few years for patching, to complete rethatching every 25 years at a potential cost of £25,000.

A thatched property, like a listed one, will never be the low-cost option. The question is, what price are you prepared to pay for beauty?

Let us know your thatched thoughts via the usual channels. And for more blogs like this or to view Michael Graham houses for sale in the region, visit the website michaelgraham.co.uk