Thatched roof house design

by | May 28, 2024 | Advice & inspiration, Roof design

Thatched roofs are one of the oldest types of roof designs in the world. Though not commonly used in Australian homes, it could be a unique look for your house or for a smaller sheltered area. So let’s take a closer look at this classic roof design, weighing up both the pros and cons.

What is a thatched roof house?

Okay, so what exactly is a thatched roof design?

A thatched roof is a design made up of overlapping bundles of dried plant stalks. Once an incredibly common roofing method throughout Europe, the UK and the Scandinavian countryside, it became less common as newer methods of roofing developed.

The most common materials used for a thatched roof include water reed, long straw and combed wheat reed.

In Australia, it’s rare to find houses that have thatched roofs, at least for the main structure. A thatch roof is much more commonly used in pergolas or similar sheltered areas. It’s often chosen as much for its character and aesthetic appeal.

How much does a thatched roof house cost?

Thatched houses are fairly niche and, therefore, a new thatch roof is unlikely to be cheap. To install thatch, you’ll need a professional who knows the proper techniques. As mentioned earlier, modern homes and buildings don’t use thatching a lot, but it’s more common on gazebos or smaller sheltered areas, which will be cheaper than an entire house.

What are the benefits of a thatched roof house?

Natural materials and eco-friendly

As building materials go, thatched roofs are made from natural materials and therefore eco-friendly. It can easily fit in with your landscaping plans and surrounding plant life.

Attractive, rustic look for your building

Thatch roofs offer a distinct, traditional look to a building. Though it may be a bold move to make it the roof design for your entire house, it can be a great addition to a smaller shelter, such as a pergola or gazebo. For outdoor entertaining or as part of your landscaping, it can offer an attractive addition.

Good insulation

There’s a reason why thatched roofs were used for centuries in England and throughout Europe. Thatchers built roofs that provided adequate insulation from eco-friendly materials. Thatching is a craft that requires certain skills, so you’ll need a professional thatcher to ensure that the roof provides adequate insulation.

What are the drawbacks of a thatched roof house?


The materials used for thatched roofs tend to be flammable meaning there won’t be much protection should there be a fire.

Can attract rodents and birds

Straw, bracken, wood and other materials traditionally used in a thatch roof make a great nest for vermin and birds.

Needs a lot of maintenance

Thatching requires a lot of upkeep, including a rethatching every 10-15 years. The build-up of rain and other environmental factors can damage your thatching.

Your insurance may not cover it or charge you extra

Due to thatched roofs being vulnerable to fires, wind and wildlife, insurance will either not cover damage or charge extra to do so.

Can be an odd look for modern homes

Thatched roofs are a very old-school design, most often associated with a building you’d see in an old European village. On a modern style home design, a thatched roof is unlikely to suit.

Thatched roof houses vs the competition

So, we’ve learnt what thatched roofs are and their pros and cons, but how do they stack up compared to the alternative designs out there? Let’s compare some designs (links to our other roof design pages included) and see what’s the best option for you.

Thatched roof vs flat roof design

Despite the name, flat roofs are rarely 100% flat. There’s usually at least a small angle to accommodate drainage needs. Flat roof designs are most commonly seen in modern house designs.

Thatched roof vs gable roof design

A gable roof is a traditional roof design that comes to a point. Basically, if you were to draw a house shape, the upside-down V you’d draw would be a gable roof. If your new home has a traditional look, a gable roof design will be both easier and less expensive to design and install than a thatch. However, a thatched roof will be more

Thatched roof vs hip roof design

Hip roof designs have a distinct look with all sloping sides that meet at a peak. Though it vaguely resembles a gable design, a hip roof usually features four sides that meet at a point. It’s a popular design throughout Australia, especially in more traditional designs

Thatched roof vs skillion roof design

A skillion roof is known for its distinctive design, a flat panel at a distinct angle. Both thatched roofs and skillion roofs are commonly used on pergolas and similar types of shelters and they offer almost polar opposite vibes. Skilliong roof designs are striking, minimalistic and modern while thatched roofs are more traditional and give structures an old-world character.

Buildi is here to help with all your building needs

Whether you’re making decisions about the roof, the floor or everything in between, building a new home is a big project. There are many decisions to make, and it can all become a lot to take on board. Luckily, Buildi is here to help you navigate the world of construction. We’ll take your project to our panel of builders and have them pitching for your business. Once you choose your builder, we can help you through every step of building your new home. Our services have helped our clients save time, frustration and money.


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Knockdown Rebuild

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