Thatching Since 1987

This page provides information about the different types of thatch and includes a downloadable guide to identifying them.

Long Straw

Long Straw consists of thrashed wheat that has been harvested in the UK and prepared by hand. It provides a very ornate finish and is fixed with “liggers” and hazel spars along the roof's eaves and gable ends.

20-30 years life expectancy.*

  • Long Straw thatch
  • Long Straw thatched roof
  • Long Straw re-ridged roof

Water Reed

Water Reed, more commonly known as Norfolk Reed, is a much coarser and more durable material. It is grown in marshland and is significantly longer than straw, at approximately 5-6 feet.

50-60 years life expectancy.*

  • Water reed thatched roof
  • Water Reed thatch
  • Outbuilding thatched with Water Reed

Combed Wheat Reed

Combed Wheat Reed is derived from the same source as Long Straw, but is mechanically straightened and cleaned by passing it through a 'reed comber'. The resulting bundles give the roof a smoother, more uniform appearance.

25-40 years life expectancy.*

  • Wheat reed thatched roof
  • Wheat reed thatch cottage
  • Wheat reed New Thatch


The ridge of a thatched roof bears the brunt of the weather and generally requires attention every 12-15 years. All ridge work is constructed using Long Straw, regardless of whether the rest of the thatch is rendered in Water Reed, Long Straw or Combed Wheat Reed. The ridge pattern on the roof is cut to a thickness of 4" and can incorporate wide variety of designs. Our clients can choose from a range of patterns in our extensive portfolio, or even design their own.

15-20 years life expectancy.*

  • Long Straw re-ridge
  • Thatch scollop pattern
  • Thatched roof ridge pattern

* The actual life expectancy of any given roof is influenced by many factors, such as the quality of the season's crop and the average weather conditions of the site over time. As such, these estimates are provided as a guide only.

Identifying Your Thatch

Below you'll find a flow chart that will help you to identify your thatch. To download the file in pdf format, simply right-click here and select "save link as".

Identifying your thatch