Why is this?
The reasons for thatch roofs or in fact any combustible roof covering catching fire are more varied than you might first think.
The obvious culprit are sparks from the fire – actually this is not the main cause, the main cause is where the thatch abuts a chimney stack. The thatch heats up as a fire or stove is lit and gradually reached its “flash point” where when fuelled by oxygen it eventually ignites.
Flue liners for stoves which are incorrectly installed will encourage fires to happen, actually, even more so than open fires as they trap the heat within the chimney. The heat then builds up and causes the thatch to dry out and catch fire. Sparks do cause fires but not nearly as often as a build up of heat.
Types of Thatched building
We are used to installing fires and wood burning stoves into all types building with “combustible roof coverings” such as Thatch, Green roofs and Cedar shingles. We can install into existing chimneys and well as creating flues through barns and barn conversions.
Its really straight forward
The thing to remember is that most regulations are there for the best intentions and to keep you safe. Thatch is really safe with stoves or fires, its just that a few ill advised and poor quality installations have created bad press.
For barn conversions we create a special type of flue called a “box Flashing” which is thatched around but insulates the surrounding thatch or roof covering with a constant flow of air, so ensuring that the thatch does not get warm.
How can fires be avoided?
No two situations are the same and we have to carry out careful site survey and help the customer choose the correct materials and appliances. If at all possible we would install a stainless steel solid wall flue that has been approved and tested by a government recognised test house to offer the maximum insulation properties. we would aim to design the solution to vent the flue void, but reduce the risk of any weather or damp ingress to the chimney. Whichever solution we recommend we would aim to get the maximum protection and peace of mind for our customers.
We have been HETAS registered long before it was seen as compulsory and were actually consulted on current HETAS advise for thatch roof installations. The first thing one should do when considering installing a solid fuel heating appliance is speak to your house insurers, they have often have differing requirements and it is sensible to know these up front. We also work with the listing building people (if required) to help you arrive at a solution that satisfies Building regulations, listed building consent and your insurer.