Buying a Thatched Property

Many prospective thatched roof homeowners are dissuaded by friends and family who wrongly advise that owning a thatched property is expensive, has an increased risk of fire, and requires constant attention. This is not the case!

If you are considering owning a home that is part of our national heritage, it is advisable to find out as much information about the property as possible. 

Below, we have listed some suitable questions to ask:

Questions about the thatcher and roof

  • Which thatcher does the current owner use?
  • What thatching works have been carried out?
  • What materials have been used on both the ridge and main coat work?
  • Does the thatcher know if any fire barriers have been fitted?

Is the building listed, are there any planning or conservation issues?

  • There may be certain restraints imposed if the property is listed, and you should be fully aware of these before you proceed.

Consider a separate thatch roof survey

The thatcher will be able to offer an opinion on the current condition of the roof, advise when work is likely to be required, and will have an idea of the costs involved.

If you prefer to also have an impartial survey, please contact us and we can recommend other thatchers that can provide this service.

Chimney & flue liner

  • Has a liner been installed? If so, what type and who installed it? Ask for copies of any related documents such as a HETAS certificate.
  • Has the chimney and/or liner been inspected via CCTV? If so, request details.
  • When was the chimney last swept and by whom?
  • Does the chimney have a spark arrestor fitted?

All too often, we receive calls from new owners, who when asked, have no idea what the makeup of the chimney is and very often, unaware if a liner has been fitted.

If you are unsure about any of the above matters relating to your chimney, please do not light a fire until you have had the necessary checks completed by a professional.

Are there any wood burners or open fires in the property?

If a wood burner is in place, request the date and details of the installation if available.

Are there suitable smoke alarms and fire extinguishers?

On the basis that the owner might take the fire extinguishers and smoke alarms with them, you need to make sure that you have these ready if you purchase the property. Smoke detectors should be interlinked, so you might need to arrange for an electrician to install a new system. Consult with your insurance company.

When were the electrics last inspected and tested?

Insurance companies will require electrical test inspections, so request a copy of the last inspection certificate from the current owner.

Establish if there are any fire barriers in place

These could be directly underneath the thatch or a fire retardant spray may have been applied. The current owners should be able to tell you if any are fitted. These may help to reduce your insurance premiums and provide added peace of mind.

Speak to insurance companies beforehand

Specialist thatch insurance companies may have a ‘checklist’ or certain criteria that must be met. Please read the conditions of your policy carefully and ensure you are meeting the requirements adequately. 

Once these questions are answered, an informed decision could be made
as to whether the property is right for you.

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