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Dealing with thatched roofs

Thatched roofs

Properties built with a thatched roof are considered to be a greater risk than those of non-standard construction, not because thatched properties are more likely to have a fire but because the damage caused will be much greater. If your home has a thatched roof, however, there are various precautions that you can take to reduce your risk:


Most thatch fires are chimney related so do make sure that:

  • You have your chimneys professionally inspected at least once every three years to check that the liner and brickwork is in good condition.
  • Your chimneys are swept at least twice a year.
  • Your chimney tops are at a minimum of 1.8m above the thatch.
  • Your flue liner is appropriate for the appliances that you are using.

Wood burners

  • Do not burn wet or unseasoned wood as this will leave tar deposits in the flue greatly increasing the risk of fire.


  • All wiring connections including aerial leads and supply cables must be spaced at least 30cm away from the thatch and any wire netting.
  • All electrical wiring in the roof space should be in conduits.
  • Roof space light fittings should be enclosed in a bulkhead.
  • The use of ‘down lighters’ on the upper floor should be avoided as these have the potential to overheat.
  • Do not fit halogen lights or outside security lighting near to thatch or underneath overhangs.
  • All electrical wires in the roof space should be checked every 10 years by a qualified electrician.

General precautions

  • Smoke alarms should be fitted on each level including the roof space. Ensure they are in full working order and are tested regularly
  • Install fire alarms and chimney heat detectors can to provide early warning of fire.
  • Spray your roof with a chemical retardant spray which can help to slow down the spread of fire.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket in the kitchen at all times
  • No bonfires or fireworks are to be lit within 30 metres from the main dwelling