There are three main types of thatching materials commonly available.
All Thatchers have differing views concerning materials and are heavily influenced by the parts of the country they are working in and the traditions that have been handed down to them.
Combed Wheat Reed
This is the traditional material that has been used in Dorset and the West country for centuries. For this reason it is usually recommended by local councils and listing officers. Wheat reed is grown by local farmers, unlike water reed which is mainly imported. To harvest, it is cut with a binder and then threshed with a reed comber.
Water Reed or Norfolk Reed
It is often believed that water reed lasts longer than wheat reed. In our opinion, water reed will only out last wheat reed on a steep roof that has no features., unlike most cottages and houses found in Dorset and the West country. Therefore, we feel that there is no real difference in lifespan between the two.
Long straw is put through a threshing process which leaves it malleable. Hence the ‘poured on’ look typical of Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk houses, whose steeply pitched roofs are ideally suited to long straw.