If you're creating a cottage-style home, a thatched roof is the perfect finishing touch to give your home some authentic character. However, many people steer clear of thatched roofs because they are no longer very common, and thus little is known about them. The answers to these common questions about thatched roofs will teach you a little more about this old-fashioned roofing option and help you determine if it's a good choice for your cottage.

What are thatched roofs actually made from?

It's a common misconception that thatched roofs are always made from straw, since this is often how they are depicted in storybooks. While they can be made from straw, they are more often made from water reeds or wheat reeds. These plants are more water resistant than straw and they have a longer lifespan as a roofing material. Water reeds and wheat reeds are similar grass-like plants that grow in marshes and wetlands and are primarily harvested in Europe.

Are thatched roofs a fire hazard?

In days gone by, fires on thatched roofs were a common problem. Today, however, modern technology has found a way to prevent such tragedies. Fireproof coatings and fireproof foils (which can be laid beneath the thatching on the roof) prevent thatched roofs from igniting. However, some homeowner's insurance companies still charge higher premiums for homes with thatched roofs because of the perceived higher fire hazard. Keep an eye out for this while shopping for homeowner's insurance.

Won't the reeds just blow away?

A couple of reeds may blow away in the wind, but for the most part, they're well secured to the roof with a system of wires and steel rods. These wires and rods are buried under the outer reed layer, so you cannot see them when you look at the roof, but they are there lending support nonetheless. Thatched roofs applied by an experienced thatcher can withstand winds at least as well as a typical asphalt roof. For more information, contact a local roofing contractor (such as Gulfside Roofing Inc).

Will the thatched roof trap moisture in the home and lead to molding?

Nope. This is another common misconception. Thatched roofs actually breathe so well that no actual vents are needed. They keep moisture out because the numerous layers of water reeds are so good at repelling liquid.

If you think a thatched roof would look great on your home, don't let worries and misconceptions keep you from getting one. Today's thatched roofs are sturdy, safe, and waterproof. You may pay a little more for homeowner's insurance, but if you have the look you want, the higher premiums may be worth it.