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How to Protect Your Thatched Roof

At Night

Check list
Make sure the cooker and heaters are turned off.
Rake out open fires and make sure that a spark guard is in place.
Finish your cigarette or pipe and put it out properly. Be sure to check contents of ashtrays are cold before throwing them away.
Un-plug all non-essential electrical equipment.
Close all doors. In the event of a fire, closed doors will help prevent it spreading and protect your escape route.


5 year check
Electrical systems degrade with time. Have the system checked every five years by a qualified electrical engineer.

Hose Reel
It helps to have a stand pipe (lagged against frost) with a hose attached. The hose should be able to reach all areas of the roof.


Fire Blanket

Do not fit too closely to cooker as you might not be able to reach it in the event of a fire. Leave the blanket over the burning item at least 20 minutes to prevent re-ignition of the fire.

Fire Extinguishers


Locate the extinguisher just outside the kitchen door.

Make sure that all of your family know how to use it. Follow the manufacturers instructions to ensure that the extinguisher remains operational, replace when required.

Painters and Plumbers

Do not use low torches in the roof void. If pipe work does run through this space the tradesman should use pressure seals.

Fire Extinguishers

Do not allow any work to be carried out unless the tradesman has an extinguisher next to him if a blow torch is being used.

Double Check

You should insist that work involving blow torches stop half an hour before the tradesman leaves your home. This allows time to check for smouldering debris.
Treble Check
You should insist that all areas where blow torches have been used are treble checked before the tradesman leaves your home

Insurance Check

Ask for a letter from the builders/tradesman insurers confirming that their Public Liability insurance policy provides cover for ‘the use of heat’ in your home. Without this letter you should not allow the work to be carried out.


Make sure neighbours are aware of the danger to your home from bonfires. Be extra careful in dry periods with strong winds. It may be a good idea to douse your roof with water to help reduce the risk.

Fire safety in thatched roofs

Chimney Pots


The top of the pot should be at least 1.8m above the ridge.

Spark arresters have caused debate with regards to their effectiveness. While they act in limiting the number of dangerous sparks, a building up of soot can occur. The need for regular and proper cleaning is essential.


The Major Cause

Have the brickwork checked by a professional builder. If in doubt it is recommended that a liner be inserted to protect the thatch.


Soot builds up rapidly from wood burning fires. If wood is burnt, have the chimney swept twice a year to reduce the risk.

Smoke Detectors

If your home as a loft, fit one in the highest part of the roof and link it to a second detector.


Fit the second detector to a hallway or landing. Link the two together, both will sound when one is activated. Detectors are recommended for all rooms regularly used.


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