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Fire safety advice for thatched roofs

Causes of fires in thatched roofs

There are three main causes of fire in thatched roofs, all of which can be avoided with basic fire prevention measures.

Spread from fireplaces and chimneys

  • Have your brickwork, mortar and flashings regularly checked and carry out any necessary repairs promptly.
  • If you have had a wood-burning stove, or similar enclosed solid fuel burner installed, it is essential that an appropriate liner has also been installed.

Ignition from electrical services or appliances

  • Have your electrical system checked on a regular basis by a competent NICEIC approved electrician. We recommend doing this at least every five years.

Building & garden maintenance (including DIY)

  • Do not use blowtorches or hot air guns in areas adjacent to the thatch, particularly first floor and roof voids.
  • Never have bonfires near a thatched property.
  • Site barbeques a safe distance away from the building.

Things to consider

  • Do you have an open fire?
  • Do you have your chimney swept regularly?
  • Have had an enclosed solid fuel stove installed?
  • Has your chimney been professionally lined?
  • Is your thatch underdrawn with a fire resisting membrane?
  • Have you had spar coats added to the thatch?
  • Does your thatch sink around the chimney?
  • Has your chimney been fitted with a spark arrester?
  • Is the top of your chimney at least 1metre above the thatch?

Further fire safety advice and guidance is available on the Thatch Advice Centre website.

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