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Thatch Cottages

Thatch roof safety

When a fire takes hold of a thatched property the damage is devastating. Chimneys can be a main cause of fire in thatched properties so ensuring your chimney is swept and kept in good working order is essential.

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Follow our advice to keep your property as safe as possible. Remember if you have a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.

Fire safety Advice:

  • Do not build, rebuild or design chimneys which pass close to or through thatch without appropriate expert advice
  • Do not hold barbecues, bonfires or firework parties or burn garden waste close to the house
  • Do not allow the use of blow lamps in the roof space - the use of compression fittings on plumbing removes the need for hot works
  • Do not allow flame/heat stripping of paint on surfaces near to thatch
  • Do not cut recessed lighting into the ceilings below the thatch. Light fittings within the roof space should be in a bulkhead fitting
  • Do not mount external floodlights beneath thatch overhangs
  • Chimneys should be lined and swept regularly
  • Ensure any person working in or on the house is aware of the dangers which careless use of naked flame can bring
  • The chimney, if used by any appliance producing flue gases should be installed according to the manufacturer's specification. The top of the stack should be no closer than 1.8 m from the ridge vertically and, in the case of a stack in the wall, four metre vertically from any thatch surface
  • Spark arrestors, if fitted, should be maintained/cleaned on a regular basis
  • Good quality smokeless fuel is preferable to ordinary coal or peat and any wood should be resin free (i.e. hard woods), be well seasoned and dry to prevent build up of tars
  • Any re-thatch or ridge capping should have all material taken from around the chimney so that it can be checked and repaired where necessary
  • Smoke alarms should be fitted; low voltage mains powered linked alarms are available. Most thatch fires start in the roof space and, due to the thickness of the roof, may not be apparent for many hours
  • All electrical wiring in the loft/roof space should ideally be routed in appropriate fire resistant ducting
  • The provision of a loft hatch is recommended with a minimum opening of 600mm x 900mm ensuring that access can be gained to all roof void areas.

If you are the owner of a thatch property, you qualify for a free home fire safety check.

Complete the online form (found from selecting the link above) or call our free fire safety help line on: 0800 3581 999 for more information.

View the other relevant fire safety information using the direct links below:

View the free fire safety leaflet: