Saturday, July 11, 2009

How to Thatch a House

This was really an interesting sight to see how a thatched roof is made. And when it's done its a work of art. On the second picture where the guy brings materials on a tractor some of the pretty finished roof is seen.

The latest decades many thatched roofs have disappeared in Denmark, corresponding to that one thatched roof is removed every day every year. But now there is a growing interest for thatched roofs. Newbuilt thatched houses emerge in the Danish landscape. More and more house owners remove the old roof plates and bring the country house back to its old glory with the roof it was born with. This happens in the 11. hour, since there are only a little more than 42.000 thatched houses left in Denmark.

The Living Roof is a tribute to the cultural inheritance it represents. It has a history of 5.000 years with proud traditions and many good stories about fascination and beauty, custom and renewal and the skilled craft.

The materials used for thatched roofs is Danish and Polish straw, lyme grass, heather , seaweed etc. There two principal forms ,the sewed roof and the tied roof, and there are several local variants of those two forms.

The materials used today are mostly reed, which grows in fresh- or brackish water ; formerly rye straw (long straw) was mainly used, in West Jutland and at Bornholm mixed with heather. West of Lillebælt the straw was sewed upon the laths, east of Lillebælt they were fastened by binding hazel sticks upon the straw. Upon Øerne (Ærø, Langeland Lolland- Falster-Møn etc.) the ridge was covered in oat straw, which was sewed or fastened with connected pieces of oakwood, kragtræer; in West Jutland heather and turf were often used as a ridge. A turf ridge and a ridge of eelgrass is known from Funen.

At the island Læsø are still some houses with eelgrass roofs. They are now listed.

photo Thy , North Jutland, 1. June 2009: grethe bachmann

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