Beware of what is hiding in your roof

chimney ridge pole

Thatch removed

I started a job a few weeks ago around the Daventry area. It was a cottage that was once thatched but at some point in the 1940’s had most of the thatch removed and a corrugated iron roof put in its place. Having taken the iron roof off ready for a new thatch I discovered that the chimney had the ridge pole running through the side of it as you will see pictured.

Obviously, I made the owner aware of the situation and now the fireplace will be blocked off. However, I was only in the position to see this as all the basecoat had been removed from the ridge to allow for the tin roof. I can’t help but wonder how many other people may have these problems with their thatched roofs and chimneys; buried under multiple layers of basecoat, never to be discovered or see the light of day, until a fire occurs.

Neighbours As Well

Two weeks later while still working on the job there was a fire on one of the neighbouring properties. This had a slate roof but the cause was a timber ridgepole going through the chimney. The owners of this home had only been there under a year and were told that along with the wood burning stove there was also a liner.

There wasn’t a liner, only a piece of lead that had been wrapped around the ridgepole as “protection”. They had been burning the stove all weekend and on Monday morning were alerted by a neighbour of a fire by their chimney. Luckily the house was saved with not much damage.

Chimney Inspection

But as Thatchers we have to be aware that idiosyncrasies in listed buildings like this do exist, and probably with multi-layer thatch are never detected. Both these chimney timbers along with the absence of a liner had gone unnoticed by chimney sweeps. We need to push thatch owners when purchasing their home to have a proper chimney inspection, with a camera to fully gauge the condition of the chimney and what is, or isn’t present.

Could This Be Your Property?

Does this sound familiar? Could you have these problems with your thatched roof? Contact Us today to arrange a site visit and put your mind at ease.

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