Photo | Traditional Dutch Home

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Not far outside of the city sits a suburban neighborhood housing traditional Dutch homes, complete with thatched roofs and moats!

Thatching is the craft of building a roof with dry vegetation such as straw, water reed, sedge (Cladium mariscus), rushes, or heather, layering the vegetation so as to shed water away from the inner roof. It is a very old roofing method and has been used in both tropical and temperate climates. Thatch is still employed by builders in developing countries, usually with low-cost, local vegetation. By contrast in some developed countries it is now the choice of affluent people who desire a rustic look for their home, would like a more ecologically friendly roof, or who have purchased an originally thatched abode.

Although thatch is popular in Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium and Ireland, there are more thatched roofs in the United Kingdom than in any other European country. Good quality straw thatch can last for more than 45–50 years when applied by a skilled thatcher. Traditionally, a new layer of straw was simply applied over the weathered surface, and this ‘spar coating’ tradition has created accumulations of thatch over 7’ (2.1 m) thick on very old buildings. Over 250 roofs in Southern England have base coats of thatch that were applied over 500 years ago, providing direct evidence of the types of materials that were used for thatching in the medieval period.  Almost all of these roofs are thatched with wheat, rye, or a ‘maslin’ mixture of both. Medieval wheat grew to almost 6 feet (1.8 m) tall in very poor soils and produced durable straw for the roof and grain for baking bread.

~Wikipedia

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