Quality commercial-grade African reed thatch can last up to 10 years if it is maintained properly. This type of thatch delivers a more even, manicured look than the shaggy look of palm thatch but, as an organic material, the lifespan is similar and both reed and palm thatch. If you are installing thatch on outdoor structures, there are a few things you can do to ensure you get maximum life out of the materials.
First, if you have the option, install thatching on a steep roof with a sharp pitch. The more vertical the angle is, the easier it will be for water to drain off and the quicker the thatch can dry. Additionally, mounting thatch on an existing roof or at least creating a sub-roof will allow you to build a slightly raised frame upon which you can install the thatch. Creating a space of even a few inches between the sub-roof and the thatch material allows water to drain through and run off of the roof more quickly.
Applying a fire retardant sealant to the roof with a sprayer once it's finished is a good way to protect the thatch, and you can repeat that treatment every couple of years to maintain and extend the life of the thatching on your roof. If you live in a climate that experiences extremely wet seasons, you can also cover the thatch with plastic sheeting for a month or two to keep the roofing material from becoming soaked and staying wet for extended periods of time.
Naturally, you will want to inspect your roof at least once a year to stay on top of maintenance issues. Sections of thatch that have worn thin should be patched up, and you'll want to be thorough in your inspection to take note of any structural issues beneath the thatch.
Forever Bamboo is your source for tropical and thatch products including palm and African reed thatch. We have the quality materials you need for any indoor or outdoor project.