Thatch is an insulation material and is also used as a building material for roofing. Thatching is the popular choice when it comes to thatching your tiki hut, it is attractive, durable, and affordable.
For heavy-duty wear and tear; synthetic thatch is a consideration, but synthetic thatch is more expensive. Palm thatch is the most popular choice for theme décor, especially when it comes to Tiki huts or Tiki bars. There are different varieties of palm leaves to choose from, the best being palms that have leaves similar to a queen, king, or kentia palm.
Palm fronds are long and finger-like coming off the main leaf stalk.
You also have a variety of sizes. You can purchase palm thatch in square sections: either, 3' x 4' or 4' x 4'. There are also rolls of palm thatch available: 30" x 22' or 30" x 57'. It’s best to calculate the square footage of your roof first, so you are aware of how much thatching is required. It is helpful to purchase an additional 10%, just in case. If your roof is a unique size, you may want to get a bit extra to avoid having to use small pieces of palm thatch. You can even purchase treated palm thatch you can that is fire retardant if that is a concern for you.
When it comes to thatching your roof, you have options, keeping your roof dimensions in mind. If you are using a plywood base, you can easily staple the thatch directly to the roof. There are other methods that might make it easy to attach and remove the thatch.
For example: the use of wood lathing, 2" wide x 1/4" thick x 8' long. Lay the thatching on the roof and then place the lathing over the palm thatch every foot. Screw the lathing down using rubber gasket screws into the joists. You can also use chicken wire over the palm thatch and attach the chicken wire at the outside edges of the roof. If you are not using a plywood roof and have an open roof between joists, you need support under the thatch, at least ever 4 inches, or so.
Tips to make your thatching water resistant:
Thatch is often installed on a plywood base. The plywood helps make the roof water resistant. If you do not have a plywood base, you have a few alternatives. You can use two or three layers of thatch, staggering the thatch. Or you might use a layer of transparent plastic between two layers of thatch. Face one thatch layer down and the other up so that the plastic layer in between is not visible.
The photographs used in this and most of the blogs are merely visuals to see what a panel or material option might look like. The photos are not directly related to the instructions and tips above or the other blogs in this site.