Thatch has been a widely used building material for hundreds of years. It is environmentally friendly, economically viable and decoratively useful. Originally, thatch was enlisted to protect homes from hostile climates all over the world. Today, thatch is used by indoor and outdoor decorators to create an island-like setting and a feeling of tropical abandon in restaurants and homes alike.
Most thatch comes from countries and regions near the equator, like Mexico, Africa and Tahiti, where the hollow grasses and palm leaves used for weaving are readily available. Since the material for constructing thatch does not need to be mined or quarried, there is no waste produced in the construction of thatch. In fact, most thatching material is simply picked up off the ground after it has fallen off a tree because it is drier, stronger and easier to work with.
The construction of thatch naturally creates air pockets that ultimately make thatch a high-quality insulator. This originally unintentional side effect conveniently keeps the refuge of a palapa cool during the summer and warm through the winter. The surprisingly durable grass is also supremely weather resistant. Hollow reeds do not absorb water through a rainstorm and when placed on an angle of 50 degrees or steeper, force water to drip down and off the structure, ensuring that the thatch maintains its shape and does not become soggy or flimsy. Thatch is equally capable of enduring intense heat as it simultaneously creates shade and relief from the sun; it also fades to a nice shade of gray.
While thatch is obviously environmentally practical, it is also widely used in commercial, retail and private establishments to create an island ambiance. Tropical-themed bars, restaurants and parties never go out of style as everyone is always game for a luau. Thatch is easy to install and can be secured to just about any surface with nails, ties or glue to immediately evoke tropical imagery and the need for mai-tai. Use thatch panels to insulate or accent an empty wall, a thatch top cone to add life to an old umbrella or a runner roll to create a unique border for your backyard or party space. With so many styles and configurations to choose from, you’re sure to find a thatch piece to suit your decorative and/or practical needs while simultaneously maintaining or initiating a “green” lifestyle.