A deeper look at fires, thatched roofing and safety…

In a previous article title – Sparks, wood for fireplaces and tree types! – I looked briefly at fires in thatched roofing and some of the causes…

I will now discuss some of these subjects in a little more depth.

There are a number of differing causes for thatched roofing fires. From the types of wood being burnt in house stoves / fireplaces to the design of the fireplace.

Home heating has evolved in the past 100 years – increased insulation and fireplace efficiency are factors with which older chimneys cannot manage and thus thatched roofs for buildings of this kind can suffer fire through heat transfer!

With older flues, magnetic thermometers can be fitted at the main exit, to measure the temperature of the passing gases. This is most certainly not a full proof prevention, but it could help to prevent a fire…

Thatched roofing should be regularly maintained by a professional thatcher – the location of your property can affect the frequency of this as could the materials used in the thatching. (It is advisable to check with a professional thatcher for your specific requirements)

A completely new thatched roof can help to prevent a future fire. With new thatched roofs, it is common that fire resistant insulation boards are laid before the thatch is put in place. It is important to check the details, as to my knowledge, these boards only offer a small amount of fire protection.

It is strongly advised that smoke detectors are fitted in the highest point of the roof – the alarm system should be wired such that notification alarms can be placed in viable places, such as; bedrooms and other living spaces, kitchen and bathrooms – your alarm system should also be mains-wired, with an uninterruptible power supply, for backup!

Electrcal systems and thatched roofing

Your house electrical system should be maintained regularly by an NICEIC approved electrical engineer and only essential conduit fitted electric cable should run through the roof space – bare cable should NEVER be attached to the rafters holding the thatch in place!

Television aerials should have a long enough pole that separates it from the roof – electrical fires caused by storms and lightning strikes are very rare, but not unheard of – therefore a lightning conductor should also be fitted. (Check the full details with your supplier)

General safety for you thatched roof

It is common place these days, that people have barbecues… I do!

What better, than on a sunny day, relaxing in the garden with a cold one and juicy burger!


Barbecues (and bonfires for that matter) can be extremely dangerous when situated too close to a building with a thatched roof! It is important to remember that having a barbecue also coincides perfectly with the conditions required for a roof fire… Build wise – always situate your barbecue in a safe place with ample distance from your house. If embers do rise, then there should be no risk of fire!

As a last note; if you’re a smoker, then always extinguish smoking materials before you go to bed. Candles are great, but always use caution.. It wouldn’t be so great if a 49p candle cost you your house!

I hope this article has been useful?

Take care, 😉 Buck!

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Stone for fireplaces – Part 2

In my previous article on stone for fireplaces I introduced the Travertine stone. In this article, I will be disgussing Portuguese Limestone, passing particular reference to Moca Creme and Semi Rigio – there are several others, but these seem to be the most popular!

Portuguese limestone is a beautifully smooth, almost white stone and as its name hints, 😉 is from Portugal.

Quality grades of Portuguese limestone have only slight veining within – blemishes found in other grades, should not be sold on the market!

Take a look at the image below!

As can be seen from the image above; the veining is minimal and thus produces a smooth creamy effect – a stone found with large blemishes, demonstrates a different kind of effect (rather like porridge with melted sugar within) not a blend that is commonly recognised as aesthetically pleasing!

Incidentally; I went to a stone show recently and a competitor had some of their products on show – I Have always wondered why they have been able to under-cut our prices? (we always use the highest quality stone)

And then… 😉

It jumped out at me! Literally!

I suddenly noticed porridge-like blemishes within the sides of one of their show-pieces – there were no blemishes on the front of the fireplace, but down the sides they were hideous!!

What did they expect (I wondered)?

Maybe they expect their customers to have a permanent plant, or similar object placed conveniently next to the blemishes to cover them up!!

I could not believe my eyes – I now know how some of these online competitors can charge such low prices – be warned!

A quality fireplace!

A quality Portuguese Limestone Fireplace, should look like the one pictured here!

Of course, if cheap stone is what you are looking for then blemishes can be hidden, but it is not an ideal choice and could ruin the effect of your room!

I chose to put the this particular fireplace in as an example, as we fitted one last week. The durrington, of contemporary design and a great centre-piece to any room… The client was more than satisfied with the finished product and his room effect was wonderful!

I have to mention here; had he been given a fireplace that had the ‘porridge’ effect, then hey… It would probably have been a complete design disaster!

Some questions to ask sellers:

  1. Do you cut out all blemishes?
  2. Do you craft fireplaces from the same pieces of stone?
  3. Have you got a showroom where I can see your fireplaces on display?
  4. Have you got any testimonials from previous customers that I can read?

I hope this post is useful?

Hasta 😉 luego…

Published in: on July 16, 2008 at 1:16 pm  Comments (2)  
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A different type of fireplace customer!

I started work as usual today…

Walked in, checked the post and email and then got on with my list..

I made my usual ‘white, two sugars’ coffee and sat down to do a price for a fireplace and installation.


While I was sitting there I heard the main door open, but no customers were present, which I found a bit strange, but hey, I assumed that the door had been ajar and maybe the wind had caught it?

Mmm yer right!

The door (almost immediately afterwards), opened a second time… As I got up to shut it, I noticed two black and white kittens taking their own tour of our showroom 🙂

There seems to be a different animal here every week.. First ring doves and now cats! lol

It was a bit of a surprise I must say, but I suppose it was a pleasant surprise…

Unfortunately, I don’t actually have a picture of them but I found the following picture on google image search and they looked just like these two!

picture of two kittens from google

I love animals and I know I have said it before (on the ring doves post), but we truely are so lucky with our location!

I remember the days of commuting through London on a daily basis – it’s like a second job! 😉 – I still do have to travel to London for work engagements, but fortunately it’s not all of the time…

Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed learning about my cat experiences! 🙂 They are now back with their owner.. She said that they had escaped from the garden and couldn’t thank me enough for “saving the day” as she put it!

Until the next time…

Published in: on July 8, 2008 at 5:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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