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, ūüėČ Buck!

Published in: on July 29, 2008 at 3:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Sparks, wood for fireplaces and tree types!

New Forest Timber

Trees, trees, glorious trees!




Which tree is best for burning eh? Beech, Oak, Ash..  Pine, Yew, Fir..




Hard wood is probably the best!

Soft wood such as; Pine or Fir¬†tends to¬†burn quickly and if still wet, can cause sparks –¬†this being particularly¬†dangerous,¬†for those houses with thatched roofs!

In reality, timber should be seasoned too, if it is to be used for burning in a wood stove / fireplace, although, seasoning the wood can be a resonably time-consuming process, as the wood needs to be properly dried before burning..


The drying game ūüėČ


The most common method for acheiving this, is for example;¬†given the timber was felled and cut-to-size¬†in the previous winter or¬†the present spring, then the wood, would¬†need to be sun-dried ’til the autumn!

It is usual that the wood is taken into¬†one’s house, a few weeks prior to burning, thus taking the drying process to the final level and therefore making it dry enough and safe enough, for your stove!

Bringing the wood into the house a few weeks before burning, means that the excess moisture, evaporates due to the wood being in a warm house Рthis process will help limit the sparks given off when burning it!


Flames,Fred Flame from By The Firesideflames Fred Flame from By The Firesideand.. More Flames! Fred Flame from By The FiresideFred Flame from By The FiresideFred Flame from By The Fireside


It is actually quite interesting how different types of wood, this being either soft wood or hard wood, can affect the look of a flame! For example; Soft wood such as, Pine or Fir, can produce a high wavey flame, whereas hard woods such as, Oak or Ash, more commonly display a lower-type flame!




What wood / timber is best for burning, in stoves / fireplaces?


Well.. That ole chestnut ūüėČ


A matter of choice really.. As with most things in life!

I prefer hard wood, as it tends to burn for longer – I don’t mind the low flames and my use is for heating my home!


High flames typically found when burning soft woods such as;¬†Pine,¬†could be required for some¬†applications, although it doesn’t¬†generally¬†burn for as long as hardwood, so for my¬†specific use, well..


There is only one choice!


Until the next time.. ūüėČ

Published in: on May 26, 2008 at 12:58 pm  Comments (1)  
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