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April 12, 2024 4 min read

A gazebo is built for peace, structure, and utility, but stress and expense are the more likely outcomes if done incorrectly. For those seeking to build a DIY gazebo on your property, one of the most essential structural decisions you must make is which roofing material to use.

The roof will primarily determine your investment's structural integrity and longevity, and engineered thatch is the perfect solution. Merging the charm and elegance of thatch with the durability and practicality of modern science, engineered thatch sets the standard for gazebo roofing materials. But what is engineered thatch, and how will it help your DIY gazebo have a longer lifespan? Read on to learn what our experts have to say.

What is Engineered Thatch?

Thatch roofing is traditionally made from layers of vegetative materials such as straw, water reed, sedges, rushes, or palm fronds. It has been used for thousands of years throughout human history, from English countryside cottages to Polynesian tiki huts, owing to the materials’ natural availability, shelter effectiveness, and design simplicity.

It was popular in the past and remains so to this day. Thatch roofing has evolved to meet and even exceed the expectations of modern roofing materials, offering both aesthetic and functional quality. It has natural insulation, keeping homes warm in the winter and cool in the summer—a testament to its green, energy-saving potential. It’s also versatile in dynamically fitting any architectural implementation or roof structure.

Engineered thatch retains all the benefits of natural thatch, which made it famous in the first place, and combines it with modern manufacturing and development techniques. Engineered thatch is an alternative that keeps the look and feel of natural thatch roofing but is built to last twice as long and have resistance against the primary downsides and dangers of natural thatch.

Benefits of Engineered Thatch

There are several benefits of engineered thatch over natural thatch, such as its weather and fire resistance, pest resistance, and overall low maintenance, but there are also many positives when compared with standard roofing materials such as tile and shingles. The benefits of engineered thatch include:

  • Cost: Engineered thatch can have a higher initial cost compared to standard roofing materials like asphalt shingles, but its durability, longevity, and low need for maintenance pay off in the long run. Furthermore, engineered thatch is lightweight, which can lead to lower initial construction costs.
  • Durability: Engineered thatch is created using a patented formula that protects the roof from rot, decay, extreme weather conditions, and fading color. It is made from class A fire-resistant materials and can withstand category 5 hurricane winds, far more than most roofing materials can boast. 
  • Eco-Friendliness: Engineered thatch is made from responsibly sourced and fully recyclable materials, and it is manufactured using sustainable practices that minimize the potential carbon footprint. 
  • Aesthetics: Like many other classic building materials, thatch brings a timeless charm that is hard to substitute and will never go out of style. 
  • Utility: Engineered thatch takes practicality to the next level. This roofing type has natural insulation properties that conserve energy and heat, making your home more efficient for lower energy expenses. Engineered thatch is also fire-resistant - able to withstand extremely high heat and repel fire. 

The Relationship Between Roofing and Structural Health

By selecting roofing materials that will stand the test of time, you give your structure the best chance to have the most extended lifespan possible. This is because the health and longevity of a structure are directly related to its roof.

A good roof provides:

  • Protection: The roof is the barrier between the interior structure of your DIY gazebo and the exterior elements. A good roof will keep wind, rain, snow, ice, branches, and debris from entering the inside of the gazebo, which could otherwise lead to leaks, mold, and mildew (all causing structural damage and instability). 
  • Temperature Efficiency: Without a good roof, your structure can be exposed to harsh temperatures. Harsh temperatures, such as extreme heat and direct sunlight, can cause interior structures to become brittle; a roof that stands against extreme heat will benefit the rest of the structure.

Engineered thatch is an excellent choice for roofing a new DIY gazebo, but it’s also an acceptable route should your existing gazebo need a replacement roof. Your current roofing system may need a replacement if it’s damaged/ missing shingles, has extensive stains, or is reaching the end of its expected lifespan (an average of 10-20 years, depending on the roofing material). Even if you have a new natural thatch, the fire, weather, and pest damage that can occur is worth considering an immediate switch to an engineered thatch.

DIY Engineered Thatch Installation?

Engineered thatch roofing is easy to install and can be successfully installed DIY. If you’re wondering about making the entire gazebo on your own, the TikiTops Palapa Kit, an all-in-one DIY gazebo, is designed to be constructed by a small team with only some experience in roofing. You will need a high-capacity impact drill/driver, at least two stepladders, and 2-3 helpers. Most outdoor improvement contractors can quickly assemble the kit or your own DIY gazebo design if it’s outside your skill and comfort level. 

Engineered thatch, alone, has a very similar installation process to asphalt shingles and can be installed by one individual with essential roofing experience and the correct equipment. Read our insight into installing VIVA engineered thatch roofing, or check out our install video

The Bottom Line

Ensure your current or future gazebo has the best opportunity for the most extended lifespan possible. Investing in roofing materials such as engineered thatch guarantees that your gazebo will stand the test of time, both aesthetically and functionally.

If you have any more questions, or if you or someone you know is planning the construction of a gazebo, don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team of professionals at TikiTops. Experts in all things thatch roofing, we guarantee your vision comes to fruition.

Beyond Blue
Beyond Blue

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