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DIY Roof Thatching

So you just came back from your Hawaiian vacation and you’ve decided you want to install your very own tiki hut or palapa. But what next? You could purchase a prefabricated thatch structure, or you could build your own. But how to install that pesky thatch? Well, ask and you shall receive. Here are some quick and easy guidelines for simple installation.

What You’ll Need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Thatch panels or runner rolls
  • Staple gun, nail gun or hammer and nails
  • Zip ties or electrical ties
  • Heavy duty scissors 
  • Long pants, long sleeves and gloves

What You'll Do:

 1. Wear long pants, sleeves and gloves to avoid potential cuts and scratches.

2. Measure the space you will be cover in feet and multiply by 2 (for double layering). Add about 10-15% on to the total and divide by the length in the feet of each thatch panel you will be using. This is how many panels or runner rolls you will need.

3. Make sure the surface you will be attaching the thatch to is flat, secure and free of debris. We recommend laying a piece of plywood over the structural skeleton and securing it with nails for the best application.

4. Cut the panels to fit the sides and corners using heavy duty scissors.

5. Starting at the very bottom of the structure, attach the thatch panel to the plywood by stapling or nailing the thatch at the base of the panel so that the length of the thatch hangs over the edge of the structure. Use staples or nails that are at least ½” long.

6. Lay each successive layer so that the top layer covers the base of the previous layer and work your way up to the top of the structure. If you are covering a palapa or other circular structure, spiral your way up from the bottom. For a rectangular roof, lay the outermost edge all the way around and work your way in.

7. As you work, you may need to attach the thatch to itself to cover seams or fix an irregular split. Use zip ties or electrical ties.

8. To clean the thatch: use a heavily diluted bleach and water solution in a spray bottle and gently spray the thatch to remove any unsightly mold.

Once finished, all you need is a chair, a towel and a Mai Tai and you are as good as back in the tropics! Natural thatch lasts anywhere from 1-6 years and can be easily replaced be part or by whole. For longer lasting options, check out our Viro Thatch products. Whatever style you choose, the tropical look will never go out of style and your home will only increase in value and beauty with the addition of a homebuilt tiki bar or palapa and thatched with tender love and care.





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