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Faux Thatch Roof Idea

 
Posts: 5
Location: Earthaven Ecovillage, NC
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Hi Everybody, I'm designing a little tea house/office, maybe 70 square feet. I love the idea of a thatch roof- no need for a stove/fireplace/chimney; open fire in the center of the space, Japanese iroristyle.
Only trouble is it requires tremendous skill and the right materials, SO...

How about a clerestory metal roof, only open (no window), with an attic. I'm talking an ordinary metal, purlins, rafters kinda roof, then ceiling joists (what the attic floor would be built onto) with hardware cloth laid on them, and then...

just fill the attic with straw bales! Tons of insulation, smoke keeps out the critters, smoke meats...

What do y'all think?
 
Sam Del Vecchio
Posts: 5
Location: Earthaven Ecovillage, NC
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Here's my main specific question:

Does anyone know what it's actually like to be in a thatch roofed space with an open fire? Does the smoke pool in the ceiling and then slowly filter up through it without smoking up the space? And, while we're at it, how do those Japanese irori work? I mean, how is it that there aren't sparks popping out onto the tatami mats?
 
pollinator
Posts: 283
Location: the mountains of western nc
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the thatched roofs i'm most familiar with, caribbean palapas, are an A-frame in shape and open on the ends, if you wanted cover the ends and wanted to vent smoke, you could leave gaps at the top at both ends. maybe orienting to prevailing winds could help too? good thick thatch of the more classic european type probably wouldn't breathe enough to let smoke out (i suspect - that statement is not from experience). if the roof/ceiling is high enough maybe it wouldn't matter as much? but then it wouldn't give as much protection from precipitation when there's wind.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1583
Location: northern California
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Proper thatch is laid carefully in overlapping courses of bundles.  It is quite a skill to do well.  I found myself deeply impressed multiple times in Bangladesh by standing there perfectly dry with two inches thickness of rice straw between me and a monsoon downpour!!  But the smoke from cooking readily penetrates it.  Now that is thin thatch, and in a cold climate you want thick thatch, so that you also have the insulation value, but I think the design is similar, only the bundles are thicker and there are more layers.  But I think the stuff is still parallel, and that might have something to do with enabling smoke to escape.  Maybe some sort of vent was designed at the roof ridge in some of the old European places, too.  I'm afraid your straw bales packed in overhead wouldn't let the smoke out, since the straw is short and packed in every which way.  But you might be able to leave a gap directly over the fire somehow and direct it to a vent?
gift
 
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