Beautiful Thatch Roof Substitutes

Traditional thatch roofing is arguably the most beautiful and natural looking roofing material available. You might well be surprised by the availability of alternative similar products that can be very innovatively used to create a specific look or be used at locations where this material might not be as readily available.


Makuti is a perfectly natural & ecological product. It is consists of coco palm leaves , knitted on the stem of the plant, which tastefully combine with the natural environment, due to their earthly color and their discreet natural perfume.

Makuti leaves come from Africa and they are used in constructions with techniques that have been used for centuries in many countries for ordinary thatching.

These leaves, as a raw material, is not considered to be a construction material although it has been tested for a long time against all weather conditions, presenting a great resistance towards rain, snow, strong winds and other weather phenomena. Except for the above qualities, as with ordinary thatching, makuti leaf constructions offer excellent insulation and sound absorbance.

When applied especially in rural environments, makuti leaves creates a unique result with constructions such as ecological roofs, umbrellas, pergolas, kiosks etc.

Unfortunately these leaves most of the time only has a 10 year life duration opposed to ordinary thatching which can easily last for 25 years, but the main reason for application would be its’ incomparable aesthetics in rustic or other specific environments where it can be very innovatively incorporated with the natural surroundings.


In the past few years architects & designers have become much more environmentally aware, and lately words like ‘sustainability’ ‘green architecture’ & ‘strawbale construction’ is used very often. It is not very common to have straw bale blocks as a roofing material but can be very innovatively used as can be seen in the pictures above (see below for website details).

Like wood, straw is produced by photosynthesis, a natural, non-polluting process which is fuelled by solar energy. Unlike wood, straw is annually renewable. Being a non-nutritious by-product of cereal grain farming, straw is often laid to waste and sometimes burnt, causing air pollution.

Straw bale construction is much faster and less labour intensive than conventional thatching. The battens are spaced further apart and thus less roof timber is used as well. Unlike conventional thatching, straw bale roof construction techniques are uncomplicated and easy to learn by unskilled people and do not require expensive tools.

Straw bales also do not pose a fire hazard as, having been compressed, they lack sufficient oxygen to support combustion.

Straw bale roof construction might well be an innovative substitute to ordinary thatching, in some places where aesthetics is not of that much importance and where a cheaper, faster and perhaps temporary solution is needed.