Old Cape Dutch House Converted from Thatch to Roof Sheeting

We converted this old Cape Dutch Style roof in the Eastern Cape, from Thatch to Roof Sheeting

This thatch roof conversion was on a big family home in Komani (formerly Queenstown). The roof was converted from thatch to corrugated aluzinc roof sheeting, transforming the entire look of the home.

Thatch roof which has been converted to aluzinc roofing
Thatch Roof Converted to Roof Sheeting, Eastern Cape

The original roof design was fairly complex with many hips and valleys. Our clients found that the thatch on the roof needed consistent maintenance (especially in areas around the valleys). They therefore took the decision to convert from thatch to another roofing product.

How to Convert from Thatch – More Information

What Roof Conversion Systems Can You Use?

We offer three systems to convert from thatch:

  • over-sheeting – the original roof and thatch is overlaid
  • structure stays – the original roof structure is retained, new roofing and ceilings are installed
  • renovate/ reconstruct – the original roof structure is dismantled and the roof is re-designed and installed

Find out more about each system on our Thatch Roof Conversions page.

The existing thatch on the roof in Komani was in a fair condition therefore the thatch could be over-sheeted. When over-sheeting, the thatch roof is kept totally intact and a new roof is built over the top of it. This system is popular because it has much less effect on the inside of the home while the work takes place.

The original thatch on the roof was in a fair condition, which means that we were able to over-sheet
The original thatch on the roof was in a fair condition therefore we were able to over-sheet

For this system to be effective and problem free, the thatch must be in a good condition. It needs to be:

  • Dry (not showing signs of rot or damp)
  • No signs of mites or infestation

In some cases, an older roof or a thatched roof that is not in great condition, can be maintained to improve it’s condition so that over-sheeting is possible.

Which Roofing Product Can You Use?

The choice of roofing product when over-sheeting a thatched roof depends on the original roof design. If the roof has lots of curves we recommend using a flexible product like Onduvilla tiles. For roofs with straight angles and edges there are more options including Metrotiles, corrugated sheeting such as Aluzinc or even Shingles.

The original design of the roof in Komani was quite traditional in the Dutch style and although it had many valleys, it was also designed with straight edges and angles. Our clients therefore decided to cover the roof with AZ200 corrugated roof sheeting.

Thatched roof in the process of being covered with roof sheeting
This roof design has straight angles and edges and suits the use of corrugated roof sheeting for the conversion.

The Process of Covering a Thatched Roof

Here’s an idea of the process that we use when covering a thatched roof with the over-sheeting system:

  1. Build a light weight timber substructure over the top of the existing thatch
A light-weight timber structure is built over the original thatched roof
A light-weight timber structure is built over the original thatched roof

2. Add horizontal timber branderings to the timber structure to hold the new roofing product

Thatch Roof with timber structure built over the top
Horizontal branderings are added to the timber structure

3. If there are drainage valleys in the roof design, install these roof sections

Drainage valleys are installed to ensure that the roof can drain properly
Drainage valleys are installed to ensure that the roof can drain properly

4. Apply the new roofing product and appropriate fixings. On this project we used AZ200 to over-sheet the thatched roof which comes with matching roof screws and caps to blend with the roof when it’s completed.

Roof sheeting is installed on top of the timber structure
Roof sheeting is installed on top of the timber structure

5. Install the roof and hip ridging. Most roofing products come with matching ridge sections for this purpose.

Hip ridging is installed where the corners meet
Hip ridging is installed where the corners of the roof sheeting meet

The Extra Little Details that Transform this Roof!

This particular roof is a beautiful example of a conversion because of a few little details that really finish off the look of house. The first is:

Premium Roof Sheeting with Colorplus® Technology

Aluzinc roof sheeting is currently a popular choice with our clients for all roofing projects, not just roof conversions. It has a slick, clean look and is available in a range of colours – the most popular of which is Thunderstorm. Colorplus® technology keeps the colour vivid over time, even in our extreme African climate.

The Parapet Wall Flashing

The straight, clean lines where the roof sheeting is sealed against the parapet walls and the light wall paint colour meets the Thunderstorm blue of the roof sheeting, really add a neat, clean finish.

Matching Fascias in Thunderstorm Blue

The lip under the edge of the roof sheeting has matching fascia boards in Thunderstorm blue so that the roof is finished with a neat edge.

The Eave Ceilings

The eave ceilings are the area between where the wall meets the roof sheeting at the top, and the roof sheeting overhangs. Our standard practice is to leave the thatch visible in these areas when over-sheeting a roof. However, a really beautiful way to finish these sections is to install eave ceilings that cover the thatch and poles.

The Eave Ceilings
The eaves are closed in with Nutec boards to cover that poles and thatch and finish the roof off neatly

We have developed a system that uses textured Nutec boards to create eave ceilings which, while neat and tidy, also match the style of our thatched roof conversions well. The boards are installed with the wood-grain texture running at a 90° angle to the walls. This allows us to join the boards neatly without joining strips so that the eaves are “seamless” all the way around the house. The corners join in a symmetrical triangular pattern which adds style to the ceilings.


In Conclusion

If you’ve fallen out of love with your thatched roof, it can be transformed with a roof conversion. It’s important to always consult a professional roofer who is experienced in the process and can advise you on the most appropriate system to convert from thatch.

If you’re thinking of converting your roof but have questions, leave us a comment below – we’ll do our best to help!

12 thoughts on “Old Cape Dutch House Converted from Thatch to Roof Sheeting

  1. Our thatch roof insurance is killing us. 20 yrs old this year. We need a change. Please contact us for a quote

    1. Hi Brendan! Thanks for taking the time to read our post – I’m sorry to hear that you’re experiencing problems with your thatched roof. Please check your inbox – we would love to assist you with a quotation.

      1. Hi there,

        What information would you need to send a quote for a over-sheeting conversation on a thatch roof?

        Gabriella Grieve

        1. Hi Gabriella,

          Thanks for your comment and question – we need to know where the roof is situated, get a copy of the plans (or a sketch with rough dimensions) and see a few recent pictures of the thatch so that we can see the shape of the roof and the current condition of the thatch.

          I will email you directly – please look out for an email in your inbox!

          Kind regards,


  2. Very exciting. Two questions:

    1. What was the cost for the the conversion to roof sheeting for the house in the Eastern Cape?

    2. So you work in Johannesburg?

    1. Hi Jon,

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment on our article. The roof conversion on this project cost in the region of R 345 000.00 (excluding VAT). We are based in the Eastern Cape but are able to work nationwide on larger projects. Look out for an email in your inbox from me – I will make contact to ask for more details.

      Kind regards,


  3. Would love to convert my existing lapa to something more durable .do you work in the Johannesburg area.

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for your message and for taking the time to read our article. We are based in the Eastern Cape but work nationwide on larger projects. For more information please drop me an email info@bosazzaroofing.co.za.

      Many thanks,


  4. Hi
    Have a 280 m 2 thatched roof. Mainly squared and straight edges
    Looking at the shingles and oversheeting if possible? And if so what cost. Outer layer Thatched again 5 years ago. Good condition

    Or alternate suggestions???

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