Friday, November 9, 2012

Coconut thatched roof shelters are Eco-friendly

Coconut roof structures have been used in Amoor cottages, promoted by SEVAI.Coconut thatches are widely used because they are so copious and because they are naturally fitting for roofing. They are simple to process and easy to fix to a roof structure. Coconut thatches roofing lasts more than 4 years. They are outstanding for poor friendly homes. Some people tend to change to corrugated iron or other materials as soon as they can afford it and such material are not Eco-friendly. The Coconut thatches are used for roofing either in their natural form. Coconut thatches must be mature and dry before they are used for thatch. For thatching purposes coconut leaves are classified by the way that the leaf blades are attached to the stem. Coconut leaves are the most widely available thatching material in the humid tropics. Hundreds of millions of people rely on them. An average tree produces up to 40 leaves every year. The leaf comprises up to 200 leaf blades which grow, at an angle, to the leaf stem. A steep pitch of at least 45° is essential. The structure, which may most economically be made with timber or bamboo poles rather than sawn timber, needs to be strong enough to support up to 20kg/m2 of thatch. Horizontal battens are not needed for feather-type mats; the rafters need to be set about 500mm apart for mats that are 600mm long. As with all roofing, it is advisable to fix a batten of approximately 60mm thickness along the length of the leaves. This provides essential support for the first layer of thatch. A bamboo pole of this diameter will serve the same purpose. The process of laying feather type mats resembles tiling. Mats are tied to the rafters in overlapping layers starting at the eave. The thickness of the coat, and therefore the durability of the roof depend on the size of the overlap. There should be a maximum of 100mm between the mats; if sufficient material is available this gap should be reduced to 60mm. A skilled thatcher, with one assistant would expect to lay up to 500 mats per day. Seven working days, including ridging and tidying the site is sufficient for an average sized house. A steep roof with a thick thatch is more durable than a thin, shallow pitched roof. The higher cost of a steeper, thicker roof is more than offset by the increased life, but choice is always a trade-off between cost and performance. The advantages of coconut roofing are that thatching skills are widely known where palm leaves are available, and are easily learnt, repair and maintenance is straightforward. The coconut roofing thatch is light in weight, so roof timbering need not be very expensive. Their thermal insulation value is high, so coconut roofing thatches are comfortable in warm climates. This type of roof looks attractive, it blends well with the natural environment and, being a renewable material, is ecologically sound and Lightweight roofing is less dangerous in earthquake zones than monolithic, heavy roofing.-Govin

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