In 1998 we acquired property in St. Francis Bay, a house on the canals with a thatch roof. In 2000, after I retired, we moved permanently to South Africa, and lived in our house. Over the years it became obvious that a house with a thatch roof, as comfortable as it is during summer, hardly is suitable for the winter months. It is much to drafty, and heating it is very ineffective. Without constant, and costly, maintenance the roof starts leaking and wind and weather take their toll.
So we had to make a decision when we wanted to stay on in St. Francis Bay: Either sell the house and look for other alternatives, or change the roof. As it turned out, simply replacing the thatched roof by a tiled one would require major alterations. Style and design would be drastically different – not to talk about the costs involved.
In 2014 we became aware of an alternative that promised to solve our problems: A shingle roof as it had been installed already on some houses in St. Francis Bay. We approached Chris Costanza, the owner of Wattle&Daub, the company that had built these roofs with a material originating from the US (Owens Corning). We got an agreeable quotation for our new roof, also agreed on a time frame, and got started. After about 4 month, from late August until early December, the new roof was completed, and our family from overseas came visiting for the Christmas holidays: Everyone agreed, the change was worth it: The house has kept its character, it even is more beautiful then before.
Since then we have gained some experience with our shingle roof: It is absolutely waterproof and it appears solid and durable. As it seems it was a good investment, and we will definitely keep our house in St. Francis Bay.
Dr. Hans J. Rosenkranz