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What is the difference between the thatching companies?

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Home » Oz Thatch Answers » What is the difference between the thatching companies?

What is the difference between the thatching companies?

1. What is the difference between thatching companies?

There are quite a few good quality thatching companies to choose from, this guide should assist you in dealing with a reputable company and not getting ripped off by a few unscrupulous companies that unfortunately seem to pop up regularly and disappear just as quickly.

The best way to deal with this is by covering a few topics about what you may be told in a sales pitch and what the reality is.

Firstly, thatching companies are split into 3 categories

Local Manufacturers / bulk thatch importers (Oz Thatch)

Importers of Balinese fabricated complete hut kits

Resellers that purchase from either of the above then mark up the price and retail the huts.

(See other questions for the for's and against's of these categories)

Another big difference is installers, we have used the same 3 installation crews for the past 7 years, they work exclusively for Ozthatch and we stand behind their work 100%

You will find in the fine print of other companies that they use subcontractors and under their warranty you are left to try and track down and deal with that sub contractor if you have any problems, the Thatch company you dealt with and paid wipe their hands of you after the product is delivered to site.

I cant emphisize enough to carefull read the warranty terms and conditions of any company you are considering.

A) Kicker Bar (Kicker board) or not.

A kicker bar is a strip of timber around the bottom of the rafters to support the thatch overhang, some companies that use this design claim all sorts of advantages such as longer thatch life, more thatch overhang etc, the reallity is they do that because you dont have to be as accurate building the frame, the rafters just sit over the ring beam instead of joining neatly into it, but the disadvantages are this method reduces the space between the posts and creates a perfect nesting place for birds.

At Ozthatch our standard design has the rafters joining flush into the ring beam and uses the ring beam as the kicker to support the thatch, we feel this is a neater design and keeps the overall roof height slightly lower and maximises the distance between the posts creating the maximum usable space and leaves nowhere for birds to nest.

Our frames need to be more accurately cut to fit together correctly but it makes the overall frame a stronger design when finished.

At the end of the day neither method will have any real effect on your thatch life, both designs rely on a piece of timber to support the thatch overhang, any company that tells you otherwise is giving you a sales pitch not good honest advice.

If for some reason your requirement is to have the rafters over the ring beams which requires a "Kicker board" to support the thatch we will gladly build it to your requirements at no additional cost.

B) Thatch Quality

Everyone will tell you they use premium grade thatch, what we can tell you (and provide proof) is we have our own growers in Bali that grow thatch exclusively for Oz Thatch, we believe from our past experience this is the only way our product quality can be maintained, almost every other company in Australia uses the same wholesale exporter in Bali who is more concerned with volume than quality.

Why is thatch quality important? more than anything else, the thicker and denser the thatch the longer your roof will last. Our thatch strip grass is over a meter long and very dense. We are proud to show you our quality in our warehouse, we strongly advise you to compare this with other companies (not the sample they will show you in the office, the real quality in the warehouse). Thatch strip spacing is also relevant here, the closer you space the strips the thicker your roof ends up. We use thatch up to 50% thicker / longer than most others and space the strips at 65mm apart.

If any company is not up front about the actual spacing they use it is probably because they are skimping on quantity to cut costs.

We guarantee our roof thatch will be over 300mm thick when installed, and we urge shoppers to call in and get a free sample of our thatch to take away and compare quality.

String colour is another guide, Thatch with black string is C grade thatch, the black string rots after a few years and the thatch falls apart, any companies using black string thatch are cutting every last cent and have no regard for quality. Black string thatch is usually shorter and much thinner thatch.

C) Shortcuts

Many companies take short cuts to minimise the cost, these are not always visible in the sales yard or display, a good example is the hip thatching called mudbugs, most companies use plastic cable ties to hold these together, a couple of years in the outdoors the cable ties break and you have a major repair on your hands, we take an extra few hours during installation and securely tie these with stainless wire, from the outside the finished product looks the same but 18 months later there is a huge difference.

Ask your thatching company how they tie the mudbugs, if they use cable ties ties you can be sure you are dealing with a company that puts cost savings ahead of quality that will last.

D) Stain

We proudly use and reccomend Cooee Timbertreat, it is a certified 100% organic certified timber treatment with stain / UV inhibiting and termite resistant qualities, Cooee is a botique QLD based manufacturer that are not well known but produce a very high quality range, you may have seen another company rubbishing the Cooee brand and promoting the generic supermarket brands that are cheaper and easier to source, this particular operater has only been building Bali huts for just over a year but took over a sales yard business that has been operating off and on at that site for many years, we find it strange that a guy with under 2 years experience can advise people on "Proven methods, products and life spans" and claim 26 years in the industry, It should warn you about the difference between marketing jargon, and experienced advice.

Cooee Timbertreat is available in a range of colours, click on the link here or cut and paste into your browser to read more about Cooee products

Oz Thatch has been in continious operation for over 15 years, trading as Oz Thatch for over 12 years so we believe that gives us a major advantage in testing and design advice.

E) Premises

We operate from our own fully owned premises, not a rented display site with a short term lease, be cautious of companies that dont have a permanent base, past history has proven them to be more likely to be in it for a quick quid, not for long lasting reputation and quality products.

F) Warranties

There is a current trend by some to offer extraordinary warranties, be careful, this is most likely due to the fact that they know they won't be there in 5 or 10 years to honour it.

A warranty is only as good as the company that gives it, Oz Thatch is a small family owned and operated company that has been in continuous operation for 15 years, again many thatch companies falsely claim that they have been going for 10, 15, 20 years but a little research will usually show you the truth. they open up, make all sorts of unrealistic promises then every few years close down and re open under a different name to avoid having to honour promises made and to escape the bad reputation they have built.

Oz Thatch has been continiously trading under the same name for over 12 years and we are proud that we have survived the test of time.

READ THE FINE PRINT,  many warranties sound great until you need to use it, for example one company offers "FULL MONEY BACK GUARANTEE" but when you read the fine print you have 24 hrs from delivery to make a claim and the package containing the Bali Hut kit must be returned unopened.

Looks great at first glance but in reality it is a deceiving advertising gimmick that is worthless, that should ring your alarm bells about the deceptive marketing used by some companies.

G) BSA Builders Licence

Oz Thatch BSA  Licence no 1132118 Honestly this means almost nothing !!!

More importantly, is who is the licence holder the company are using to supervise and sign off on the jobs.

To obtain a company licence under Qld law a company simply must have a licensed builder supervising all jobs, this is a loop hole exploited by many companies to get by the regulations and obtain a licence, they simply pay any licensed builder to use his licence No, he does not have to work for or be employed by the company so there is really no licensed person organising or supervising your job.

At Oz Thatch the owner of the company is the licensed builder Stuart McColl Builders Licence No 1132119

You can check all this out on the BSA website and discover if the person that is building and installing your hut has a vested interest in maintaining quality, or is some unrelated builder collecting a few extra bucks on the side for use of his BSA No.

Even worse, some companies do not even have a BSA licence, this potentially could leave you uninsured and with no legal recourse in the event of a problem. 

H) Pools, Spas and other stuff.

You should use a company that builds Bali Huts for a living,

Our focus is building high quality Bali Huts, we are not a Pool or Spa shop that sells someone elses Bali Huts, we do have a display yard that carries all the accessories you might need to ladscape your entire area such as pots, water features and Bamboo products but our main focus is Bali Huts.

I) Gimmicks

We offer quality products and service, we don't give away flashy gimmicks like discount holidays, expensive interest free terms, and other giveaways designed to take your focus off what you are really looking for, a quality, fairly priced thatched roof hut.

Logic will tell you that these giveaways cost money, they might seem free on the surface but you will generally find they have compromised quality somewhere else to be able to throw in these freebies.

It is a sales gimmick to entice in the unwary, we have found if you sell quality products you don't need gimmicks to make a sale.

J) Sales Staff

At Ozthatch the owners of the business will be the person answering your phone enquiry, inspecting your site and personally dealing with you from start to finish of your project.

You can ring and get good quality advice from the person that has the knowledge, we don't employ sales people that only care about "getting a sales commission" or don't really have a thorough knowledge of the product

K) Sales Jargon and Ethics

We are a "No pressure sales company", an enquiry with us will not result in repeated high pressure sales calls, propaganda email spam telling you how great we are and how bad some other companies are.

We will assist with quotes and advice when asked, we will then leave you in peace to make an intelligent, informed decision in your own time frame.

We hope this section has been useful to in assisting you to make a sensible informed decision on your purchase.

You will find many Thatching companies offer reasonable service and quality products, but unfortunately there are a few unscrupulous companies more interested in a quick $ than quality products and service, if you can successfully sort out who these are, you will end up with product that is good quality that lasts for many many years.