Thatching in the past
Thatching was the typical and prevalent method for building roof s (and often walls) of homes and farm buildings. Thatched roof was mostly made by countrymen or thatchers. Thatching did not require special qualifications, but the expertise of the thatcher was very important. Those workmen who had very good manual skills could become thatchers by helping older, more skilled workers during building roof. Thatchers traditionally built roofs and walls as well.
In the last century thatching gradually declined due to the decrease of the amount of its roofing material. However, thatch is still employed by builders in such areas, where there is great amount, easily available local vegetation for roofing material. Building thatched roof and wall provided for thatchers a kind of earnings supplement in those periods of the year, when people were not employed neither in farming industry nor in other areas.
First, thatch was fastened together in bundles. These were then laid on the roof in lines fastened tightly together with hempen ropes, but then with wire from the early nineteens. Thatching was started at the bottom of the roof by two thatchers. One of them was standing outside of the roof lying the bundles together with wires laced in steel needle. The other man, who was standing the inside area, took the needle with the wire, fastened the reed together in the bundles, then pushed the needle back to the worker outside. The layers were laid on the roof with e butt end facing out and secured to the roof beams, after which they were pegged in place with wooden or metal rods. The thatcher added the layers on top of each other, finishing with a layer to secure the ridgeline of the roof.This method meant thatched roofs were easy to repair, could endure wind and rain and only needed a stable supporting structure.
Thatched roofs were mostly built on the Little Hungarian Plain, on 'Mezofold' and the Great Hungarian Plain. In these areas thatch was the most popular roof covering material until the wide spreading of 'hard' materials like tiles. Thatchers were mostly employed in mansions, but sometimes in military buildings as well. Thatched roof was cheap, easy to make, made the building cool in summer and warm in winter.