Thatched houses are more vulnerable to fire risk than those covered with other materials, and it is therefore imperative that precautions be taken to reduce the risk. Insurance costs can be higher due to this factor. The process of thatching is more labor intensive than other methods of roofing, affecting the overall cost.
Being an organic material, thatch is susceptible to decay and decomposition and precautions must be taken to minimize the possibility of this process taking place. In warm, wet climates thatch is prone to fungal attacks.
Animals can cause damage. Birds looking for food, gathering nest-making materials or nesting in the roof itself becomes a greater possibility when the plant material is not processed appropriately for its intended use. Rodents can cause extensive damage when present in the house. The quality of design and building can greatly affect the performance of the roof. If built and/or maintained inadequately, then problems such as vulnerability to wind damage and prolonged damp conditions are issues.
Thatch can be maintenance intensive. The maintenance cycle varies based on thatch type, roof pitch, the degree of shade or exposure and the kinds of materials used.