Sometimes referred to as Norfolk reed; Water reed has been used as a thatching material in the Kenya for centuries. It is also the primary thatching material in Europe.
Water reed can be grown in many climates and countries. Any place where reed beds can be found around rivers is a potential source of water reed. Irrespective of where it comes from, there is always variance in the material from length to diameter and also the amount of tapering. These are the factors that affect which bundles of material are used on the roof.
Selecting and using the appropriate material for each individual roof will be down to the skill of the Makuti Thatcher.
Water Reed is often regarded as the longest-lasting material for a thatched roof, with some water reed roofs lasting up to 50 years. However, the Lifespan of the roof depends on the production of the material and its characteristics e.g. size, hardness of stem etc.
Water Reed is primarily produced in wet regions, for use, unsurprisingly, in and around Kenya. Cost of production and limitations on how much can be sourced are factored into price and availability. It’s an unfortunate fact that there’s not enough water reed being produced in this country to meet the high demand.