How to Build a Thatched Palm Roof

Updated February 21, 2017

A thatched palm roof is made by weaving together palm leaves. Thatch roofs are inexpensive to make and can last for several years. Most roofs will need to be replaced after seven years, and some will need to be repaired each year. Thatched palm is a lightweight material that can be easily lifted and placed on a roof. The palm leaves, or fronds, are woven tightly to prevent leaks and are suitable for use on tiki huts and other decorative items.

Select fronds that are not dead or dry. The leaves should be supple. A brittle frond is not suitable for weaving because it will break or split during the weaving process.

Cut the fronds in half with a sharp knife. Lay the frond on a flat surface and cut along the middle of the frond down its spine. The cut spines should be of equal thickness.

Count five leaves from the end of the frond half and bend it near the spine in the opposite direction of its growth. Weave the bent leaf over the fourth leaf, under the third leaf, over the second leaf and under the first leaf. Count two leaves from the bent leaf and bend it in the same direction. Weave it over and under until you reach the first leaf. Count two leaves from the last bent and bend it. Weave it over and under until you reach the first leaf. Continue to count five leaves, two leaves and two leaves and repeat the bending and weaving process until you have woven together all the leaves. Repeat this process on the other half of the frond, but bend and weave the leaves in the opposite direction of the first frond.

Weave the ends of the leaves into the woven leaves by bending them backward and weaving them in and out of the underside of the thatching. Place the frond halves back to back. Tie them together with twine to make one thatched panel.

Tie the woven thatch panels to the bottom of the roof with twine. The spines of the fronds should create a horizontal row around the roof. Pull the twine around the spines of the fronds and tie it tightly to the roof. The bottom of the panels should hang several inches over the edge of the roof.

Place a second row of thatch panels over the top of the lower thatch panels. Tie the spines of the second row to the spines of the first row. Continue to add rows until you reach the top of the roof.

Fold woven thatch panels over the ridge of the roof. Place a thatch panel across the ridge of the roof and tie it to the beam across the ridge. Lay a second panel over it in the opposite direction. Tie it to the roof. Place another panel so that it overlaps half of the first two panels and tie it to the roof. Lay a fourth panel over it and tie it to the roof. Continue overlapping and tying thatch panels until the entire ridge is covered.

Things You'll Need

  • Palm fronds
  • Sharp knife
  • Twine
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About the Author

Amy Kingston has been a professional writer since 2001. She has written articles for various publications, including "Health" magazine, "Jackson Parenting" magazine, the "Bolivar Bulletin" newspaper and "A Musician's Pursuit." Kingston was also published in "Voices of Bipolar Disorder."