Thatch roofs – keeping the tradition alive

The use of reed for roofing goes back to the first settlements on the Cayman Islands hundreds of years ago.

While this visually appealing material has moved out of the mainstream, its aesthetic is still used in contemporary cultural settings, homes that give a nod to the islands heritage, as well as outdoor buildings such as cabanas.

Made from the leaves of the national tree of the Cayman – the silver thatched palm – the roofing material is known for its waterproof properties, as well as salt tolerance and shade from the scorching Caribbean sun.

The thatch is layered by hand on the roof using a method passed down through generations of Caymanian artisans.

Silver cane used to be an essential part of Cayman’s economy, when it was also used to weave rope, which was exported, and to make shoes known as wompers, sun hats, and bags.

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