Alang Alang thatching has been used in Indonesia for hundreds of years on the islands of Bali, Lombok, Sumbawa, Timor and Sumba as a traditional system of roofing. The ridge or peak of the roof is finished with decorative terracotta capping pieces. The drooping eaves are cut horizontally to create the traditional Balinese roof. The Alang Alang roof offers good insulation against heat and is very attractive to look at, and commonly has a life span of seven or eight years.
However the life span is largely affected by the following factors:
- quantity of material used to fabricate the original elements,
- the pitch of the roof (should be 30 degrees min)
- wind damage
- Overhanging trees that both drop leaves and prevent the outer surface from drying during sustained periods of rain.
Timber shingles can easily blend into both tropical and contemporary settings and can have a 15-20 year lifespan with very little maintenance. Shingles are usually from Indonesia and have a diamond shape finish that is lined internally with bamboo weave matting, giving a very neat tropical look.