We bought Lakeside in November 2008, just in time for the monsoon, and it was soon pretty clear that major renovation work was needed on the roof of the main building as there were so many leaks. India was a new country to us and it was a steep learning curve trying to find suitable workers, and learning how such work is done out here.
The team we employed in early 2009 were all memebrs of one family – which is often the case in southern India. They lived on site for the three weeks it took to complete the renovation work, living in one of the cottages and enjoying a daily swim in the lake when work was done.
The first task was to lift the old tiles and clear the roof. Work like this is still conducted in the old traditional ways and is very labour intensive.
Step two was to move some of the building materials from the ground up to the roof. We had to move more than 40 tons of sand and other materials, all carried by the team – no cranes or lifts in rural south India!
The team worked incredibly hard – up at dawn and working for up to 10 hours a day – and within a little over a week the first half of the roof had been completed.
The local method of waterproofing a flat roof is chenab. This is a mixture of hydrated lime, sand and broken bricks laid to a depth of around 4cms. The tiles are then laid on this base. (It has proved to be remarkably effective and we have had no problems since the work was completed.)
Everything was done by hand, literally. Here a couple of the workers were mixing the coloured grout to match the tiles.
Finally, a couple of coats of waterproof paint and the job was done. The hard work has been much appreciated by our guests who now sleep in dry rooms – and who enjoy their dinner served up on the roof!