Once a week we pass by this thatched roof. I was surprised to see it stripped of all its thatching and preparations being made for a whole new thatch job. There are quite a few older homes in Lusaka that have roofs of thatch. Of course all the traditional round hut roofing is thatch. Now-a-days it is either the cheapest means to keep the roof's integrity, when you do it yourself on a smaller roof, or it can be quite labor intensive and costly to do it correctly on a larger home. Corrugated iron is the most common roof here. If you have a little money then corrugated "tiles" are baked with a nice color. Most are plain, noisy, hot galvanized iron, starting out metallic bright and slowly rusting in color.
These roofs last longer if they are steep. The rain water just sheets off and there is little time for soaking in or a chance for the wind to drive the water up and under.
The material used is very important. Cheap long straw can last up to 20 years, good uniform wheat straw up to 40 years and the thick reed about as round as a pencil can last from 55 to 65 years.
Of course the technique for installation is very important.
Most thatched roofs get two layers. A brow layer and a weathering layer.
Once it is all installed, and raked straight, then the art of trimming and shaping will take place.
I think I would want a safety harness on that steep roof.
Inside is neat and dry.
At the apex a cap is installed. It used to be the signature of the thatcher by how it was all secured and stitched down, usually with a netting to keep the birds from disturbing it.
The cap is the key and this one is made of mortar. Although the roof can last 50 plus years the cap and minor repairs will have to be looked into every ten years.
When I was in England for two years I loved the thatched roofed houses. I was really fascinated with the old skills that are passed on. I am certain that was what really attracted me to Kristi, when I found out that she was actually born in a home with a thatched roof.
In 2006 we took our kids over to have a look at their heritage and finding the house with a few new additions made to it was a real treat. It is possible that some of that thatch was there in 1947 with one of the twin girls peacefully dreaming about her future husband.
(Remember, it's MY blog.) :^)