New Thatched Roof on Holiday Cottage, Qolora

New thatched roof on beach cottage in the Eastern Cape of South Africa
New thatched roof on holiday cottage at Qolora, Eastern Cape

Who doesn’t dream of owning a holiday cottage on the beach? This rustic family beach house was given a new lease of life just in time for the summer. Situated in Qolora at the gateway to the Wild Coast, the house is the epitome of an old “Tranksei Cottage”. The thatched roof sits on thick, white washed cement walls with a large veranda overlooking the beach. Small rondavels complete the homestead.

At the end of last year, having hosted many a family holiday, the cottage was in dire need of some TLC. The thatched roof was in a terrible condition due to minimal maintenance over a long period of time. While the roof was being re-built, the owners took the opportunity to renovate other areas of the cottage including the veranda, kitchen and living areas.

Before work was done the thatched roof was is a bad condition with thatch falling out of the roof
BEFORE: The thatched roof was is a bad condition with thatch falling out of the roof

The thatched roof on the cottage was in a bad condition due to it’s age and minimal maintenance having been carried out on it for a long time. The roof was leaking, the thatch was very thin and the roof had too little compaction. This also caused reed to blow out of the roof in high winds. The existing pole structure was also failing.

New Thatched Roof Structure

This new roof structure is supported by upright poles installed inside the house.
This new roof structure is supported by upright poles installed inside the house.

We had to be very careful when re-designing the roof that we didn’t overload the walls. The cottage was built a long time ago and although the walls are thick, it’s very difficult to know how much weight they can bear. We also thatch in high quality Cape Reed which is a much heavier thatch than the local grass used previously. For this reason we decided to support the roof structure on upright poles which means that the weight of the roof does not put any pressure on the existing walls. The poles are installed along the inside walls of the house, this feature also lends itself to the rustic character of the cottage.

The old roof was totally stripped before the new pole structure could be built.

The old roof was stripped entirely.
The old roof was stripped entirely.

Scaffolding towers were erected to support the team while they built the new pole structure.

The king posts and main ridge beam were installed over the living area and bedrooms
The king posts and main ridge beam were installed over the living area and bedrooms

The new roof design extends the thatch over the kitchen area and back bedroom. This area previously had a flat roof.

The kitchen and back bedroom area had a flat roof before
BEFORE: The kitchen area had a flat roof
The new roof design carries the thatch over this entire area
The new roof design carries the thatch over this entire area

The pitch of the thatched roof was also raised which makes the roof a much more spectacular statement. This added height inside the house also makes it feel more open and spacious.

The Veranda Roof

The flat roof on the back veranda was reconstructed
The flat roof on the back veranda was reconstructed

The back veranda has a flat roof. The old roof and rafters were stripped entirely. New rafters and AZ200 aluzinc roof sheeting were installed. We used Iso-board ceiling boards under the roof sheeting which serves two purposes; they have high insulation properties and they look great!

Nutec ceiling boards have great insulation properties and also look great!
Isoboard ceiling boards have great insulation properties and also look great!

The veranda was finished off with fascia boards painted to match the colour of the roof sheeting – thundercloud.

The back veranda roof was finished off with matching fascia boards
The back veranda roof was finished off with matching fascia boards

Renovations Inside the House

While completing renovations inside the house we were given a very specific brief to retain the rustic, family-friendly character of the cottage.

Having spent holiday time in this cottage ourselves, the kitchen is truly where the heart of the home lies! Two internal walls were demolished to open up the inside living and kitchen space.

The old floors were extremely uneven. They were roughly leveled with rubble and cement before a self-leveling screed was applied. To completed the floors we installed an epoxy floor in light beige. This additional layer of flooring gives a neat, clean and warm finish to the living and kitchen space.

Electrical Renovations

When working on such an old house it’s clear that certain aspects will need to upgraded along the way. The electrical system in the holiday cottage needed to be upgraded and re-fitted entirely. New lights were also chosen for inside and outside the cottage.

The Rondavel was Re-thatched

The rondavel to the left of the cottage was re-thatched in Cape Reed
The rondavel to the left of the cottage was re-thatched in Cape Reed

The rondavel to the left of the cottage was also re-thatched during the renovation. The original pole structure was built solidly so the roof was stripped and re-thatched with Cape Reed.

A Final Lick of Paint

When the roofs and all renovations were completed we gave the house a new lick of paint. We often find that when we finish a new roof on a house, the paintwork both inside and out look “shabby” in comparison to the new roof. It’s always a great idea to budget for painting the house as well.

We painted the house inside and out when the new roof and renovations were completed
We painted the house inside and out when the new roof and renovations were completed

We completed this project in December 2018. For more information about our thatching projects and services visit: Bosazza Roofing & Timber Homes > Thatching

Do you like the new design of the roof? Or have any questions about thatched roofs? Comment below and share your thoughts with us.

2 thoughts on “New Thatched Roof on Holiday Cottage, Qolora

    1. Hi Gordon!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment – I hope we can give your holiday cottage the same new lease of life!

      Kind regards,

      April

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