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SOS...(urgent help reqd on red-oxide flooring)

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Dear friends -- I have been rebuilding an old house in Tiruvaroor district, keeping the style as close as possible to the old agraharam style (in a village agraharam near Mannargudi). Of course, living in Chennai, I do find it a challenging task.

However, I am finding myself stuck in a deep hole at this point. It is time for me to relay the flooring for the entire house, and I am very particular that it be red-oxide flooring, the way it used to be done 40-50 years back. But from what I hear from different quarters, red oxide flooring requires talented (or at least experienced) masons. Otherwise, one runs the risk of getting the job done badly.

Can any respected member of this community point me out to some appropriate contacts in and around Tanjavoor/Tiruvaroor region, to whom I could hand over this job?

Any help would be most appreciated. I also promise to share my experience and photographs on this site, for the benefit of others.

Thank you very much.

best wishes re your renovating your house.

my home had redoxide too. loved it. if i remember right, the mason adds the oxide powder to the cement, and mixes it well, and applies it.

maybe i am wrong, but i thought that was all to it.

hopefully, in your renovating, you have modern plumbing installed. do you have the washrooms inside now? or still forced to use the outhouse?

once again, best wishes..
Thanks for your response

Sri Kunjuppu -- Actually, from what I learn from different sources, laying red oxide floors is a 3-step process, with the curing itself requiring 7 days. Further, the degree of polishing required is very high, and they say that in the earlier days, they used to add a lot of other stuff such as coconut husk, egg shells and so on (not sure if today's technology needs these) during the last stage. That is why I am on the look out for some senior mason (above 60 yrs of age), since anybody lesser than that age would not have had opportunity to work on red-oxide flooring.

As for your other question, yes, plumbing would be modern (meaning, one western toilet), but then, no fancy stuff beyond that. Also, decided to keep the toilet only in the kollai side, and not inside the house (but access to the toilet will be on the kollai side thinnai, and no need to get exposed to sun or rain). Compromises would start as small, and end up changing the house structure itself, is my fear.

It took me a few months just to get switches, switch boards and cable that were used during the olden days. The electrical wiring (totally overhauled) will be the same CTS cables from the days of wire, pinned to thin wooden reapers (exposed), switches are the same ceramic base black-and-white round ones, the boards are teak boxes similar to the olden days...

The change is in the electric bulbs. Keeping today's requirements in view, I am forced to use the CFL lamps (for eco concerns).
Forgive me Raghu, for interfering.

Do not compromise on quality, by ignoring the subsequent technology developments. The agraharam houses of yore had the following shortfalls too. They cannot be tolerated or accepted by the present generation, in the name of preserving one's heritage.

1. The tiles on the roof were haven for rats, cockroaches, scorpions etc.

2. If not properly laid, they may break or develop small cracks or gaps. This will
result in rainy water falling inside the house.

3. The wiring and other electrical fittings of those days are far inferior, as compared to
today's products. Never compromise on this.

4. I always tell, importance given to puja rooms or bedrooms are not at all given to
kitchen (where our women toil for most of the day) and toilets. Therefore,
design them with ultra-modern comforts and good access, but they may be with old looks externally.

5. Do not spend too much money, as your craze for 'agraharam type house' may be
seen as a rare opportunity for several people to fleece and exploit you.

Thanks for listening. May God bless you.
Dear Pannvalan -- your input is most welcome, and well appreciated. Most of what you have said is undeniable. Just a few points though.

From my own and others' experiences, electrical wiring and switches of those days seem to be far superior to what we have these days. Probably that is one more reason why wiring is concealed these days! :) Today's electrical switch, however expensive and fancy, hardly last 3-4 years, while those ceramic base switches used to last and last and last. The CTS cable had double sheathing for the electrical wires. Of course, as we all agree, eternal vigilance is the price we pay for comfort and safety. Today's products are meant to be used-and-thrown. Today, we have 6 fans at our house, of which one is 35 years old, while the others are all less than 4-5 yrs old. And interestingly (and unsurprisingly) the only one without ANY problem is the 35 year old one!

Your last point hits the nail on the head! I do see those symptoms with the people I have to deal with, and it requires me to be so cautious!

Thank you once again.
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