Horizontal cracking, vertical cracking, angular cracking, crazing, blown render, stone wall, stone house wall, damaged wall, damaged render, render replacement.
I was asked to look at a Portuguese house recently which had suffered with the external walls cracking. The couple were about to buy the property but wanted to make sure that the cracking wasn’t recent and that is was not going to get worse. Obviously they didn’t want to put their hard earned money into a money pit.
We don’t have a crystal ball so you have to research the property and look for evidence.
Here are a few things we look for. New building close by, land slippage, flooding, property extensions, part demolitions of connected out buildings or adjoining properties. Cellar excavations or new drainage installations.
Then we start to look at the overall structure. How is the property built, with what materials and methods. Is the roof old, is it straight or sagging, what is the condition of the main roof timbers. Do they have splits, cracks or breakages are they suffering from bad woodworm infestation.
Then we look inside the property to see if there are cracks matching those outside on the inside. Is there evidence of rain water entering the cracks and passing to the inside of the property.
Once we have established that there are no obvious and serious external factors causing the cracks we can look at the types of cracks Horizontal cracking, vertical cracking, angular cracking, crazing, blown render, stone wall, stone house wall, damaged wall, damaged render individually.
It is not often appreciated that most old Properties in Portugal do hot have what we would call foundations in northern Europe.
They relied upon building flexible walled houses that would move slightly over time and settle into the ground. Ground frost is not usually a problem here so the houses stay viable for a couple of hundred years.
It takes many years of construction experience and many years of Portuguese building method experience to be able to read property problems.
If you are contemplating buying a property in Portugal contact Kelvin@casteloconstruction.com and we will be pleased to help.
Bought a house in Portugal is the boiler is safe
Most people are so preoccupied with the location, views and the property structure when they buy a permanent homes holiday home in Portugal that they overlook a few things. One of the most common omissions is the hot water boiler or central heating boiler.
If you’re lucky you will just connect up the gas, fill up the oil or buy some logs and off you go.
It rarely happens that way of course.
Often the previous owners will remove the boilers, take out the wood burners and empty the oil storage tank. In between you paying your deposit and buying the property.
TOP TIP – write into the promissory contract that all boiler, heaters, and stoves are to be left in place.
Even if they are actually left in place you may find that the rusty brown sludge coming out of the hot tap is a little off putting.
The thing to understand is that unless the property is new less than 3 years old. Nothing will have been given an annual service and many gas boilers are as old as the house itself.
These badly installed serviced/checked water heaters can be a potential death trap due to carbon monoxide poisoning or faulty gas supplies.
Apart from 0 servicing the main problem in the flue even on modern installations in an effort to save money or make a little more money flue pipes from gas heaters and wood burning stoves are deliberately reduced in diameter so that a cheaper flue pipe can be used. Often there is a flue pipe but it is only a meter long which the home owner thinks is going all the way up the chimney as it should but isn’t. Another favorite with gas boilers is just to pass the flexible flue tube into the loft with no grill over it to prevent nests being built in the flue and so that the flue gasses cool in the loft space and because they are heavier than air the come back into the home. They may come back into the home another room, your child’s bedroom for instance Scary indeed!
Make sure that your boilers is fitted as the manufacturer dictates and that all flues exit to the outside of the property in the approved manner and make sure a grill is fitted over them to prevent birds nest from blocking them.