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Many people dream of buying a property next to a lake or river in rural Portugal. castelo construction

Rain pouring into their home

Rain pouring into their home

 

The winter is on its way at last and we are suffering storm force winds and heavy rain with occasional hailstones so it won’t be long before we receive calls from people who say they have rain pouring into their homes.

 

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Rain pouring into their home

We all rest easy here in Portugal during the long spring and summer month. Our motivation is to find shade not think about rain and hour home flooding or leaking.

That’s why it’s a shock to the system when it actually happens.

Rains pouring into their home where does it come from

 

The roof,

Adjoining buildings

Under the external doors

Through the window frames

Through the floor

These are the most likely problem areas –

Missing or broken roof tiles, Bent or rusted through roof flashings, Blocked gutters and downpipes. Miss aligner roof tiles due to the roof timbers sagging.

Adjoining buildings – usually it’s down to bent or rusted through flashings between the two houses, it could also be caused by an internal rainwater pipe built into the wall.

Under the external doors – Portuguese doors rarely incorporate a thresh system and use a piece of stone or marble. The wind can simply blow the water under the door. You can install a thresh by simply cutting the door and installing one underneath.

Through the window frames – The window frames in Portuguese houses and apartments are fitted with a damp proof course around them like they are in the uk. They rely on a thin bead of silicon sealer the keep out the rain. Trouble is these silicon joints are often applied to damp stone or render so don’t stick properly. You may have to cut them out and reapply silicon on a warm dry day.

Through the floor – This is usually the most problematic area. We are used to damp floors here in old houses and some more recent builds!. The floor will not have had a damp proof course installed so when there is a sudden downpour rain from outside cam come under the house and appear in pools on your ground floors. This problem can be treated but it is very disruptive and costly. Insist on a damp proof membrane being installed.

 

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Cracked walls

Cracked walls

 

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cracked walls

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.

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how long Removing render from stone houses

How long

 How long does it take to remove the cement render from a house wall and re-point between the stones with lime mortar.

Many people ask is it possible to remove the cement render from a house wall and re-point between the stones with lime mortar for a DIY enthusiast.

 

info@casteloconstruction.com

Cement render on stone house

We are asked these questions a lot. So here are the answers.

It obviously depends on the size of the stone house wall. This one is eight meters wide by 6.5 meters high.

Looking at it from the DIY perspective. Do you have enough scaffolding available to carry out the work safely? Are you confident standing and working on scaffolding at this height?.

Do you have all the tools for the job.  Renting tools in Portugal is very difficult you will need a large SDS hammer drill, scaffolding, chipping hammer, Very high-pressure jet wash (not one that you wash your car with) and re-pointing equipment.

How long? It all depends upon how fit you are as to how long it will take. A reasonable estimate would be 3 times the man hours that it takes us.

Our guys are professionals and work on this type of thing day in day out so they don’t need a lie down in the afternoon. Make no mistake you will hardly be able to raise your arms after the first day if you are doing this for the first time  I don’t care how fit you think you are.

The repetitive and very dusty work really is hard. Dust in your eyes constantly and large amounts of fine dust to breath in.

Cleaned and ready for pointing

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How long does it take to remove the cement render from a house wall

We had a team of two people working on this gable it took them two days to take off the old cement render which was on a south facing wall and baked on. The erecting of the scaffolding and high-pressure jet wash took another day. That’s 6 man days or you could say a week’s work for two people to get everything ready for pointing. There was also some stone to be replaced before the pointing.

If my reckoning is correct then it will take a DIYer 12 to 18 days of hard graft to make just the gable wall ready for pointing.

 

Much better to contact Castelo Construction  kelvin@casteloconstruction.com and have the work done for you at a reasonable price.

Castelo Construction Lda. Helps people like you to get the very best out of your new home in central Portugal.

Whether it is an old house that you want to refurbish or a new home which you want to construct. We help you to make the most of any property project with our professional, design, construction, project management and maintenance services.

Professionally managed services with full accountability ensure that you get what you want. On time and to budget. We work only with experienced and licensed tradesmen, architects and engineers to deliver exceptional results.