We are about to start the full refurbishment of an old house. Originally well-built in stone it is suffering quite a lot from damp and water ingress.
The water is coming through the roof where it meets the walls with water running down the internal walls onto the timber ceiling making the plaster on the bedroom walls fall off and then continuing downward into the wooden first floor and through to the ground floor where the plaster is falling away from the walls in chunks. This plaster rubble absorbs the rain and holds the moisture so that it keeps the floor boards wet all the time. Rain water is also coming in around the window frames which have been damaged by wood worm infestation. This lets the glazing slip letting in more water.
As if this wasn’t enough on the ground floor the timber under floor cavity is full of old rubble and very damp. It’s a perfect example of what can quickly go wrong with a Portuguese house. We have to deal with the unholy trinity wet rot, dry rot and woodworm.
In this case we have decided to strip out everything “roof, first floor ceiling, first floor walls, windows and doors, first floor floor and joists. Ground floor walls and doors, ground floor floor and joists. We will only leave in place the ancient central chestnut beam once we have established it its strong enough to be used again. It will of course have to be well treated with wood worm killer in the event of it being re used.
Although the amount of work and cost may appear extreme it will be relatively cost effective and won’t need the ongoing maintenance which a less thorough job would require.
Once the new structure is in place and the house watertight we will install all of the utilities, drainage, phone, gas, water and electricity. The replacement of the interior floors provides a golden opportunity to re arrange the living spaces with what is effectively a blank canvas. If the client wants a few large rooms, lots of small rooms or a bathroom like a ballroom we can accommodate their wishes. As for style if the client wants the house to look restored but of its age we have many pre used chestnut beams which we can utilise in the rebuild. Our carpenters still have the patters for all of the old window and door designs when fitted with the old reclaimed door furniture the new doors will look as though they have always been there.
We will post regular photo updates on progress so make sure that you keep checking the blog or have a look at www.casteloconstruction.com