Damp Cracks Woodworm
Congratulations you are interested in spending some time in Portugal you may even be contemplating buying a house here. I thoroughly recommend it.
In your home country the words Damp Cracks Woodworm on your property survey may be enough to stop you buying a property because of the cost of the remedial work. Here in Portugal if you are looking at older houses (more than ten years old) you will definitely encounter Damp, Cracks & Woodworm.
Although a few people have a professional survey or property appraisal carried out on a property the majority usually find these things after a few months living in the property. By then of course its harder and more expensive to fix the problems.
Lets turn our attention to Cracks in walls, ceilings,floors, terraces, verandas and stairs.
I love this picture. Its a house with a rather obvious crack running vertically top to bottom, roof to foundation. This vertical crack tells a story, to a rather sad house builder like me.
Firstly let me say that remedial work on this is type of problem is not a job for Poly-filler! or DIY.
If you come across a house like this you MUST use professional help to asses the scope of the problem and devise a solution. Preferably before you buy it or move in.
Cracks of this magnitude are not as rare as they should be for a couple of reasons. Older houses are often built on unsuitable or no foundations. The heavy winter rains and high summer temperatures make the ground move around under the house more than you would normally see in the UK for instance. Then of course you have the builders, local poorly educated villagers who had very little technical knowledge and only cheep low quality materials.
Here is a more usual example of a crack in a wall. The type that you would probably overlook when buying a property.
Damp Cracks Woodworm small cracks
fine cracks in render
What story can it tell us ? This one is definitely a candidate for our friend Mr Poly-filler.
Actually its not. This is a lot more serious than it looks on the surface. The cracking is still in motion. If you look a little more closely you can see that the new window has been recently fitted. When it was fitted the cement render was realigned around the window opening and the crack below the window filled with render. Job done!
A short time later the repaired crack has opened up again and can be seen spreading further in a separate horizontal crack to the right.
Further examination revealed that this little crack was actually part of a much bigger problem. This two story extension was moving separately to the main structure of the house. The roof, first floor and walls all had visible cracks. The extension is sinking at one end !
All is not lost in fact we will rectify this problem before we carry on with the rest of the refurbishment. It will however add a significant extra cost that the client wasn’t expecting. If in doubt have a property appraisal carried out so that you can control your budget and have some peace of mind.