Damp in Cyprus is a very common problem and there as many causes as there are cures. We have been dealing with damp problems here for many years now we have seen so many companies come and go with their 'one solution fixes all' approach and their 25 year warranty. There are numerous reasons as to why buildings suffer with damp and the solution is to accurately find the root cause whether it is a broken pipe, leaky roof or poor building works.
Damp Proofing in Paphos Cyprus
Types of Damp
The most common type of damp is rising damp. Moisture from the ground rises, by capillary action, up the walls. The moisture often carries salts which are deposited on the face of the wall when the moisture evaporates. Internal decorations are usually ruined and plaster can come lose and flaky.
Rising damp will only extend up to 1.2 meters above ground level; the capillary forces cannot lift the moisture any higher. Normally walls are protected against rising damp by a damp proof course built into the wall as in our UK properties.
Very old properties did not have damp proof courses installed and some properties may have damp proof courses which have become ineffective. Sometimes the outside ground levels are raised above the damp proof course, as in the case of cellars.
The problems damp can cause
Efflorescence is a major problem here in Cyprus the construction materials of the building is a major factor. The local concrete is typically made up of crushed rock which has a high proportion of salts and minerals. Clean builders sand is not so widely available; therefore our concrete and mortars are not so pure. Basically the salt content of our properties is very high.
The next ingredient is water or moisture being introduced into the wall by means of a leaky pipe, poor external weather protection or rising damp. This moisture will dissolve the salts in the structure and carry them to the surface where they are deposited as powder or crystals. This is an unsightly problem which will lift the paint off the walls and if left untreated will deteriorate the construction itself.
...A typical non professional treatment in Cyprus is to just brush the powder away and paint over the top of it every year…
The correct treatment is to remove the water problem, whether it is a water leak or a damp problem. Let the structure dry and then seal it with a breathable sealant to let any further moisture out.
Of course there are products available on the market that will satisfactorily clean and even neutralize this problem. But the real treatment is to remove the water out of the equation.
Suggested Damp Solutions
A question of structure
In the United Kingdom our homes are built to strict guidelines they are usually brick construction with cavity walls. The correct damp proof courses are built into the walls and floors ensuring their effectiveness from rising damp and driving rain. Usually a good guttering system is also installed.
In Cyprus this may not be the case. The buildings usually have no wall cavities and generally no damp proof course. Floor membranes can be missing, damaged or insufficient this means that many of our properties are exposed to damp and this will bring problems.