Suggested Damp Solutions.
Obviously the most important protection is your roof and if properly cared for will stop water coming in. Roofing tiles should be checked regularly for breaks and cracks or even miss alignment, also checking that roofing felt is present and correctly installed. Flashings at roof and chimney abutments must be checked. If your roof is sound then you shouldn’t get trouble.
Flat roofing can be a problem as this is generally used as a place to install solar water systems, satellite dishes and quite often general junk. Very often the roof has been drilled to fix these items causing punctures in the roof felt or any roof sealant. Flat roofing should be inspected regularly to make sure that drain holes are not filled up with leaves and dirt. You must also check for any cracks caused by the sun. If cracking of the roof sealant is found, then it is advisable to have the roof re sealed.
A good guttering system is also worth consideration which will divert excess water away from the walls and patios. there are some extremely good companies in Pafos which can install a custom made gutter system which will cope with high volumes of water.
Outdoor wall protection
Generally the walls are here in Cyprus are spritzed or textured, which when applied is only colored, new spritz is not a waterproof covering, if you were to wash your walls down then you would see that most of the water is soaked back into the spritz, which will eventually find its way into your property and causes problems. New homes are not protected from the rain and damp unless a waterproof paint is used over the spritz or graphiata texturing.
New homes and fresh paint;
With the boom of new houses being erected, most are now being painted very cheaply by local contractors. The use of cheap paint and even cheaper labour will cause problems later. Cheap paint will not protect your home from the elements.
Our own company uses DULUX TRADE WEATHERSHIELD. Many of you already know about its superior qualities.
Damp Proof Courses
Damp proof courses or DPC as it is commonly known is a waterproof membrane built into the mortar course of a brick construction, it is used to stop the suction of damp rising up the wall. This is used in conjunction with a cavity between the inner and outer wall to provide a very effective method for damp protection. In Cyprus this method is not widely used.
The typical construction method in Cyprus is to build a concrete frame then fill in the gaps with single walls of hollow pot bricks. This makes it difficult to protect the building from moisture. The building is exposed from all angles to the elements thus requiring different solutions for effective protection.
The only kind of damp course I have seen is PVC sheeting laid beneath the buildings foundation slab, however this is not usually a single piece forming a good barrier but several sheets overlapping and quite often spiked into place piercing the membrane.
This leaves us with some options the first is chemical injection this method is used widely around the world but has a stigma attached to it concerning ‘The cowboys’ and the dreaded damp meter and a ‘Free survey’.
There are many stories of ‘rip off’ companies and unscrupulous salesmen often quoting “this is the worst case of damp that I have ever seen” as they run a damp meter along the wall. And of course this is only treatable with the most expensive product available. In rare cases this has actually been reported to work.
The installation process is carried out by drilling a long row of holes all of the way around the property into the base of the wall very often drilling electrical cables and water pipes. Chemicals are then forced into the holes with a pressure pump, in theory the chemical spreads out to form a uniform DPC. However the injected chemical will follow the path of least resistance forming fingers and not forming a flat even layer this will not give the protection required. The injection holes are then made good and re decorated.
Cyprus is located in a very active earthquake zone. Properties are built on to a concrete slab which is designed to slide back and forth during a shake. Surely the strength of the structure will have been compromised by the installation of a perforated line all the way around the property this has been of concern to many building inspectors. I guess we will see in the next big quake.
Here is a link to an article written by Tim Hutton MA MSc MRVS building pathologist and environmental scientist
Tanking and Moisture Membranes
Another option is tanking this method is generally used for underground cellars where water can seep in from underground sources. This method can be quite complex involving the removal of plaster to just above the damp level. An application of tanking materials i.e. a plastic solution is painted on to the bare wall. The wall is re plastered and re decorated. There are other methods where the plaster is the waterproofing agent in its self. This is a very effective method but does generally involve quite disruptive work sometimes involving the removal of kitchens and wall furniture.
Moisture membranes are becoming increasingly more available. This is an extremely good solution for minimal disruption and a relatively cost effective solution. This method involves the removal of the paint and the membrane is then applied to the bare plaster. The wall can be re decorated on top of the treatment.
There is also a range of electronic gadgets, air bricks and air circulation devices that are designed to work with cavities. The solutions are as numerous as the causes for damp we have only gone into a few here.