Putting a damper on things

With apologies to Jane Austen . . .

Our new zinc guttering in place . . . well, you’d hardly want to look at a patch of damp-blackened wall, would you?!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that when you attempt to make improvements to an old Mallorcan finca, something will come back to bite you. We’ve experienced this so many times, and it’s a truth that ensures that the finca owner will never have time to twiddle their thumbs and be bored. Cross one job off the list and another (or, if you’re really unlucky, several) will have to be added.

Something’s brewing

Even as we were breathing sighs of relief that we would no longer have rain leaking through the roof into the house – and would have a warmer winter because of the addition of insulation – another problem was brewing.

During our roof repair project, we had some significant rainfall on a few occasions. Fortunately, the new roof lining, insulation, and a layer of concrete had already been applied, and only the tiles and guttering were missing. So although no rain fell through the roof, it did cascade straight down the walls because of the lack of tiles and guttering.

Our walls of made mostly of marès stone – the attractive honey-coloured local sandstone that’s a feature of many iconic buildings on Mallorca, including La Seu, the beautiful cathedral in Palma. It looks beautiful, but has the disadvantage of being extremely porous. And so our walls soaked up all that cascading rain . . .

Hiding behind the sofa

In the past few days I’ve been noticing a distinct smell of damp whenever I entered the house.  And for good reason: the water soaked up by our 60cm-thick walls has, in places, succeeded in reaching the internal walls. A few black spots are peppered here and there in a couple of rooms at the back of the house – which gets no sunshine at this time of the year. And this morning, when I moved the sofa in our sitting room, I was greeted by a large swathe of damp-blackened wall.

The post-project clean-up outside will have to wait: we have an appointment with a bottle of bleach, a sponge and some rubber gloves . . .

Ah, happy Monday!

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