Plumbing Problems Strike Again

That’s not very pretty

Apart from Storm Gloria in January, this winter in Mallorca has probably been the mildest and sunniest since we moved here in 2004. Although we’ve had one or two air frosts, more than a few foggy mornings and, after dark, it’s often been quite chilly, most days have delivered blue skies, sunshine and warmth. Oh, we do love that warmth. Of course, it’s not normal for this time of year – and is probably the result of climate change – but I’m not hearing many complaints about this February’s weather in Mallorca.

All this spring-like weather has been making us think about the visitors we may have this year. Once we’ve sorted out the small matter of lack of a bath or shower in the bathroom of our main guest room.

Late last year, we noticed that one wall of our double-guest bathroom was showing signs of damp. Dampness is a common problem in Mallorcan properties, but this patch of damp wasn’t in one of the usual areas in our house affected during the winter months.

The Boss did his magic with a sponge and a bottle of organic apple cider vinegar, but a few days later the damp started showing through again. It was a mystery, until The Boss spotted the merest drizzle of water running down the tiles above the bath from the wall-mounted taps. In our experience, water is one of the most troublesome things in a Mallorcan property.

It was time for a(nother) visit from Sito, our friendly local plumber. One sledgehammer and a pile of broken wall tiles later, he discovered the source of the leak: a hairline crack in one of the pipes to the taps, buried into a rather thick wall. It appeared that water had been seeping into the walls for quite some time. Sito removed the tap-and-shower-head unit and did whatever plumbers do to fix this type of problem.

We had to leave the hole open to allow the sodden wall to dry out. Our dehumidifier (seriously, you need one of these if you live in Mallorca) has been working overtime and we’re now about ready to get our guest bathroom fully operational again.

All change

Because we’re unlikely to find wall tiles that match the existing old ones, we’re taking the opportunity to make some substantial changes to the bathroom. We’d often talked about removing the bathtub (never used as a bath, only as something to stand in when using the overhead shower). This is mainly because I worry that my dad – when he’s staying for his two holidays each year – may slip and injure himself getting in or out of the bath to take a shower. It was a project on the back burner that moved to the front one because of this leak.

We’ve always tried to use local tradesmen (like Sito) but, this time, local builders weren’t even interested in coming to look at the job and give us a quote. They’d rather be renovating whole houses or even building them, than tackling what, for them, is a relatively small job.

Finally, we had some success: a builder from the other end of Mallorca came up to see what needs to be done. Assuming he wasn’t put off by the distance he had to travel – or by getting lost on the way to our hideaway finca – we’ll soon have a functioning guest bathroom again. If not, there’s always the stream at the bottom of the valley – still full of water after Storm Gloria. Only joking…

Jan Edwards ©2020

4 thoughts on “Plumbing Problems Strike Again

  1. Sorry to hear about your problem. Personally I have had little problem with damp in my house and have no use for a dehumidifier. Probably because my house is situated quite high in our valley. When looking down towards Felanitx, about ten kilometres away, I often see it buried in mist!
    When it comes to getting problems fixed I share your experience. However I am lucky to have a painter as my neighbour which have been a blessing. Furthermore he speaks my lingo as he is half Swedish!

  2. You’re fortunate. We used to have a lot of damp problems before we had the house re-roofed, but now they’re not so bad. Doesn’t help though when a pipe within a wall fractures and it doesn’t become obvious for a long time!

    Anyway, we’ll have a nice new shower instead of the bath, which we never use because it requires too much water (more than our hot water heater can supply!).

    Good to hear from you. I hope all is well.

    • Still tugging along ( I am only 77 until April). Just assembled a tin shed in which I have a small workshop. It is securely fixed to the ground which was fortunate considering the last stormy days. I have seen such sheds blown away here on our island!

      • Sounds like you’re doing well, Anders. Yes, a good thing that your shed is securely fixed to the ground. We’ve had all manner of things blowing around from time to time! But no shed…

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