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4 causes of penetrative damp in Cyprus

Monday, 25 January 2016 12:37 | Written by

Structural damp creates a plethora of problems, and whilst there are many different reasons, there are only two causes of unwanted moisture in a Cyprus property : 'condensation from inside' or 'penetrating from outside'.

Whilst both are generically known in Cyprus as 'damp issues', the causes are completely different, although both indirectly relative to property construction methods.

Having covered the former in-depth last month (link), todays blog article will focus on the latter ...

Penetrative Damp Causes

Preventing penetrative damp in Cyprus sounds to be quite easy : 'stop the water coming in', but it can indeed be quite challenging, especially as the effects that the property owner can experience, may not be in the location of the water entry.

For example, cracks in the waterproof exterior surface will allow varying amounts of rain and humidity to enter the property structure, whilst lack of vapour barrier in the foundation will allow water to be 'sucked' up into the property.

  • Summer Heat, Winter Cold : The blistering heat of summer will eventually age the window/door frame seals, and hairline cracks will appear in the sealent. Thermal expansion of structural columns-beams vs the brick infill, which heat up and contract at differing degrees due to the excessive difference in Cyprus night and day time temperatures. Thats why you often tell where the beams and pillars are on a property through a painted wall, the cracks running along the edge of the beams!
  • Property Settlement : As properties settle into their foundation, or float pad, the load bearing and non-load bearing parts of the structure can move, even if by a millimeter or two, and this can produce cracks.
  • Earthquakes : Another cause of penatrative damp in Cyprus is earthquakes, whilst any modern property construction in Cyprus is structurally 'earthquake aware' even mild earthquakes can create enough movement in a property to produce hairline cracks. As detailed by Cyprus-Storms.net the island sits on/or near to the Cyprian Arc part of the Alpine Himalyan tectonic belt, and the Cyprus government reports there are 500 events per year.
  • Construction Method : There are many cases in Cyprus where a damp-proof course has not been utilised as part of the foundation, and there are other cases where the damp-proof course has been bridged over. In either of these cases, a 'rising' damp will be presented and this occurs where groundwater that is in the soil under the property transfers up into the walls and structural supports.

Water penetrates through and seeps into the usually unprotected face of the concrete causing eventually the iron inside to rust expand and crack the concrete.

Penetrative Damp Signs

  • Salts : First signs of minor penetrative damp for many will be the slow appearence of 'salt' residues, this is a sign that the water vapour is leaving the material, and the salts are left behind as the vapour evaporates. This doesn't mean the problem has been solved, it just means that the water has started to move out
  • Lifted paint & plaster : When you see paint lifting away from the plaster, or in more extreme cases plaster lifting away from the concrete render, this is another sign that there is moisture moving out of the surface.
  • Darker patches : A darkened patch (or even a tidemark) on a surface can also be indicative of a sudden build up of moisture, quite likely the moisture level is high at this point, but the moisture has not started to evaporate away.
  • Water drip : In the most extreme cases water droplets, or a steady flow of water will be presenteed during or shortly after rain storms.

Resolving Penetrative Damp

In the milder cases (salts, lifted plaster) many property owners will not prevent, they will simply repair surfaces, allowing them to dry out as spring passes, and then during the spring or early summer will fill, or replaster or repaint to make it good again, then after another wet season, the same processes will need to be carried out again.

To aid in the drying out process, as well as control moisture that causes condensation, regardless of the size of the problem a permanent solution can be round in our ULTROVENT product.

However, to actually prevent penetrative damp the source of the water ingress needs to be found, and closed. Whether this is to replace window/door seals, to repaint the exterior surfaces, or to incorporate a longer lasting solution such as our :

FIBREFLEX which creates a vapour permeable, water resistant wrap around the property, one that allows minor property movement whilst preventing any cracks.

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