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Renovation Group

Thanks to our “Fast Five”

By News Blog

We have just completely a major kitchen refurbishment in Erimi, Limassol. The renovation project included significant reworking of electrics and plumbing as well as renewal of the kitchen units. It was all carried out inside 5 days, and this is the tip for the fitters!

To The Fast 5 Renovation Team. A €50 (each) bonus from us. Ivor & Jennifer Our installation team were warmly received and rewarded by our lovely clients, and it turns out that you can get quicker than a kwikfit fitter (!!!) …. you can engage a Renovation Group fitter! Of course, regardless of the speed of our work, the quality of finish, professional integrity and delivering beyond our client’s expectations is equi-important!

Read more from our clients over on the Testimonials page (click).

The great ‘rising damp solutions’ scam

By News Blog

Here we have a recently chemically injected property, which unfortunately has quickly detoriated with obvious signs of penetrative damp , whilst sold with a multi year guarantee, the installing company is now not returning the clients calls. A common occurrence in Cyprus with the so called damp experts selling these ‘magic damp cream’ solutions.

This type of damp treatment was totally unsuitable for this specific property, and due to common construction methods, actually unsuitable for most properties in Cyprus.

A ‘chemical injection damp-proof course’ is a valid solution to damp penetrating a property from the ground up, that being said, it is ONLY suitable for certain construction methods. For example in the UK, there are many houses built with courses of structural brick, if a physical damp proof is missing or faulty, then a chemical cream correctly injected into the mortar line (not the brick) will be able to significantly control the penetrative damp issue.

Unsuitable In Cyprus

Unfortunately the majority of properties in Cyprus are unsuitable for this application, as a property with reinforced concrete structure and rendered brick fill walls will not be suitable for an installation of a chemically injected DPC. Why ?

1. Firstly, the dense strucutal concrete will not absorb the ‘magic damp cream’, so even if the installer drills a hole (intentionally, or not …) into the concrete, the chemical is unable to disperse as is required to create the moisture barrier.

2. Secondly, unless the installer removes the spritz, render and plaster all the way back down to the brick itself, how will they be able to drill an access hole into the mortar line? More common is a hit and miss approach where the holes are drilled and filled, but the actual product flows into the internal cavity of the bricks, and does not create the moisture barrier. Even if the walls are made good shortly after the treatment, the damage reoccurs within months.

Be wary

So, be wary of the ‘damp expert’ that sticks an electronic damp meter tool in the wall and diagnoses rising damp that will be solved with a chemical injection ! You may well have a penatrating damp issue in your Cyprus property, but is very very unlikely that a chemical injection will solve it, and thats assuming the magic damp cream is even applied correctly!

What to do then?

A damp proof course is rarely integrated in the construction of Cyprus home because of the reinforced concrete pour, there is no way to install a moisture barrier. However, it is very common for the concrete raft itself to be laid on a acrylic-plastic barrier layer, stopping ground water penatrating up into the home. However, these rafts are sometimes backfilled with your garden or a tiled patio, both of which will bring moisture in contact with the property structure, and frequently the external surface of the home is allowing water in. Considering one or more of the following are suitable actions to take :

  • remove the moisture bridge & allow the structure to breath
  • stop moisture ingress with a fibreflex application
  • increase the internal ventilation with our Ultrovent

4 causes of penetrative damp in Cyprus

By News Blog

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.

  • 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.

Do you even flex though?

By News Blog
We’ve been working up on a great project up in Polemi, Paphos during December. We are installing an aftermarket external installation, and with our 7 trained fitters on site, we completed the fibreflex of the villa in one day !

Fibreflex is the second stage of our EWS (external wall insulation) system, which is applied onto the actual insulation boards (stage 1 : blue in the images) to protect against cracking and creating a vapour permeable water resistive surface. This is the stage that continues to allow the house walls to breath, stops the rain, whilst eliminating small cracks and surface damages caused by the movement of the property during the seasons and other acts of nature.

What is Fibreflex ?

Fibreflex is an alkali resistant fibreglass mesh, hand applied into position with a hydrophobic polymer fibre render. It is highly water repellent and eliminates cracking, providing the ideal substrate for the final appropriately coloured acrylic plaster as chosen by the client.

What About Windows ?

We have solutions to provide a seemless finish around the window reveal, and any existing window or doors.

Here we have Fibreflexed around an existing window, merging the newly fixed insulation boards with the existing reveal and window sill whilst continuing to allow the window sill to drain surface water away from the home.

Click here to view Cyprus Insulation case studies

3 tips to prevent condensation damp mould

By News Blog

Damp. Something those from the cooler climes of Northern Europe don’t tend to associate with the 300+ sunny days a year of Mediterrean Cyprus, but, it occurs in many buildings on the island.

Whilst there are many different scenarios where structural damp causes a plethora of visual problems, 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.

Condensation Damp Cause

Preventing condensation in Cyprus is remarkably easy, and does not require a so called ‘fully qualified damp specialist’, just use some common sense. As long as you understand the cause (cold surface AND elevated humidity) then you can implement the solution.

  • decrease internal air humidity (increase ventilation, reduce moisture generation)
  • increase internal surface temperature (sufficient heating system and thermally insulated walls)

Prevention Tip 1 : Moisture Generation

The home itself doesnt produce moisture, however the home occupier (us!) does. Whilst we breath, whilst we bathe, whilst we cook : all of things simple activities generate moisture into the home.

  • Put a lid on saucepans to keep the steam inside.
  • Do not leave kettles boiling.
  • Dry washing outside.
  • Avoid using paraffin or bottled-gas heaters.
  • Avoid breathing

OK, so the last one is a joke, please keep breathing! But please consider it is estimated that an average family of 4 outputs around 10 litres of water into the air per day, so, as we cannot stop this itself, we can only ensure we …

Prevention Tip 2 : Ventilation

At its simplest just open the windows ! A small gap (1-2cm) will allow the dry outside air to circulate into the home, and will reduce the humidity. In areas with frequent elevated levels of humidity (bathroom, kitchen, laundry room) passive or active air extraction systems can be installed.

Check out our, exclusive to Cyprus, Condensation Cure : Ultrovents

  • Ventilate all rooms at regular intervals to remove humid air. Note that tight buildings require more active ventilation!
  • Mechanical ventilation systems should not be stopped.
  • Cooking, bathing and showering all produce steam. Open the window or put on the fan,and close the door to prevent the damp air circulating into other rooms.
  • At other times, leave all the doors to different rooms open to allow the air to circulate.
  • To avoid condensation in bedrooms, open the windows for 15 minutes each morning.
  • Human breathing puts considerable moisture into the indoor air.
  • Move items of furniture away from the wall slightly so that air can pass behind them.
  • Leave the doors of cupboards open from time to time to air them.

Prevention Tip 3 : Surface Temperature

Thermal comfort ranges are very subjective but keeping the home warm during winter with a stable temperature of approximately 18-21C should keep you comfortable. Unfortuantely with most Cyprus housing built without sufficient thermal breaks and simple aluminium windows heat easily disipates out of the home. Replacing windows with a energy efficient thermal break system will help.

We provide aftermarket installation of external or internal wall insulation, as well as internal ceiling insulation or external roof insulation whichi will significantly increase the ability of the surfaces to stay warmer.

  • Ideal temperature usually ranges between 19-22C living rooms,and 16-20C in the bedrooms.
  • When away from home, the temperature in the rooms should not drop under 15C to avoid condensation and increased humidity levels.
  • Do not heat up cold bedrooms in the evening by opening the door to heated rooms. The warm and humid air will condensate on the cold walls of the bedroom.
  • Good insulation of the building helps preventing mould growth due to higher temperature of the walls. Again: note that tight windows and buildings require more active ventilation!

Act Now

The break out of mould can be a real health danger, mould spores are around us all the time, but like seeds in the field, only when the right circumstances are provided will the mould start to replicate and grow.

Check out this calculator to see how different air temperature, humidity and surface temperature combine to bring mould to your home within days.

Condensation Damp

As we are now entering into the winter period in Cyprus many residents are starting to feel the chill in the air, and with the majority of houses in Cyprus being built without any thought to insulation (no cavity wall, or other thermal break) heating systems are now used in the evenings, despite relatively comfortable day time temperatures. It is now that condensation damp starts to become a problem, and if not managed properly secondary problems, such as mould, will occur.

Simple school physics tells us that as we heat air it is able to hold more moisture, this warm & wet air condenses on contact with cooler surfaces where water droplets will form. So in our homes in winter we keep the windows and doors closed to maintain temperature, we heat the air for our comfort, and we spend more time inside.

All of this actually increases the humidity in the home, and when this humid air touches the cold external walls or windows or other cold spots then we will start to see the water droplets from condensation, and in more advanced stages, yellow-green or even black mould.

Normally walls on the north face that receive no sun during the day are the coldest in the home and are often the first to display issues in the corners.

Check out this table below which shows how the dew point (condensation point) is affected by air temperature & humidity levels.

12mm insulation, reduce heat loss 40%

By News Blog

12mm thick internal insulation that reduces heat loss by 40%? You need to have a look at Ultrotherm, new and exlusive from Renovation Group as of November 2015

Ultrotherm is an internal insulation system for solid walls. It allows walls to be insulated without costly alterations to skirting boards, windows, covings and radiators.

Although only 12 mm thick, Ultrotherm typically reduces the heat loss though 9″ solid brick walls by 40%, creating a more comfortable living environment and reducing energy bills.

Ultrotherm meets Building Regulations for use where it is not functionally or technically possible to install thicker insulation systems.

Ultrotherm is supplied in convenient flexible tiles that allow it to be installed around awkward shapes and curves. With safety in mind, Ultrotherm has a “Class 0” fire rating. Once applied, Ultrotherm is plastered to create a wall surface ready for decoration.

Condensation Cure? Ultrovents!

By News Blog

The ultrovent® is the ultimate in controlled passive ventilation. Its unique triple action filter (patent pending) reduces condensation, noise transmission and heat loss through the ventilation duct. At the heart of the ultrovent® filter is a thermal core that promotes the movement of damp air out of the property.

Ultrovent offer a range of passive ventilation units designed to allow water vapour to escape from a building in a controlled way. The patent pending triple action filter promotes the escape of damp air with minimal heat loss. Cold draughts are restricted by a specially designed thermal core within the filter. The Ultrovent Air Brick cavity liner is constructed from High Impact Polystyrene (HIP) to reduce cold bridging and provide increased strength and resistance to distortion. Ultrovent extension kits are available to suit all wall thicknesses.

Condensation affects a large number of older properties due to the increase in water production brought about by modern lifestyles. At the same time, doors and windows are draught proofed and chimney flues sealed. The result can be unhealthy mould growth on cold surfaces and in poorly ventilated areas.

Ultrovent is designed to ventilate bedrooms and living rooms where the constant background ventilation it provides allows water vapour to escape. One air brick ventilator is usually sufficient for a single room of up to 20m2 floor area, alternatively two core drill ventilators can be installed. Each unit is supplied with positioning and installation instructions. For kitchens and bathrooms where water production is likely to be more spontaneous, mechanical ventilation should be used.

Features

Thermal Paint ? Scam !

By News Blog

A number of recent calls recieved recently regarding the use of Thermal Paint !

Unfortunately this is a marketing tactic employed by less than reputable companies to sell what is in effect – PAINT

Usually sold as a ” Special Coating ” at an outrageous price it really does not work

It has no declared Lambda value and will not meet any approved U Value regulation

Quite frankly its a SCAM !!