Part of the house is joined to the mountainside and so what seems like a nice connection to nature means that nature comes into the house through the form of water. Welcome to the conundrum of the 3rd downstairs bedroom damp issue. While we have improved the situation, this remains a work in progress as each winter the damp returns.
It was clear when we bought the house in the heat of summer 2015 that the 3rd bedroom had a damp problem. Given this one downside of the house we allowed ourselves to notice (while we were distracted by the overall beauty of the countryside and the lovely welcome of La Torre) we have approached this particular issue in a pragmatic way and worked through each new challenge as an education. Listening to others and reading up on the topic has given a feeling that the solution is near and not an impossibility.
The guttering was replaced primarily to allow us to gather more water but without the right downpipes in place for the 2016 spring rain we soon realised that this was also directing a lot of water into the bedroom.
Frances and I then re-planned the garden and with the help of our WorkAway volunteer Joshua who dug a nice trench we assembled a solution that we keep the draining water from the mountainside away from the wall of the house. So by October 2016 we had repaired the outside wall, lined the trench with a waterproof membrane and filled it with rocks from our land and kept the vegetation away to reduce the contact with the bedroom wall and to prevent water wicking into the house.
Having improved the outside as much as possible without separating the house from the mountain by pneumatic drilling through 2m of rock we focused our attention to the inside of the bedroom. There are some good books and on line help from people who have tackled damp issues in fincas. Armed with this and local DIY store we prepared the walls through scrapping and rubbing down, filling holes and cracks and then sealing them with a coating. We then applied a anti-humidity primer before then applying a white topcoat. The final addition was a de-humidfier ball that would both help sustain the improvement and act as an indicator of the level of humidity.
The room was damp free for one year but by December 2018 we saw moisture again although from a different place and in a different way. In many ways the issue is now less but the room cannot be used outside the summer. Our next plan is to bring in outside help in January 2019 to see if we can upgrade the solution of keeping dampness out while ventilating the room. Let's see if in 2019 we can use this room all year round.
Frances and Barry Copping bought Xalet Pigall in 2015. They are working towards resilience and self-sufficiency.