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A warm house in Portugal?

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Posts: 103
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(@portofakiwi)
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Joined: 4 years ago

Another damp cold winter almost over, and no more for me in my current house. It's just too cold and damp, bad heating in only two rooms and damp and unpleasant.

However I can't find a house to buy after a few years of looking as it doesn't seem to be possible to buy a house with good insulation, and all room heating that actually works where you can get 23 degrees inside on a winter night. (For a reasonable price - and semi rural, no close neighbours etc)

If you have a warm toasty house can you please let me know as I'm losing hope!

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@pamalcobaca)
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Joined: 5 months ago

I have central heating and no damp problems, but I'm in an apartment 😊 

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(@jeanne)
Joined: 6 months ago

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Posts: 89

@pamalcobaca that's why I'm also thinking 'apartment '.  I'd love something more rural, but not at the expense of cold, aching bones.  How old is your apartment building?

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Ask Our Expats Consultant
(@pamalcobaca)
Joined: 5 months ago

Member
Posts: 73

@jeanne I think it's about 20 years old

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VIP Member
(@portofakiwi)
Joined: 4 years ago

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Posts: 103

@jeanne lol, no way ever again. Had enough of being squashed in apartments in northern Europe, I moved here to have more space, no noisy/nosy neighbours and to let my 80's Heavy Metal collection and electric guitar loose on my Marshall amp 😉

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(@jeanne)
Joined: 6 months ago

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Posts: 89

@portofakiwi I think that's a trade-off that you have to make.  'Traditional Portuguese construction methods do not involve insulating to northern Europe comfort standards.  You may have to buy a house with that in mind, and then retrofit it (probably internally) with insulation. Additional expense, but maybe it will be offset by a lower initial purchase price. Damp houses are definitely not guitar-friendly.

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(@portofakiwi)
Joined: 4 years ago

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Posts: 103

@jeanne I know, I've browsed at least 1,000 of them online in the last few years. I was trying to find some hope out there....

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(@jeanne)
Joined: 6 months ago

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Posts: 89

@portofakiwi. Whether that's an insurmountable problem depends on how good your DIY skills are.  There are ways to retro-insulate, but they are labor intensive, and costly to hire out the work. Such as building another layer of internal walls and incorporating sufficient insulation in the thickness of the new wall.  I've done a bit of research on it because a friend of mine who lives in an old house in spain has the same cold/damp complaint.   But as she is only renting the house, we decided that it would be too much of an investment in time and money.

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(@portofakiwi)
Joined: 4 years ago

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Posts: 103

@jeanne thanks for your concern, I have looked into this as well, and seen blogs where people have done it etc.
However it makes the rooms smaller, with a lower ceiling which I hate, and there can be issues with damp getting in behind it. I could do it myself slightly badly if I had too...

Growing up in NZ we have a similar climate, but built houses with wood, much much nicer....

Are the newer houses being built in Portugal much better?
One new build down the road from my seems to be just a concrete shell, including the roof. Do they insulate at all?

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(@martin)
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Joined: 16 years ago

also the problem (ref the south as I don't know about oop norf) is that all the construction materials are cold...eg concrete walls ceramic tiles etc

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 alan
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(@alan)
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Joined: 15 years ago

The combination of building with concrete and NOT fitting a damp proof course is the reason for this. In the winter the foundations get very wet, and water is drawn upwards through the concrete by capillary action. The result is black mould even in upstairs bedrooms, and wall paint peels off as it does not stick to water.

Portuguese builders do not understand the purpose of the damp proof course and I have never seen one since coming here.

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Community Member
(@martin)
Joined: 16 years ago

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Posts: 2374

@alan

i was told years ago that the reason for no damp proof courses is that in an earthquake the building would just slide off

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Community Member
(@jeanne)
Joined: 6 months ago

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Posts: 89

@martin. Yes, I have also read that in relation to construction in parts of spain.

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Community Member
(@jeanne)
Joined: 6 months ago

Trusted Member
Posts: 89

@alani think it unlikely that mould in upstairs bedrooms is the result of rising damp.  It's more likely due to warmer, moist air condensing against a cooler wall. warm air can hold more moisture than cool air. When warm moist air meets  a cooler surface or cooler air it releases its moisture which can then become a source of mould. Any heated air in a house will rise.  

As to the peeling paint, traditionally built houses were constructed to 'breathe' and to be self-drying. Some modern products (including paints) seal the surface so the moisture cannot escape and it can cause the paint to bubble loose.  Ventilation or draftiness permit excess moisture to escape. Modern comfort and energy efficiency wishes mean that much of the draftiness has been fixed, but the moisture in the air still needs someplace to go or it will condense when it hits a cool spot. 

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Posts: 11
Community Member
(@comfortapaul)
Active Member
Joined: 7 months ago

Hi Portofakiwi, just a thought, have you thought about knocking your current house down and replacing it with a prefab/pre-insulated timber-framed new build? I have no experience in this but may be worth exploring.

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