Jul 302012


Many Spanish properties suffer from damp problems and this includes houses in Mediterranean areas – which may seem strange given Spain’s climate.

Typically Spanish damp problems can be found in:

–      Sub-ground areas – often called underbuilds or sotanos. These often lack effective tanking. This is particularly true of illegal underbuilds.

–      Terrace door surround areas and roof terraces. These are often poorly sealed and lack a waterproof membrane.

–      Over-sealing of the living space. This causes condensation-related mould and is more common in new, double-glazed Spanish properties than in older, poorly insulated houses.

Obviously, damp can prove to be a major problem and damp-related rot is often very common in under build areas, where timbers have not been treated properly.

Sometimes damp in Spanish properties is a sign of a more serious problem and damp can indicate that there is the underlying possibility of a significant building defect that may have its origins in poor or defective construction.

So, damp in Spanish properties is not something to ignore!



Of course, often Spanish damp problems can be resolved quite easily at minimum cost.  Sometimes, it can be remedied by simply properly ventilating a given area.  However, at other times, extensive tanking is required and occasionally external retaining walls need to be built (together with an effective water drainage system) to stop water ingress.

Importantly, the reason why you have damp (and unsightly mould) may be due to the poor or incompetent work of your builders or the constructors of your property.  In this case, you may well have a claim for recompense.

Equally, you should be aware that legally, if you find any significant defects that have been deliberately hidden by the seller of your property (within six months of purchase) then you may have a case for compensation against your seller. Unfortunately, this can be very difficult to prove – so it is always better to try and identify any issues prior to purchase by consulting a building surveyor.

Be very cautious about consulting a ‘Damp Specialist’ contractor alone, as it is obviously in their interests to specify costly works, which are not always required or might not even resolve the problem. (They often offer a free ‘survey’ by someone that is typically not a qualified surveyor but more a sales person).

The source of damp problems in Spain is not always obvious and professional help is almost always essential, if the problem is to be correctly identified and treated.  It is also fair to say that should the reason for the damp become a matter of dispute then you will need not just an expert building surveyor’s report but also (usually) a building dispute lawyer able to prosecute your claim effectively.

At Building Defects Spain we have a first class British building surveyor (qualified in the UK and Spain) and a lawyer (qualified in Ireland and Spain) who can help you resolve your problems.  Contact us – and let us establish why you have a problem with damp in Spain, what remedial action is needed and whether you have a valid claim against your builders or developer.

Mark Paddon