Put to the test

I had a call from a friend the other day he wanted me to look at a problem that he had inside his house.

(I am a retired builder who is trying to stay retired despite the efforts of friends)

He told me that he had already had three local builders to look at the problem. Two Portuguese who just shrugged and a British guy who said he knew what the problem was – all three had the same thing in common. They never went back or contacted my friend again.

He was in a quandary now as to what to do.


dampfixpt, damp portugal, damp
Is the bathroom causing the problem?



Three questions immediately spring to mind.

1, Are they really well trained and qualified builders or just local jobbers (not builders but people who have picked up some knowledge as they worked on building sites).

2, Why didn’t they understand the solution to the problem or indeed how the problem was caused.

3, What was my friend doing asking any tom, dick or harry (insert Manuel) to work on his home without understanding how capable they are.

It’s not easy to find skilled and knowledgeable builders I know.

A lot of people rely upon recommendations from friends and acquaintances which can work but your recommendation is coming from someone who has no real experience on how to judge them.


“He’s a lovely chap and speaks English”  is more a recommendation for a gardener/od job man than a skilled builder.


I digress, back to the house problem.

The problem appears upon first sight to be damp coming from the bathroom which is making the bathroom bedroom dividing wall wet and the plaster flake.

Upon looking at it further it could be caused by a leaking drain pipe from the bath, WC or shower.

Then again it could be a leaking water supply pipe that passes inside the wall.

Or it could be rain water coming down a nearby chimney.

It could even be caused by condensation.


That’s 5 possible causes off the top of my head!


The problem will be identified by a process of elimination and tests.

The trouble is my friend wants a solution that is quick and cheap. That is a “quick solution” without understanding what is causing the problem.

Which of course means that he will pay now for something that won’t work, pay again when the problem persists and pay yet again when it comes back again. This methodology is neither quick nor cheap.

My recommendation is to test the chimney, test all the bathroom drains, Test all the water supply pipes.

If it’s not those then its condensation which is in fact quick and cheap to resolve.

Fingers crossed!