And when it comes it is likely to be in big lumps! Here in Costa del Sol, we haven’t had a proper rain on the coast since the beginning of May; more than four months. There will be the joy of the farmers and gardeners when it arrives, with its unique fresh aroma created as it hits the ‘sizzling’ ground. We sorely needed it after a relatively dry winter and those of us who’ve been here for a long enough can remember the years of drought, with saltwater coming up the wells and the authorities building the since largely unused desalination plant at Marbella.
However, not all will be joy as householders discover to their horror that the rain has found new routes into and under the house, destroying decoration, brick, foundations and in some cases literally moving mountains. A few small jobs around the house can avoid much of this damage.
· Clear the drains and gutters. Take it away and don’t just sweep the rubbish to the side as it will be swept back in again by the water. As well as the entrance into the drain, make sure that the exit is clear and where it’s going to go to will not backup or cause more damage.
· Look at your roof. Clear the debris from it with a brush or a long stick if you can as that will just be washed down and create problems, or back up on the roof causing overflow into the house and structure.
· Installation of gutters around the edge of the roof connected to downpipes that lead water away from the house into drains. Look at the roof again! It’s a huge area and all the water that lands there is going to flood onto the terraces around, the drains of which are already struggling to cope with the quantity of rain landing upon them. My constant recommendation when carrying out building surveys is that potential owners should consider getting the house guttered! It’s not been in the design package for most recently built houses, but look at the old traditional houses and even palaces. They have guttering and downpipes, sometimes of tremendous style with glorious ceramic gargoyles pouring the water away from the building so that it’s not just splashed on the walls and sucked up into the structure.
· Cracks will have opened with the heat of the sun as it has dried up everything and especially any woodwork that’s around. Most materials will have shrunk or expanded with the dryness and heat, creating cracks that will lead the rainwater into the building and its foundations. If you can, get the house redecorated now, but in any case make sure that these cracks are filled and decorated over.
· Troughs and flower beds against the side of the house or around the terrace edge will soon become like a sponge, holding water against the structure. If the drains don’t work or the soil has lost its porosity, the only outlet is for the water to seep into the structure, rusting reinforcement and causing damp internally. Leave drainage space between the flowerbeds and the house and please, please, please empty the soil from the troughs, clear the drains, put a bed of large pebbles on the bottom and put your plants in pots sitting upon them. That way everything can drain and evaporate and the neighbours below will not have that reason to complain.
· Retaining walls and slopes above the house will also become saturated, with that water flowing downhill. It must be guided away by field drains and adequate ‘weep’ holes in the walls so that the weight of water behind them does not cause collapse. Below the house is just as important as landslip here can pull the house down into the physical and financial abyss.
Do it now, because I see the thunder clouds gathering again in the mountains, where it will already have rained, and soon the seas will be black off Mijas and Marbella as the debris from THE fire gets washed away. And take care on the road because it will be like driving on an ice rink until the summer’s oil and rubber is washed away.
Soon we will have our second spring as the rains bring back greenery and flowers before the cool of winter. With a little anticipation you can make sure that you can be ‘singing in the rain’.
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