We have a few big DIY jobs that need to be completed on the outside of our home and garden. We have been putting these jobs off until the weather has got cooler. Now that the river beach season is over (which I’m very sad about) we can now re-focus on renovating our house. I really want to buy some hiking boots and go on long hikes at weekends but I know I have a limited amount of time to complete these jobs so need to crack on. The walking trails will always be there so it’s back to DIY for me. We are hoping to complete these tasks before winter but realistically if we can sort the roof, railings and wooden areas by Christmas, I will be happy to hold off on the painting of the house exterior until Spring.


Clear, clean all roof tiles and replace broken tiles.

Bug proof wooden window frames, balcony door frame, wooden areas in sun room and shutters from wood worm/beetles/termites and re-varnish.

Sand down and re-paint all of the metal gates and railings.

Paint the whole outside of house including balcony, sun room and workshop.

Our house is mainly constructed of schist but we do have some external walls which are rendered and painted white. I love white houses in Portugal but they can get very dirty and ours is very flaky with visible cracks and hasn’t been painted in many years. The problem with schist stone is that there are so many crevices where wildlife love to hide. I have seen a huge snake enter a smallish hole in the schist wall below the balcony. Although this is amazing, the dirt, stone dust and debris that is expelled from the schist walls does make a shitty mess everywhere (ha ha). So we are never going to have a show room house ever which we don’t mind as we love our quirky unique shabby without the chic casa.

We decided to get a quote for the painting work as some walls are a little high and out of reach but the quote was pretty steep in price and they wanted €500 just to paint the small workshop and a couple more thousand to paint the rest of the house, so we decided to do this work ourselves. Nothing strengthens a marriage more than taking on a few challenging DIY tasks together, apparently what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger (ha ha). Lastly, all the roof tiles need fixing, cleaning of algae and clearing of moss. None of these jobs are too difficult but it involves a lot of messy prep work and some climbing onto the roof and trying not to break our necks in the process. We started with the cleaning of the roofs.

Cleaning the roof tiles

The roof tiles were covered in dirt, mould, bird poop, algae and moss. This can be dangerous and cause a build up resulting in leaks though the roof when it rains. We climbed onto the roof and used a scraper and a heavy duty wire wool brush with a 50:50 mixture of high strength bleach and water. We tried to purchase Trisodium Phosphate, also known as TSP but were unable to source it here. Next step was to rinse off with cold water and we used our garden hose as we didn’t want to use a power washer as some power washers can damage the tiles and cause more harm than good. This is a mammoth task! Have you seen the amount of tiling and roofs we have? I kind of wish we bought a smaller house now (ha ha). Not only do we have to clean the whole roof of the main house but also the roof of sun room, workshop and outside covered area. I did debate just buying new tiles as they are relatively cheap here but I don’t like throwing away good items or wasting money and it didn’t cost anything but our time which I have plenty of now I’m a lady of leisure.

I was concerned about carrying on this task alone during the week so told hubby he had to come and check on me every hour just in case I fell off and broke every bone in my body. It’s such an exhausting process and makes my arms ache so much. It’s also very painful for my back to sit on the tiles. I have already broken 1 tile by sitting on the edge of the roof with my fat ass, oh well 1 less to clean (ha ha). I have set myself a goal to finish one side of the roof by Christmas. The tiles are starting to look much better and I deserve a medal if I complete this. It’s raining now so I can’t do this job in the rain as the roof tiles are very slippery and I will die! Those Youtube videos make it look so easy, just spray on stuff then power wash off. No amount of product and power washing is removing all the years of black mould and algae. It’s a case of brutal physical arm force with extreme scrubbing. Some tiles are worse than others and I managed to clean a row of 5 in one afternoon then the next day it took me 8 hours to clean just 2 1/2 rows! It’s truly the most strenuous, energy sapping and punishing task that I have ever attempted. I think criminals serving community service should come and help me (ha ha). God only knows how we are going to clean the other half of the roof as it’s a much steeper incline. I am not going to risk my life and hubby mentioned tieing a rope around him to a tree, yeah, that’s not happening, I would be totally lost without him and we haven’t sorted our wills yet so he can’t fall off the roof and die just yet!

Bug proof wooden window frames, balcony sliding door frame and shutters

It rains occasionally here and when it rains it really rains! The skies open up and this has resulted in a puddle in our lounge from the balcony sliding doors. Over time the wooden frames become weak and lose their waterproof effect as the varnish is worn away from direct sunlight. Autumn time is a great time to bug proof and re-varnish all our wooden window frames, door frames and shutters. This should be a straightforward job. We plan to paint and inject Xylophene into the wooden frames and then re-varnish a few days later. You can buy a plastic syringe at the local pharmacy for a few cents and drill small holes to inject the Xylophene right into the wood as well as painting it on. If the varnish is worn the Xylophene will penetrate the wood but if the varnish is still good it is best to drill small holes otherwise it will just sit on the surface.

Painting the railings

We have a lot of metal railings in our garden which all needed re-painting. We plan to use a wire wool brush and scrub them all down removing dirt and flaky paint. Then we will use a medium sand paper to produce a finish ready for painting, slightly rough so the paint will adhere to the surface. Then we need to wash down with a mild soapy water, wait for it to dry then hand paint 2 coats with a brush using product: Bondex railing paint in black. We did consider spray painting but this would make a huge mess and cost a fortune.

Painting the outside of house, workshop and sun room

We first need to finish the roof then get our local builder in to fix a small damp problem which was a result of rain water seeping through one of the walls. The workshop will need a lot of prep work due to excessive ivy growing up the back wall. It was a difficult task to try and remove the ivy and the ivy suckers tendrils had stuck like glue to the wall and will require so much scraping and power washing to remove. It will certainly be a long, hard and exhausting task. We need to remove all flaky paint with a scraper and power wash the walls. Then we plan to fill all cracks and holes with external filler then paint 2 coats of product: Robbialac acrylic exterior paint. Be sure to use masking tape to protect any windows and floor protector sheets so you don’t end up painting the patio too.

Before photos:

External wall

We are pretty lucky as most of the flaking and cracks were lower down on the walls so reachable via our standard ladder and roller with a large extendable pole or by climbing onto the sun room roof.

Work in progress photos:

The time to repair a roof is when the sun is shining (John F Kennedy)


The roof cleaning task is definitely going to be a very tedious and time consuming job but look at the difference so far. I kind of like the monotonous task if it wasn’t for the pain in my arms and back. I kind of enjoy singing along to the radio on the roof watching the world go by but I did manage to rip the ass of my leggings somehow – no photo sharing of this (ha ha). I did actually share the photo with my daughter but I’m not sharing it with the world, some things in life are sacred and that includes my lady bits! I am really pleased with the outcome so far and hopefully the end result will last for a good few years with regular maintenance. Once all the tasks have been completed I am contemplating if to commission a local artist to design a mural on the side of the workshop wall. It’s currently pissing it down with rain so I’m off to make soup then watch Netflix with a hot chocolate, no roof cleaning today! To be honest I can’t move my arms anyway due to my first Aerial Skills class last night – Post on my shenanigans at Circus School will be arriving shortly.