Cloister of Jesus in Setúbal:
Restoration conservation

Restoration conservation: the added value of Diasen

The restoration conservation of the Cloister of Jesus de Setúbal was an opportunity to take a closer look at and better understand Manueline or Late Gothic Portuguese architecture. Sumptuous and composite, this architectural language originated in Portugal in the first decade of the 16th century and synthesised maritime elements in reference to the discoveries made in those years by Portuguese navigators. Manueline architecture acts as a transitional element between the late Gothic and Renaissance styles. Although it lasted only a very short time (from 1490 to around 1520), it is of great importance in the history of Portuguese art.

Diasen’s ecological and sustainable solutions, adapting perfectly to the geometries of Manueline’s architectural expression, solved the problems related to humidity, as well as allowing the structural restoration of the structure.

Time of realization: 4 months
Location: Setúbal, Portugal
Type of intervention: Restoration and conservation


µ = 4

Breathable material suitable for making walls breathable. Allows moisture and saltpetre to pass through


71,64 %

Plaster cavities allow moisture and condensation to be absorbed and disposed of

Reaction to fire


According to EN ISO 13501-1. Zero flame generation and smoke emission

Technical insights

Diathonite Deumix+ cork-based and breathable plaster was chosen to carry out the restoration and conservation work on the structure. The Setúbal municipality’s approval came after it was convinced that Diasen ecological mortar was the ideal solution to restore masonry damaged by decades of neglect, with huge problems of rising damp and saltpetre. The transformation of the work into a museum of national interest required the use of a material that would not weigh down the structure and would allow capillary moisture to be disposed of.

In addition, the formula of the plaster ensured that the walls remained warm despite continuous contact with damp, a fundamental condition for preserving the works of art housed in the current museum. In addition to Diathonite Deumix+ plaster, the special mortar Diathonite Regularization was used to create a salt efflorescence barrier and as levelling base layer to bring the centuries-old masonry to level. All the interiors and exteriors were then finished with Argatherm and Argacem Ultrafine skim coatings and Limepaint. Finally, the transparent water repellent BKK Eco was applied. The lime paint revitalises the wall, while the water repellent -applied as a final protective layer- maintained the original aesthetic effect, ensuring that the colour of the substrate was not altered.

Used products

Below is the focus on each product used for the restoration and conservation of the original structure. Together they make up the cycle of solutions that make up the system applied to the walls of the Cloister and allow the structure to return to its original form.

Diathonite Deumix+ application method

Discover how the dehumidifying properties of ecological and breathable plaster Diathonite Deumix+

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Restoration and conservation in historic buildings

An intervention of restoration or rehabilitation of a historic building requires an excellent knowledge not only of ‘classic’ construction techniques, but also and above all knowing how to move between detecting any structural damage, knowing how to identify the types of mould and bacteria that are damaging the building’s walls, and finally, knowing the chemical compatibility of modern and ocntemporary materials that would be used to restore structural parts, in order to solve the problem and prevent future ones.

Significant and widespread problems of water infiltration damaging the masonry parameters usually emerge from the very beginning. In most cases, no waterproofing was foreseen during the initial planning stages; it is therefore logical to think of the presence of rising damp in the walls of the ground floor, which threatens to increasingly deteriorate the structure.

How to proceed to restore damaged masonry?
The redevelopment project almost always envisages maintaining the authenticity of the building, leaving the historic masonry completely exposed, so it was necessary to find a system that would allow the masonry to be restored and stop both capillary rise and the counter-thrust of water from below without using plaster or other covering materials.

In collaboration with clients and designers, during the design phase, the Volteco team, in charge of supplying all the technologies for the waterproofing works and supporting the qualified application personnel step by step, proposed an ad hoc technical solution that would guarantee this effective protection from water while keeping the concept of the original project intact.

The waterproofing of the interiors therefore had to meet a twofold need: on the one hand, to eliminate all the modifications made over the years that were not consistent with the type of structure, creating problems for the original layout, and, on the other hand, to renovate various constituent elements of the building in order to recover the artistic relationship with the city walls, an integral part of the building

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