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ASI: Problems with Stucco: A Closer Look

We have discussed this time and time again, but it seems that it never hurts to discuss stucco problems at length. The more homes that we come across that suffer from these issues, the more that we feel we should educate you, our readers, on the things that could be going wrong behind your walls. This week, we want to take a closer look at what might be going on underneath your exterior and why a stucco inspection is crucial for you to determine the condition of your investment.

 

There was a housing boom during the late 1980’s and 1990’s where stucco became a very popular exterior cladding surface, though the material in one form or another has be used on the outside of buildings for hundreds of years. Synthetic stucco systems also became popular during this time, making it possible for homeowners of any region to enjoy the look and feel of stucco on their homes. EIFS systems give the homeowner the ability to create a unique style for there exterior that is not available with traditional hard coat stucco systems.

 

Many of the issues with hard coat stucco come from the improper application of the stucco itself, or in many cases, the lack of a drainage system – or both. When it rains or your home is exposed to some type of water, if the home does not have a proper place to disperse this moisture, it can create some of the problems with stucco that we constantly harp about. Water that is not allowed to properly drain gets stuck behind the exterior cladding of the home, causing damage that can be costly to fix.

 

Some of the most terrifying problems with stucco are the ones that you can’t see. Some of the visual signs include excessive cracking on the surface of the stucco, bulges in the stucco finish, and visible staining on the outside of the home. While these problems sound severe, the problems that may be lurking underneath are what you should really be worried about. These problems with stucco show no signs of actually being there until the damage has already occurred. These include mold, wood deterioration and rot, and other building material decay.

 

Why are stucco homes having these problems? Wouldn’t it just make sense based upon this information just to stop using stucco as an exterior cladding option? Well, that is one way to solve the problem, but stucco itself is a great, low-maintenance material that looks good on the exterior of homes, therefore it is not likely that it will go away anytime soon. Buildings from ancient times are still standing today that used stucco with no issues. What is different about our modern day homes? Easy. Many contractors decided to start applying stucco to the homes that they built because of its popularity several years ago without actually learning the proper way to apply it. And as you should know if you are a frequenter of our blog, improperly applied stucco leads to problems with stucco that are costly and potentially damaging to your home if ignored, some of which we just discussed above. .

 

So, what can we do?

 

The best defense against problems with stucco is a good offense. Be proactive. Get a stucco inspection on your home if you’re concerned. Stucco inspections are the easiest and fastest way to determine whether or not your home is suffering from stucco issues, as well as just how bad the damage really is. Yes, hiring a stucco inspector will cost you some pesos, but it’s well worth it. So why invest in one?

Stucco inspections can provide a lot more in depth information about your home. For example, many stucco inspectors use thermal imaging on the inside and outside of the home to get a better picture of what is going on behind the walls. These images tell inspectors where the moisture is collecting and where the most damage might lie. There are other stucco inspections that, that actually include using a moisture meter to determine the amount of water that is sitting behind the walls in the framing elements of the home. Depending on the inspector and what he or she thinks that your home needs, you may see either or both of these activities played out during an inspection.

 

If you have a stucco home, we recommend that you have a stucco inspection regardless of when your home was built or who built it. Problems with stucco are generally most common in homes that were built over the past 20 -30 years, Having your home inspected will help you get to know your home and also help you protect your investment. This is especially important if you plan on selling your home, because most buyers today are aware of the issues with stucco homes and they will request an inspection.
The moral of the story is, get your stucco home inspected to see if it if you should be concerned about the stucco exterior on your home.
Do you live in a stucco home? Do you have suspicions that you might be suffering from some problems with stucco? Tell us about it in the comments below. We would love to help you in any way that we can. And if you are looking for a stucco inspection, give us a call!

Stucco Problems: Leaky Windows

True or false, if given the option of spending $50 or $500, you will more than likely go with the $50 option, right? Our guess is that you would say yes to this, even when it comes down to repairing stucco problems or other issues that you may be having with your home. The fact of the matter is, most of us, while we are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the purchase of a home, are not willing to cough up massive amounts of cash to repair the same homes. And logically, it makes a lot of sense. Think about it. What do you actually get out of your home as an immediate, tangible payoff? That new TV you have been eyeing? A designer bag? No, of course you don’t. Spending money on home repairs may seem like pouring money into something that you may or may not see as fit for the cash, but the fact of the matter is that these small issues that you see in and around your home, may actually be caused from something much more serious.

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The windows of our homes are a great source of natural light. They help us heat, cool, and light up our homes, making them more comfortable for us to live in, but along with these benefits, windows, especially on stucco homes, often have problems. Windows can have damage, like leaks, and you may not even know it. Scary, right?

Let’s say you know that there is something wrong with your window. You start seeing paint bubble around the actual window or you notice that there are small pools or droplets of water gathering on the sill. Your carpet might even feel damp after a heavy rain. Naturally, you would call in someone to repair the issue. As discussed above, you are probably going to go with the cheapest repair you can find, which is probably a one stop window replacement, right? Well, more often than not, when we come out to homes with stucco problems, we see damage caused by cheaply replaced windows. Contractors who take shortcuts in replacing the windows on stucco homes without removing the stucco first as a cheap fix end up causing A LOT more damage for homeowners.

Often, these replacements lead to full stucco remediation and replacement of all windows, again, which means that the money spent on the replacement the first time was completely wasted.


And stucco problems are not the only trouble that these cheaply replaced windows cause. No matter what the exterior cladding of a home is made out of, quickly replacing the windows of your home without properly removing the cladding can cause serious damage to stone, brick, and siding as well. So you might be asking yourself, if this is true, then why do I see ads or commercials for companies that specialize in window replacement.

Well, these companies exist solely to make a profit off of the windows that they sell. Because their process of taking the old window out, replacing it with a new one, and sealing it with some caulk and moving on is very inexpensive and easy to do, their labor costs are low so they can charge more for the windows and make out with a lot of cash. So the fact that it is lucrative and easy means that these pop-up companies will continue to scam homeowners and create stucco problems as well as other home repair issues. These sales tactics should not be used on homes or home repairs but rather saved for the car lots and used car salesmen.

So how do you correct the window or stucco problems that you may have? Well, you need to call in someone who is going to do the job right. If you see that you are having a window leak and you live in a stucco home, you need to go ahead and call in a stucco contractor. Why? Well, as we have already stated, a stucco contractor can not only tell you what is wrong with the window, but can remove the cladding around the window to make sure that the window is replaced properly. Because of the building paper and other drainage materials that make up the area around a window in a stucco home are so crucial from keeping water out of the interior cavities of the home, it is important to make sure that they are in tact when replacing a window. And the only way to do this is to take down the finish and replace it again. Yes, this is a complicated and time-consuming process, but it is one that is necessary in order to do the job right. And you have probably already guessed that taking off the entire exterior of a home and replacing it is also expensive. You’re right, but wouldn’t you rather have the job done right the first time and make the investment in your shelter so that it will last for many more years to come? We are guessing your answer is probably yes.

So what is the moral of the story? Easy, make sure that if you are going to do any repairs on your home, including ones that deal with stucco problems or windows, call someone who knows the proper way to replace elements such as windows. Selecting a trusted and experienced contractor, though it may cost you a bit more money upfront, will save you a lot of hassle in the long run.


Have you ever had the windows replaced in your home? DId you have to have the job redone because you decided to get them repaired more cheaply the first time around? Tell us your story.

Stucco Damage and Snow

For those of us in the Pennsylvania – New Jersey area, this winter has been a constant battle with snow. In the Philly area alone, so far this season we have had more than four 6+ inch snowfalls which breaks a 130 year old record in city history. It seems that at least once a week we are getting a decent coating of the white stuff which generally causes more havoc than joy. With the snow, we have seen more wrecks caused by the snow and ice, power outages after a coating of ice freezed on everything in sight, and a massive pothole problem citywide. Not to mention, the area hasn’t seen a clean parking lot or a patch of grass in weeks. So of course, for the homes in the area that are not used to this much winter weather, this means damage, and for some, stucco damage. If you happen to be the owner of a stucco home, there are definitely some unique damage issues that can come up for you. This week, we want to discuss just a few of them.

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First up, stucco damage via stucco cracking. As we have talked about in previous blogs, some cracking in the surface of the stucco finish is a natural occurrence. Any stucco homeowner should expect to see at the very least some hairline cracks across the surface of their home. While some cracking is expected, if they happen to be larger than a hairline, these cracks might cause worry. Generally caused by improperly clad stucco, these cracks are a cry for help from the structure that something terribly wrong is going on beneath the surface. Regardless of the situation going on underneath the finish, the damage that can occur due to snow if these cracks exist can be serious. Cracks allow for water to get into the surface of the stucco, and because the temperature has been such a rollercoaster these days, as soon as the snow melts, water can pour into these cracks and then freeze again overnight. This causes the cracks to expand causing further stucco damage to the home.

Another way that snow can cause stucco damage is by allowing moisture to get into the structure of the home. Because snow is a solid, it will sit on the surfaces around our homes for long periods of time in low temperatures.And if conditions are anything like they are in the Philly area right now, that snow can remain there for weeks at a time in the cold, melting slowly as the temperature starts to rise. Also, stucco needs to terminate 4” above grade and when you have 10” or 18” of snow on the ground, moisture can wick up and impact the framing members of the home.  As the snow melts, the water must find somewhere to drain, much like the water that runs off of our homes. If the stucco has not been properly applied and does not take into account for proper drainage, the water can get behind the stucco cladding and cause some serious damage. So unless the snow is moved away from various surfaces of our homes, it can drain out into improperly clad stucco and create serious issues such as mold, water damage, and wood rot.

Snow, as you may know if you live in the area and you have been shoveling your way out of things this winter, is heavy. As it falls, it accumulates all over and around our homes. Because it can weigh a lot, especially when there is a mix of ice and snow, it is very easy to weigh down structural components of the home as well as natural elements around the home. For example, say there is a large, old tree that drapes beautifully over the roof on your property. Well, snow and ice resting on said branch has the capacity to break one of these aged branches, potentially damaging your home upon impact. Stucco damaged homes are at risk of even more damage, as some structural elements of the home might be weakened from moisture damage and other problems that come with improperly clad stucco homes.

So what can you do for your stucco home in order to protect it from this harsh Winter weather? Well, first and foremost, make sure that your stucco home is not suffering from damage due to the improper application that we have been referring to. Calling a local stucco inspector to take a look at your home before the next winter storm rolls around. A professional can tell you whether or not you suffer from the stucco damage that will only get worse when these snowstorms hit. Secondly, it is important to try to remove as much snow as you can from your home. Make sure that you take care of the exterior of your stucco home so that the snow does not cause further water damage or cosmetic damage to your home. It may help to use rock salt on the surfaces of your home where snow can accumulate before the snow falls to help better prepare yourself.


Advanced Stucco Inspection is the Philly area’s leading stucco inspector, and can help you prepare your home from the dangers of this Winter weather. Give us a call today to have your home inspected for damage before snow and ice make your situation worse!

Do you own a stucco home in the Philly area? Have you experienced crazy amounts of snow in your home like we have? Tell us about your snow story. We would love to hear what you have to say about the damage you have experienced in your home personally or the damage that you have heard about from a friend. Let us know in the comments below!

Renting & Stucco Issues – What to Do

Instead of buying a home, many people choose to rent the homes that they live in. Renters live in spaces as small as a studio to as large as multi-bedroom homes. Individuals of all incomes also rent, so rental status has very little to do with the amount of money that a person may or may not make. That being said, stucco clad rental properties face the same stucco issues that those that are privately owned do, so rental stucco properties are not exempt from the damage that tends to happen in these homes. The question is, how do you handle these issues if you are merely a renter and not the homeowner? Here are a few tips and words of wisdom for you to keep in mind so that you will be prepared if you ever find yourself in a sticky living situation.

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Before you hammer out these issues in your rental home, it is important that you understand exactly what the stucco issues are. What are these problems these stucco homes face? Well, mostly, stucco houses develop issues because of the way that the stucco is applied. Most of the contractors who apply this material to the exteriors of new homes are not properly educated in how to do so. This causes a variety of issues, but the main one is that inaccurately applied stucco allows for homes to absorb more moisture than they should, which in turn causes a variety of issues from mold, to pest infestation, to wood rot. Other issues can occur as well such as severe cracking. Regardless of the issue, or why it was caused, these problems are serious and require repair. Serious repair. Often these repairs can cost a homeowner hundreds of thousands of dollars. The sheer potential cost of these problems alone should be enough to make you want to be concerned about what might be happening with the home you live in.


So we will ask the question again, what do you do if you are renting and you find out that the home you’re renting is suffering from serious damage?

One thing that you definitely want to do if you find that your home is suffering from some of the

common problems that stucco homes face is learn and know your rights. Knowing the laws that protect both you and your landlord is important, especially in times when you think that there might be something wrong with your home. All of the rules and regulations can be found online or by contacting your local municipal government. Landlords and tenants have to follow certain guidelines and rules when dealing with rental properties. Staying informed will help you learn the steps that your state requires that you take so that you are not held liable for things that you should not be.

If you notice damage to your stucco home that you are renting, generally the first step is to consult with your landlord. Homeowners, regardless of if they are living in their homes or not, care about their investments. If you have a good landlord, he or she will look into the problem further and will want to do everything possible to try to fix the problem. If you do not have a good landlord who cares about their tenants, it might be a good idea for you to document each time that you speak to him or her. This way, if further action must be taken in order for you to get out of the lease on your stucco home, you will have proof of your attempt to try to make it work.

Another tip that we can suggest is to call your local stucco inspector as well. Generally speaking, most contracting companies will consult with you over the phone to try to help you figure out what might be going on with the home that you are living in and will also help you come up with talking points for the conversation with your landlord about the potential issues that he or she may be facing with the stucco home that you are living in.


The most important thing to consider when renting a potentially damaged stucco home is to make sure that you report it to your landlord. Even if he or she is not one that is willing to take care of the repair, at least you have reported your findings. Keeping yourself protected when there might be damage is the key to remaining a happy tenant. As a general rule of thumb, it is important to make sure that you document everything. Regardless of how things turn out, you want to make sure that you are prepared with the proper documentation so you can back up whatever case and claims that you may have against your landlord or otherwise. Take pictures, screenshots, and keep track of your calls and what was said. You may not need the information but if you end up in a situation where things turn south, you will be glad that you have it. Your landlord will also need this information if he or she decides to take this information further.

Do you rent a stucco home? Are you noticing that your home is starting to have some strange issues. Tell us about it! We would love to hear your story and help you in any way that we can. If you want to learn more about stucco and stucco issues, check out some of the other articles on our blog. There you can find the issues, what causes them, and some other facts about the home that you are living in that you might not know.

Ask a Stucco Inspector – How Can I Make My Stucco Home Unique?

One of the best things about stucco homes is the fact that they are so easy to customize. Stucco is a unique exterior cladding for many reasons, but the ability to customize the finish is often what really sets it apart from other exterior finish options. What many who are looking to build or buy a stucco home do not realize are the different options that are available for finishing the home that can completely change the look of the home. This week, we are going to go over a few of the different finish options available for stucco homes so that you can make a more informed decision about the outside look of your home.

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There are a few popular finish types out there, which all include different imperfections, etc. on the surface to make the finish unique, but before we dive into the different types of finishes that your stucco home can end up with, we should briefly explore what stucco is and why we are able to use these different techniques.

Stucco is a material made up of three main parts: an aggregate (sand), a binder (cement) and water. Stucco is applied to the surface of homes or buildings wet and hardens as it dries. Traditional stucco is made up of lime, sand, and water while modern stucco uses Portland Cement in place of the lime. In some cases, you may find other materials added to this mixture to help add strength or durability to the material. This simplistic material structure is what allows stucco to be so customizable. The exterior of a stucco home is applied in systematic layers so that the structure on which it is applied can drain properly when it comes in contact with water for whatever reason. When the top coat of stucco is applied, or the stucco finish, this is where builders and homeowners can collaborate to help create a look that is truly unique using a variety of techniques and sometimes outside materials.

But, it is important that these finishing techniques are done correctly. Why? Well as we often mention here on this blog, there are often a lot of problems that are associated with stucco homes. Most of these problems are moisture related though there are some that occur when there is no water present at all, but what is present is improperly clad stucco. Having stucco applied incorrectly can end up costing you hundreds of thousands of dollars in the future. A certified stucco inspector can tell you whether or not this process was done properly and will be able to advise you on if it needs to be fixed or not. Make sure, that before you choose any of the following techniques, that you are using a well-respected, knowledgeable stucco inspector or stucco contractor to examine/do the job right the first time.

One popular finish style for stucco homes is the “hump and bump” technique. This is a look that has impressions and protrusions in the wall. This technique is achieved by creating an uneven brown coat using many, many coats to build up these shapes. This look is supposed to resemble historic buildings that have had plaster recoated over and over again through the decades. This finish looks best on buildings that have some history to them seeing as modern buildings have not been around long enough to achieve this kind of look naturally.

Another popular technique is called cat-faces. Cat-faces is a technique that intentionally leaves stucco off of certain areas of the home for cosmetic effect. This leaves a material underneath exposed, such as brick and is often seen on the corners of homes. These voids of stucco should be placed randomly across the finish, as to make the stucco look as though it has worn off over time rather than give your home intentional polka dots.

Many homeowners also choose a more simple finishing technique that doesn’t necessarily go by a specific name but is still very unique and recognizable. Instead of letting the stucco finish harden into a basic fine-sand finish, builders will use trowels to create textures and grooves in the stucco finish so that the outside of the home looks patterned almost. There are thousands of looks that you can achieve with this technique, all it takes is a patterned trowel and a little bit of time while the stucco is still drying. This is probably the most common stucco finish technique and rightfully so, as there are so many ways that this look can make any home stand out.


These three techniques are just the start of a long list of different ways that you can make your stucco home unique. While these tend to make your home look more historic and worn, there are many others that will keep your home up to date or even further ahead with the other houses in your area. For more information about all of the options that are available to you in regards to using stucco to clad your home, or to see more examples of these finish options in action, contact your local stucco contractor. He or she can help you learn about all the options out there as well as advise you on which options make the most sense for you and your home. If you are in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey areas, give us a call! We would be happy to help you select the perfect finishing option for your home, and with our 20+ years of experience, you can be sure that we will do the job right the first time. We can also help you if you are looking to reclad your stucco home due to damage or any other reasoning.

Do you own a stucco home that uses one of these finishing techniques? Tell us about it and why you chose the look that you did for your home in the comments below. We would love to hear about your stucco finish story!

Selling a Stucco Home – Stucco Inspection

The latest housing pricing data from the 20-city Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller Index is showing an increase in the prices of houses pretty much across the board. In September, which is when the latest data was calculated, the prices of houses increased 0.7% from the previous month, August, and 13.3% overall from the same time last year. These are pretty impressive numbers and this is great information, but what does it have to do with stucco or stucco inspections?

Well, if homes are starting to cost more, this means that there are more people who are interested in buying them. So if you have been thinking about putting your stucco home up for sale, now might be a great time to do so. Housing prices currently match those of 2004, prior to the collapse of the US economy. So, you will not only be getting more for your home as is, but you will be entering a competitive market, where chances are you may get more than your home is actually worth!

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So you have now decided that you definitely want to sell your stucco home. What’s next for you? Well, first and foremost, you need to get a stucco inspection. There are a lot of problems that are associated with stucco homes related to the proper drainage of moisture that can destroy the home from the inside out. Chances are, prospective buyers are going to hire a stucco inspector to take a look at any stucco home that they choose to pursue, so why not take the guess work out of the process for them?

Fact is, there are very few people out there who are going to willingly buy a stucco home with damage, so knowing your selling odds before getting to that point is something that can help make this decision easier. It may turn out that there is nothing wrong with your home, but you won’t know until you have a proper stucco inspection.

So let’s say that you have had your inspection and you learned that your home is suffering from stucco damage. What do you do now? Well, you either have the option of more than likely selling your home for less than it is worth or sticking it out in your current home and getting it repaired or remediated. Keep in mind that repairs can get costly. Some people have chosen to not replace the stucco, but to use cement board siding or vinyl siding. Having to address this issue will not only put off the sale of your home but it will put quite a dent in your budget for a new one unless your home is under warranty or you plan to take the issues to litigation.


If you find yourself in this situation, especially now that the market is on the rise, it is time to call in a professional. A good stucco inspector will tell you whether or not he thinks it is a good idea for you to sell your home in its current state or not, and will also advise you on what your next steps are if you are in need of stucco remediation.

Stucco Home Related Pests

Fact, all homes have the potential to suffer from pests, but there is a difference between seeing a spider in your bathroom and having pests that truly affect your home and it’s safety. Because of the general nature of stucco, and the fact that it more often than not is applied improperly, there are many pest issues that come along with owning a stucco home that you might not see with those who live in a brick or vinyl-sided homes. We have listed a few of those pests here, try not to let your skin crawl as you read this!


Termites: Termites, as you may know are pests that look and act a lot like ants, except they dine on wood. These creepy crawly bugs create colonies either in dirt mounds near their food source or bring the dirt to the source itself and burrow in the walls of a home until they have had their fill of whatever delicious wood dish your home is providing them. If stucco is not applied properly and untreated wood is used to create the frame of your home, you can develop a serious problem with termites eating away at the general structure, and this can create real damage.

Ants: Just like termites, these pests live in large colonies. Many ants will eat the materials that make up your home such as insulation, so finding their way into the wall cavities behind the stucco is like finding their way to a feast. Ants will also feed on other pests that might be lurking behind your walls like termites.


Snails: You might be thinking, snails, really? Snails are harmless! Snails are even kind of cute! Wrong. Snails can create just as much damage as the next pest, and some of the damage that they can cause to stucco homes is pretty severe. Take the snail infestation in Florida for example. The Miami-Dade county officials are seeing a record number of snails in the area and are logging between 10-20 calls each day about the pests. These snails that they are suffering with in Miami are Giant African snails and they produce a substance that breaks down stucco. Yes, you read that correctly. These snails destroy stucco homes.

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So what do you do if you suspect that pests are ruining your home? Call in a professional stucco home inspector. A stucco inspection can tell you if the damage that some of these pests have done to your home are serious enough to warrant repair and can also tell you how to get rid of them. Some pests in stucco homes will not be found until the stucco finish is removed and the wall cavities are exposed, but many infestations can be predicted based on the the amount of damage done to the home via the moisture that is most often the culprit in improperly clad stucco homes.

So if you see anything unusual or you are suffering from damage to your stucco home, call in a stucco inspector right away before more damage is caused by these creepy-crawly pests.

Stucco Litigation Horror Story: Fenwick

With all of the media buzz surrounding the failure of stucco homes and the litigation that follows in many cases, it is easy to start worrying about your own home, especially if you have a stucco home. And with these stories, come even more horrific plots involving the challenges that many homeowners face pursuing compensation in the court system. We have already mentioned in a previous article the issues that one Hilton Head Island community is facing and is still facing in regards to their stucco litigation. Well, in this edition of our stucco litigation horror stories, we go back to South Carolina to discuss a story that is almost too terrible to believe.

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Twelve Oaks at Fenwick is a community in the Charleston area made up of high-end condos. The condos were, you guessed it, coated in a stucco finish. Once the owners of these homes started to learn that the structure of their homes was in danger after they started noticing damage to the exterior finish. The community ended up having all of the structures completely remediated, which allowed for them to have all of the damages repaired as well as piece of mind that their homes were once again safe dwellings. After the whole ordeal, as you might sympathize with, the community took their builders to court.

The stucco litigation for the Twelve Oaks condo owners was a long, arduous battle that resulted in a win for them in the South Carolina state circuit court. The community was given a $15 Million settlement to disperse amongst its residents for the damages and turmoil that they faced. All seemed well, as this was a very fair amount of money for all residents to take care of the extensive costs that the accrued during the entire stucco litigation and remediation process.


Well, just as should be expected in any settlement, the builders filed an appeal in the South Carolina state court of appeals which delayed the disbursement of funds, and unfortunately the appeals court ruled in favor of the builder, overturning the verdict that the circuit court reached in favor of those who lived in the Twelve Oaks community.

This story is a terrible one, and unfortunately, there are many, many cases out there where the verdicts surrounding homeowners are reversed after builders make appeals, making the stucco litigation process even more of a nightmare than it already is. Because of cases like this, it is important for you as a homeowner, especially if you are thinking about entering a stucco litigation scenario, to do your research. Make sure you have all of the evidence you need in place before you take your builder to court.
How can you ensure that you will have the proper evidence for your court case? Easy, start with a reputable stucco inspector from the start. Not only do you want to have your remediation completed by someone who knows what they are doing, but you want to start the process off on the right foot with a skilled, certified stucco inspector. For the inspection, you should make sure that whoever you choose provides you with the proper documentation that will hold up in court so when your case gets to the litigation phase, you will be ready. The most important evidence comes from the inspection phase, so make sure that you protect yourself in the beginning so you do not end up in a similar situation as the Twelve Oaks homeowners.

Stucco Finish: Should I Be Worried About My House Too?

Imagine that you are a homeowner and you live in a development somewhere right outside of a major city, like Philadelphia. You love your neighborhood. You live just close enough to the city to visit without having to stay too long and yet far enough away to have a nice, quiet life. Your development has homes that are all roughly the same, as most neighborhoods these days do, and one common feature that all of you and your neighbors have in common is that all of your homes are clad in a beautiful stucco finish.

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One day, you pull into your neighborhood to find that the house on the corner of your perfect street is under construction – serious construction. The entire outside of the home is ripped apart. Over time, each day that you come home from work you see that more and more of the house is gone and is being replaced with a new exterior finish.

A month later, you notice another house in the neighborhood undergoing the same treatment. Then another. Soon, there are multiple homes on your own street that are being completely redone. The talk on the block is that the reasoning behind the removal of the stucco finish is because extensive damage was found behind the stucco of the homes, which has you question, should I be worried about my house too.

The answer is, if you have a stucco home, you should definitely be worried, especially if you do not know the contractor who built your home or if you bought the home from a previous owner. The best way to handle a situation like this, which unfortunately is a very common occurrence in housing developments, is to invest in a stucco inspection.

A stucco inspector can help you easily determine if you have stucco damage or not in an often minimally invasive inspection process. While there are some stucco inspections that require drilling into the home, many contractors will opt to start with thermal imaging which can help pinpoint moisture behind the cladding which is the major cause of damage.

It might be a good idea to speak to those in your community who are dealing with this long, costly and unfortunate process. Your neighbors may be able to give you some useful insight into not only their experience but also who to call, why they chose the stucco contractor that they did, etc. Having some of these first-hand accounts available to you when you make the decision to have your home inspected for potential stucco damage.


While your neighbors are suffering from this plight that affects so many stucco homeowners, it does not necessarily mean that your home is having the same problems – so do not panic. Call up your neighbors or go straight to the source and call your local stucco contractor today. Some of the damage that your home might be facing may be able to be fixed without a complete stucco replacement or you may find out that your home in your neighborhood is spared from all of the problems that these homes tend to have, but you won’t know until you call.

Stucco Repair – What Happens When You are Governed by an HOA?

It is becoming more common than ever for homeowners to purchase homes that are located within communities that operate under a neighborhood government most commonly called a homeowner’s association (HOA). These associations have many benefits for those who live in neighborhoods, which may often lead to the actual purchase of the home itself. Benefits include community involvement, organized activity, and protection from unwanted neighborhood additions, etc. But often, HOAs are responsible for the repair and upkeep of the homes within the neighborhoods that they govern. What do you do if you find something wrong with your stucco home and the stucco repair is governed by an HOA that is a little uncooperative? Here are a few tips on how to get your stucco repair taken care of in this situation.

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  • Know what membership provides.

One of the biggest mistakes that homeowners make is that they pay their HOA dues every year but they do not actually know what they are paying for. Unless the HOA for your community is extra shady, there should be a constitution and bylaws available to you for examination so you can better understand exactly what the HOA is responsible for repairing and what they aren’t. Often, you will find that items are listed in these documents rather vaguely, and in the case of stucco repair, this can be a real issue. Things will say exterior in regards to coverage but that may or may not mean that the finished surface of the home is covered. Read over these documents carefully and if you have questions, speak to an attorney.

  • Take Action

When you are dealing with a difficult or slow HOA, it is important to remain active in the conversation. If you have found out that your HOA is supposed to take care of the stucco repair on your home, then make sure that you make it known that you know it is their responsibility as well as remind them of their duty. In many cases, HOAs hope that the complaint will go away or that homeowners will simply give up on them and take care of the problem themselves. Make sure that you stand your ground to ensure that your stucco repair issues get taken care of.

  • Get a second opinion

Many HOAs may be less difficult to deal with than what we described in the above section, but may require that you use repair services that are recommended by them. Sometimes, HOAs do not select contractors based on their skills and reputation but rather their price and previous relationship with one or more people on the leadership side of the HOA. Calling your own inspector and getting a second opinion regarding the damage that you are facing is a good idea just to protect yourself from an inexperienced or unqualified stucco repair contractor.

HOAs can be a great addition to any community, and are something that you should definitely consider being a part of when buying a home, just remember, like with anything, to do your research and make sure that you know your options so that you can protect yourself from unfortunate situations.