Stucco Damage and Snow
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
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.
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!