ASI: Problems with Stucco: A Closer Look
Monday, April 7, 2014
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!