The other issue is whether or not the stucco was applied by a licensed contractor. A typical homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover work done by unlicensed contractors, and many synthetic stucco distributors sell directly to applicators who may or may not be licensed. That’s just one more reason it’s always better to call a licensed contractor for any work on your home, no matter how minor.
Spotting and Fixing Water Damage in Stucco
If you catch moisture damage early, it’s possible that repairs will be enough to remedy the problem. Do keep in mind, however, that repairs aren’t really a permanent solution. After all, your stucco siding can still be at risk of future moisture damage. Also, if the damage is extensive or the necessary repairs intensive, it might be easier and more cost-effective to do a complete siding replacement.
Weep screed was typically not used on houses built back in the 50’s and 60’s. Although weep screed first appeared in ASTM handbooks in the early 90’s it had already been in use since the 70’s. The purpose of weep screed is to allow water that penetrates a stucco surface to run down the wall between the stucco and moisture barrier and escape through weep holes in the screed. If no weep screed is installed water cannot escape through the base of the wall and if the wall is plastered all the way to the ground moisture can actually “wick” up the wall. Moisture damage from wicking can result in staining, efflorescence and blistering.
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According to a case study of homes in Florida from the American Institute of Architects and the National Institute of Building Sciences, stucco has frequently been applied directly over concrete block wall construction, commonly in thicknesses of a quarter-inch or less (building codes specify thicknesses of between five-eighths and three-quarters of an inch). Normally, exterior stucco requires reinforcement or some type of lath for support; however, this was not done in numerous cases. While the intention is to create a waterproof seal, this barrier begins to fail with age.
Water Damage and EIFS
A preliminary visual inspection may reveal if water damage is actively occurring, as well as whether it is likely to occur due to improperly installed synthetic stucco. There have been many reported cases of EIFS manufacturer installation instructions not being followed correctly by builders, leading to problems. It’s a good idea for inspectors to understand some of the methods of installation so that they can check some likely areas of moisture intrusion.
Traditional stucco is a cement mixture used for siding. The cement is combined with
water and inert materials such as sand and lime. Usually, wooden walls are covered
with tar paper and chicken wire or galvanized metal screening. This framework is
then covered with the stucco mixture. Sometimes, the cement mix is applied directly
to specially prepared masonry surfaces.