During the life of any home, repairs to the exterior will be required. Wood exterior peels or chips, metal and plastic siding fade, and stucco absorbs moisture, requiring repair or remediation. When it comes to stucco, each repair job is a unique situation requiring an individualized solution. Therefore, it’s important to understand the basics of stucco and stucco remediation.
What is Stucco?
A stucco (or render) exterior is a durable and attractive siding lasting approximately 50 years, depending on how well it is maintained. Stucco is fire-resistant, so it is often used for homes in dry climates and near wooded areas prone to wildfires. Stucco is also breathable, allowing moisture absorbed by the home to quickly evaporate.
However, stucco’s reliability depends on who first applied it to the home’s exterior. In the late 1980s and 1990s, the demand for new homes led to many builders taking shortcuts on stucco installation. Things like bad application of the flashing, inferior windows, and not enough stucco layers caused tremendous problems within years. Today, home buyers are discovering moisture beneath their stucco and rotten framework within the structure.
Small cracks in a home’s facade might not seem like an urgent issue, however, with stucco, moisture intrusion is a situation you want to act on quickly. In fact, while often invisible, the first sign of mold invasion most homeowners see are black streaks emanating from windows and chimneys.
When a contractor specializing in stucco inspects your home, they’ll search specific locations for stucco failure and recommend replacing damaged areas with new flashing and fresh stucco. Simple repairs include resealing cracks, tears, and gaps around windows, flashing, and joints.
Specialists who repair stucco will fix any cosmetic issues and resurface the facade to match the finishing texture, yet will not give you a full inspection report on possible hidden water damage and structural issues. Stucco repair is a temporary fix and should be considered routine maintenance to your home.
When mold, leaks, and moisture are appearing on the walls and ceilings inside your home, it will require a complex solution. Additionally, after rain or snow, if the stucco absorbs more moisture or if it takes longer for it to dry, consult a stucco remediation expert.
Before calling a stucco remediation expert, document incidents of:
- Gaps around windows and doors
- Cracks in the facade
- Missing caulk around light fixtures and exhaust pipes
- Discolored water stains under windows
The first thing a reputable stucco specialist will do after a visual inspection is run moisture tests on the exterior of your home. This evaluation of your home’s exterior should include the roof, gutters, windows, doors, light fixtures, exhaust pipes, and vents. The subsequent report will help determine whether stucco remediation is required.
The long term solution of remediation is an investment that maintains the integrity of your home. A full remediation includes new windows, sheathing, framing, a draining house wrap, flashing, a rain screen, and three layers of stucco which requires a highly skilled professional to accomplish. That said, stucco remediation is an extensive, complex project that requires a good deal of time and money.
Due to stucco’s intricacies, it’s common for homeowners to opt for a different type of siding to replace their stucco, like vinyl. This is often a simpler, less expensive alternative to replacing damaged stucco with new stucco.
At the end of the day, whether you require some small stucco repairs or an extensive replacement, trust E&E Contracting to handle your project. Contact us today for more information on our stucco services.