Stucco is a fairly durable material that can last 100 years or more but needs to be maintained. It’s important to watch for any cracking or damage and have it repaired immediately. To learn more, visit Stucco Repair Philadelphia.
Small hairline cracks can usually be fixed using exterior latex paintable caulk. However, if you see black stains, that’s usually a sign of significant water damage and a bigger repair project is required.
Moisture is a big problem for stucco because it can lead to mildew, mold and wall rot. These issues are more than just unsightly but can cause major structural problems and cost thousands of dollars to fix. A good home inspector or stucco remediation company will check your exterior walls to see if there is moisture intrusion. This process typically starts by looking at areas around windows as these tend to be the most common places for water intrusion in stucco walls.
If your stucco is still damp a week after it rains, it’s a sign that there’s a problem. You may also notice the formation of water spots that never seem to go away or a musty smell in your home. These signs indicate that water is penetrating your walls and could be caused by a leaky pipe, faulty gutters or even misplaced sprinklers.
Other common signs of moisture in your stucco are cracking and spalling. These are caused by expansion and contraction of the stucco due to moisture and weather changes. Normally, these cracks aren’t a sign of structural problems but if left untreated they can lead to wall rot.
A good home inspector or a stucco remediation specialist will use a probe test to determine the extent of moisture damage in your walls. This involves drilling a hole at each spot of suspected damage and inserting a probe to measure the moisture in the wall. This is the most accurate way to determine moisture levels in your stucco.
If your stucco has been damaged by moisture, the first step is to remove the damaged section of the stucco and any underlying lath. Once the damaged section is removed, a stucco repair professional will put in a patch using a cement that’s formulated for this type of application and matches the color of the surrounding stucco. Once the patch has cured, it’s time to paint. Stucco patches should be painted with a heavy-bodied acrylic elastomer that’s formulated to bridge hairline cracks and seal the surface. This product can be purchased at most hardware stores and is available in a wide range of colors.
As a building material, stucco is a highly durable substance that offers both beauty and functionality. Its longevity is tied to proper installation, with an emphasis on strict adherence to standards and codes. However, stucco is susceptible to stressors and environmental factors that can lead to its failure. This includes failure of rainwater disposal systems, which leads to excessive water penetration that can cause salt efflorescence and staining, or break down the integrity of the stucco itself, potentially causing cracks and collapse.
Moisture intrusion is another major problem that can impact a stucco system. If moisture is trapped, the result can be a multitude of issues including structural damage, mold and mildew growth, and dry rot around windows and door frames. Hidden moisture can also increase the likelihood of termite intrusion in a structure. These are all issues that can be addressed by a professional contractor through a process called stucco remediation.
A professional stucco repair company will start with an inspection to determine the extent of the problem and the cost to fix it. This may involve inserting probes in suspicious areas of the stucco walls to read moisture levels. This is a less invasive method than pulling the siding away in a small area, and can provide a better reading than using a moisture meter.
In some cases, the moisture issue is a simple one that can be corrected by adding a new layer of stucco with a waterproof sealant. In other cases, the moisture issue may be more significant and require a thorough stucco remediation.
Stucco repair works well on small, isolated problems such as hairline cracks or a specific section of crumbling stucco. It can be done on a DIY basis, but requires the use of some tools that many homeowners do not have. It is important to remember that even if only a single crack or area of damage exists, that these fissures can allow for water, pests and other debris to enter the building through these pathways.
Whether the issue is a few cracks, extensive damage to the surface of the stucco, or even complete plaster failure, a professional will be able to assess the situation and make a recommendation for repair and remediation. It is always best to have these types of issues handled early on to minimize the amount of work that will be needed.
If you are noticing cracks in your stucco walls it’s important to have these professionally inspected, as some cracks may be indicative of a larger problem. Some cracks are a normal sign of house settling, while others indicate a serious foundation problem. It’s crucial to have these inspected before attempting any type of repair as you do not want to mask the issue with cosmetic fixes.
When a stucco wall cracks it is often caused by a shift in the weight of a home. As a result, the soil around your home expands and contracts, pulling on the foundation of your house and forcing the walls to move. This creates energy that transfers through the foundation into the framing of your house, and then into the stucco. This creates stress on the structure of your house that over time, will cause it to settle and eventually crack.
Small cracks can be repaired by re-pointing the cracked areas with stucco cement and troweling it so that it matches the surrounding area. A good quality water-based paint will cover the patch and protect it from moisture. Larger cracks require more complex repairs. This involves removing the top layer of stucco along with the metal mesh that supports it. Once the metal is removed, you can examine the condition of the lath and make a decision about whether it needs to be replaced or not. If it does, you will need to nail down a layer of building paper and then replace the metal mesh.
Another option for repairing large cracks is to reapply the base coat of your stucco. This can be done by a professional or you can do it yourself with a product like Quikrete’s sanded acrylic caulk (view on Amazon). This is applied with a standard caulking gun, but rather than using a regular caulk, you’ll use a stucco-specific filler to ensure it will last.
Hairline cracks in stucco are common and can be repatched with joint compound. Wider cracks, however, are a sign of foundation settlement and need to be addressed as soon as possible before they worsen. Also, cracks in the foam trim used in stucco are often a sign that the seam was not properly connected and will reappear as thermal expansion and contraction occur.
When a stucco repair is undertaken, it’s important to use the right materials. The wrong materials can exacerbate the decay or even cause it to accelerate. The wrong paints may also insulate the moisture that should be allowed to escape. This stifles the natural evaporation of the moisture and creates an unintended negative effect: paint failure.
Stucco, like any other exterior material on a home, requires regular maintenance to prevent deterioration that will eventually affect the aesthetics of your house. Damaged stucco can become an open invitation for moisture, insects and rodents to make their homes at your home. It’s also not good for the structural integrity of your home.
One of the most common causes of paint failure on a new or repaired stucco is saponification. This is the chemical reaction that breaks down the bond between the paint and the surface. When this happens, water can permeate through the paint to the underlying stucco, causing wood rot and further deterioration of the stucco.
The best way to avoid this is to use acrylic exterior paints that allow the stucco to breathe and evaporate the moisture, rather than trapping it in the paint and causing a rotted mess. Another option is to seal the stucco with a waterproof caulk rated for outdoor use to keep moisture from entering the wall.
Using the proper cleaning techniques before painting can help, too. A pressure washer is the best way to clean stucco, brick and concrete surfaces because it blows dirt out of the tiny crevices. After the cleaning, a masonry surface conditioner can be used to restore and prepare the surface for painting.
When a stucco job is in the process of drying, it is critical to monitor pH level and moisture readings regularly. If these measurements are ignored, or the building is painted before they are read, the resulting paint may fail. This is especially true if the stucco was applied in hot, dry conditions or if it was not adequately wet down (hydrated) during cure.