Stucco Houses Questions

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Old 08-29-14, 03:00 PM
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Stucco Houses Questions

My son is looking for a house in Philadelphia and asked me to research stucco houses. He has heard horrid stories about stucco and is concerned. Questions come to mind:

1. Can an inspector determine if the stucco was applied correctly? What (and how) does he look for? What type of person is a stucco inspector?

2. Can an inspector determine if the stucco has any current problems that could get worse such as moisture getting behind the stucco or anything else?

3. If stucco is applied correctly, is it a permanent process or in years does it eventually have to be replaced?

4. Is there a required maintenance for stucco?

5. Is there a visual method a lay person can use to determine the quality of a stucco house?

6. Would there be a difference in stucco quality for a house that was partially stucco versus a house that had whole sides stucco?

7. Is applying stucco a lost art, or are there competent contractors? How does one pick a competent contractor?

8. Is there an age for a house where stucco siding quality started to slip?

9. Got any idea of the cost to repair a stucco house?

Any other comments are appreciated.

Thanks,
Jerry
8/24/14
 
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Old 08-29-14, 04:02 PM
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I'm not a stucco expert, but I can answer a few questions.

1. Can an inspector determine if the stucco was applied correctly? What (and how) does he look for? What type of person is a stucco inspector?
I assume you mean a home inspector for purchasing, not city inspector. They would look for adhesion problems. The person inspecting is the home inspector or a contractor offering you a bid. How is not important.

2. Can an inspector determine if the stucco has any current problems that could get worse such as moisture getting behind the stucco or anything else?
Yes, moisture is your main concern, especially at lower exterior walls, sprinklers and so forth will degrade the material.

3. If stucco is applied correctly, is it a permanent process or in years does it eventually have to be replaced?
My house was built in 1956. I did have it redone about 8 years ago. But this is only finish coat. When I got it redone, it was a luxury, not a necessity. I did it for looks.

4. Is there a required maintenance for stucco?
Not that I know of. Try to keep water away from lower exterior walls.

5. Is there a visual method a lay person can use to determine the quality of a stucco house?
Peeling, as I said. But this is finish coat. Cracks in stucco have nothing to do with the stucco, but settling, etc.

6. Would there be a difference in stucco quality for a house that was partially stucco versus a house that had whole sides stucco?
Not that I know of. Stucco does it's job, the other material does it's job.

7. Is applying stucco a lost art, or are there competent contractors? How does one pick a competent contractor?
Competent, get referrals. Check them and maybe even go see previous work.
A lost art, no. I could call a stucco guy and they'd be here in 10 minutes.

8. Is there an age for a house where stucco siding quality started to slip?
Not sure. I've explained the finish coat. Base/Scratch coat is mostly cement.
It's not going anywhere soon.

9. Got any idea of the cost to repair a stucco house?
No. CA is probably different than PA. (other than we're both cool)
I paid probably around 6,000.00 for sandblasting, minor repairs, applying bonding (not sure what it's called, it aids in adhesion) and new finish.

Any other comments are appreciated.

Thanks,
Jerry
8/24/14

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/br...#ixzz3BosCUAJ3
 
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Old 08-29-14, 04:12 PM
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1. He can determine the condition but not how it was applied. At least not without having some sort of wall penetration to look at. He should look for de-lamination from the substrate visually and some judicious tapping in various or suspect areas.

2. If it's been done recently, no real way to tell. If it's an old job, problems like that should be readily apparent by visual inspection.

3. Permanent. Only caveat is that if it has been painted (instead of a tinted stucco) then it will need occasional repainting to maintain the appearance. Every 10 years or so is common.

4. Repairing damage as needed and occasional washing just for appearance.

5. Not without some sort of penetration or invasive testing to determine thickness and number of coats.

6. Nope. Not if done correctly. It's all a visual/design thing.

7. Plenty of contractors know stucco. Less so maybe in his/your area, but in the southwest and south it's still widely used. Dunno about the northeast.

8. Maybe in cheaper tract homes, but who can really say?

9. Repair what? The stucco? Depends on too many factors to be accurate.

There are many ways of doing stucco. The traditional old school method involves multiple layers over a suitable substrate. Stucco over brick is one thing, stucco over wood frame is another. There is also stucco over foam panels which is much thinner.

Hope that answers most of your questions.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 06:57 PM
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Do your son a big favor, and gently suggest he stay away from anything coated with synthetic stucco. Very few contractors know how to install it correctly, and when done incorrectly, the exterior walls usually don't take long to fill up with water, mold, etc. Real stucco, with multiple coats of Portland-cement based products on good bonding surfaces, is totally different, and not usually a source of serious problems.
 
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Old 08-29-14, 07:16 PM
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Thanks to all who replied. I'm glad I asked.

Jerry
 
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Old 08-29-14, 07:32 PM
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Hello again

Since other folks may read this post, I thought it beneficial to include the below link that I found after I posted. You should click on the video arrow to see a visual presentation. And, it seemed to originate from the Philadelphia area.

3 On Your Side: Hidden Damage In Stucco Homes « CBS Philly

Jerry
 
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Old 08-30-14, 11:11 AM
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If a house is 30 years or less old, and has stucco, I would avoid it. Older homes I have seen all appear to have stucco installed correctly. I think it may be a lost art.
 
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Old 08-30-14, 12:18 PM
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If a house is 30 years or less old, and has stucco, I would avoid it.
Oh I wouldn't say that. I think it all depends on where it's located. My house was built in '90 with the traditional method of wire and three coats. Almost all the new homes out here are still stucco done the same way. There are basically only 2 things that will stand up to the weather, stucco and fibre cement siding. I don't think there's a single vinyl sided house anywhere nearby. There are some aluminum and wood sided and they look like hell.
 
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Old 08-30-14, 03:15 PM
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When I was in fla [23+ yrs ago] stucco was pretty common and most did a good job. Here in east tenn stucco isn't very common and there is a good percentage of what you do see that isn't all that great. I think how common it is in an area goes a long way in determining how many good stucco masons there are.

Vic, you reckon the heat has anything to do with the lack of vinyl siding in your area? About 30 yrs ago a builder I painted for decided to try it and the gables ends warped from the heat before the house was ready for occupancy. He ripped the vinyl off of those 3-4 houses and went back to his standard masonite gables with aluminum soffits/fascia.
 
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Old 08-30-14, 03:44 PM
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Well, it's the heat and the sun at our elevation. Actually, most of the time here it's below 100 in the summer except for a few weeks where it may get to 108-112. Its the sun that's the killer I think. The majority of our days are pretty clear and the sun just beats down all day. It can be 40 degrees out, but on sunny days you feel comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt in the sun.

Also the majority of landscaping is light colored rock and sand, so that just adds to the reflected heat.
 
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Old 08-30-14, 05:16 PM
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You're more of a man than I'll ever be, living under those conditions. I wilt in the sun, even after having lived in NM for 25+ years.
 
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Old 08-30-14, 05:38 PM
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Swamp cooled garage and outside stuff is done early or late...or in the spring or fall. Better this than VA humidity. Those poor bas-tards that live down on the river get 115-119 a lot during the summer as well as humidity.
 
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