What to Do???


Old 02-04-05, 02:37 PM
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What to Do???

My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a fixer-upper in southern MD. Here's my situation.

The house is currently stucco BUT it was a cheap job. It appears that in 1985 when the house was built, the builder put the stucco directly on a particle board like material (not sure what it is) and now you can see the seam-lines through the stucco where the underlying boards are. The interior of the house is Spanish Style. Also, in several areas (especially where the stucco touches the grass), the particle board has deteriorated. There also appears to be slight termite damage in some areas.

So here's the dilemma;

We'd like to stick with the Spanish architecture BUT what alternatives are there to stucco that work in a 4 season environment?

If we do go with Vinyl siding, can we place it directly over the cheap stucco or must these boards all be replaced - or just those boards along the bottom that show degredation?

I really hope we hear from someone soon. This issue has me nervous...

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Old 02-04-05, 02:59 PM
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There have been some major hidden structural damage issues with that type of "stucco", and you may be buying a nightmare.
Before you close on this property, have it inspected by a licensed General Contractor or General Home Inspector.
I would be extremely wary of this situation.
Old 02-04-05, 04:30 PM
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It sounds like your local building inspector needs someone to jack him up! Or perhaps there aren't any building codes in the area your house is in. At any rate, it sounds like a bad deal. Wood that is in contact with the ground is just plain wrong, it's hard to believe someone would do that. The first thing I would recommend is calling someone who specializes in stucco, and get a free estimate from him of what it would take to fix it.

It sounds to me like possibly someone skipped the building paper, or perhaps that was before the days of today's "stucco wraps" which allow breathing under the stucco.

Depending on the thickness of the stucco (how easy it is to pound a nail through it) and how flat the stucco is (any siding needs a very flat surface or it will telegraph bumps to the front of the siding) you might be able to nail the siding right onto the stucco. Keep in mind, though that vinyl & steel siding is not waterproof, since water can get into vertical j-channels and run behind the siding.

Other options besides vinyl siding:

Repair, restucco
Hardiplank cement lap siding
4x8 sheets of cement siding that look like stucco
EIFS (such as Dryvit, which is similar to stucco)
Old 02-04-05, 09:12 PM
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Well, I went back there this evening and this is what I came away with;

The house is built on the side of hill so at some areas of the base, you can see cinderblocks and at the upper areas, the cinderblocks are not exposed. This to me makes sense. What I am not certain about is this;

The stucco appears to be attached to a particle board material. Under the particle board, there is a black paper material (forgive me for my contruction ignorance). Beneath this paper layer, I believe there are plywood boards which are nailed to the frame. Does this sound about right?

Moving on, the lower areas of the stucco / particle board appear to be damaged in some areas - they appear to have rotted due to moisture, etc. However, underneath this layer, the plywood appears to be in good condition.

Should I have the siding contractors remove all these particle boards / stucco (even the boards that are not damaged) or just those that are? If I choose not to remove all of it and just some of it, can the vinyl siding be nailed to the particle board / stucco or should it be directly attached to the underlying plywood only? Once I go with vinyl siding, can the siding continue all the way down to the point where it is level with the ground or is this a bad practice?



Last edited by Cerberus; 02-04-05 at 09:39 PM.
Old 02-05-05, 06:58 AM
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Now that I'm doing some research it appears that what we have is almost like 'dryvit' except for that the stucco exterior is not attached to a 'foam' board but rather a particle board material. Regardless, it's going to have to be torn down and replaced with something else IMO.

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