Stucco Replacement Gives Home a New LookShare
We recently completed an exterior renovation for a homeowner who had problems with water intrusion behind the stucco exterior of her home. Unfortunately, many homes that were finished with stucco in the 1980s and 1990s are suffering similar water damage. Quinten Zwally, Construction Project Manager, discusses why stucco failure has become so common and how this homeowner turned it into an opportunity to give her home a distinctive new look.
“The homeowner was dealing with windows leaking on the front of her house,” Quinten said. “She had another contractor come out multiple times to try to fix it, but couldn’t get it corrected properly, so she called us. We assessed her home and thought the windows and the window flashing were causing the issues, but by then she had made up her mind to remove the stucco, start over and have it done right.”
Many of the homes in the neighborhood have a similar look. The homeowner wanted a new style that would set her home apart from the rest without making major changes. She came up with a Craftsman-style design and we went to work.
When we removed the stucco, we showed the homeowner what we found. “When we do a job like this, we inspect as we tear off,” Quinten said. “We share what we find with homeowners to make them aware and to allow them to document it. Then when we put on the new finishes, we show them what we’re doing and why the method we’re using is improved. It’s one thing to come in and fix a problem and another to show them what happened and why.”
“The look of the house changed dramatically just by updating the colors and the siding profiles and adding frieze boards,” Quinten said. “We also extended the porch stoop by about two feet and put on a standing seam black roof to create a grander entrance. It definitely caught a lot of people’s eyes. While the crew was there, many people stopped to inquire about the look.”
What Caused the Problems?
In this case, the problems arose from low-quality windows and improper window flashing compounded by improper stucco installation. When moisture gets behind stucco, it rots the framing underneath.
“Originally, stucco was applied over masonry homes,” Quinten explained. “When it’s applied over stick built homes, measures have to be taken to prevent moisture from being trapped underneath. Unlike vinyl, which allows air to flow around it, stucco is ¾ inches of cement. It doesn’t breathe well, and it presses flat against the sheathing.”
When we apply stucco, we use a system of ribbed home wrap and weep screens to allow moisture to wick out and let the home breathe. “Unfortunately, stucco applied in the 1980s and 90s and even into the early 2000s was often not applied properly,” Quinten said. “By 2000, building codes were updated to correct the issue, but by then it was a bit late.”
Over the past few years we’ve had a lot of calls to replace stucco. In this case, the damage was minimal, but we’ve done replacements where we had to do a lot of reframing because of extensive rot. “I think this is the result of contractors who were building homes to get them up fast and cutting corners,” Quinten said. “You can have a great product, but if it isn’t properly installed, it can fail.”
This project was a classic case of turning lemons into lemonade. “This was a neat project because it solved two problems in one,” Quinten said. “With relatively small changes, it took care of the moisture issues and gave our client a home that suited her personal style better.”
Interested in an exterior makeover for your home? Contact Weaver today about an estimate for your home makeover.