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We are sure by now you have heard about some of the negative reputations that stucco has developed over the last decade or so.  But is this reputation deserved? The simple answer is no, but let us delve a little deeper into the subject and you will see for yourself the positive and negative attributes that stucco has to offer.

Many people are finding themselves in a position of having to pay a large amount of money to remediate their stucco homes. This means having the stucco removed off the structure and having any underlying deterioration repaired or replaced. It is not uncommon to find rotting sheathing and even some rotting framing members beneath the stucco.  This as you can imagine, can be horrifying for homeowners, and leads to many friends and neighbors now worrying what horrible surprises are lurking under their own stucco.

So what is the real problem? The fact is, the stucco is often fine and in perfect condition, it is the construction methods utilized to prepare the structure behind prior to the stucco being applied that causes the problems.  As stucco is porous, water will wick into and through the stucco, so the structure behind must be resistant to moisture infiltration.  

In addition, any water that does migrate through the stucco needs to be provided with an escape route, so that it doesn’t pool and back up into the building envelope.  As house wrap (think Tyvek) is applied somewhat loosely to a home, and has many overlaps, you can see that it wouldn’t take much for moisture trapped behind the stucco to find it’s way behind this protective waterproof barrier.  Reverse flashing around windows and doors is also a fairly common mistake. This means that any water dripping down the window or door is directed behind the house wrap instead of on top of it. Crazy, right? But sadly all too common.

Does this mean that ALL stucco homes are doomed?  No, not at all. Stucco is a versatile and beautiful product that will provide many years of durable protection for your home IF it has been applied with the correct construction methods beneath.  But how do you tell a good stucco home from a bad one? Well unfortunately, you as a homeowner cannot. However, you can hire a professional stucco inspector to carry out a stucco inspection.  

This inspection will reveal if the stucco was applied with the correct construction details, and will even tell you if moisture is migrating into the structure of your home, or if it is, as it should be, remaining dry and sealed from exterior moisture.  A stucco inspection can either confirm your fears or put your mind at ease. Either way, it is better than not knowing and worrying about it.

So if you have a stucco home, or are thinking of purchasing a stucco home, prepare yourself by being informed and understanding your home or prospective home’s exterior condition. Hire a reputable and professional stucco inspection company.  Steer clear of any inspector or inspection company that claims that they can inspect your home with a thermal camera or infrared camera, this is a scam and they prey on people who don’t understand the limits of such technology.  

We have worked with many different stucco inspection companies in the tri-state area.  Many are ok, some are terrible and others should be locked up for their practices. Of all the companies we have worked with, we have found the Stucco Testing Specialists, located in King of Prussia, to be a reliable company and probably the best out there.  I have attached a link to their website below, so if you are in the market for a stucco inspection, check them out, you will not be disappointed.

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