No homeowner wants to discover water damage within their walls. But, that’s exactly what those with stucco homes from the 2000s through mid-2010s are coming face to face with. Improperly installed stucco systems can lead to severe and costly water damage.
When water gets within your walls, it can lead to health hazards and can compromise the structural integrity of your home. With this in mind, it’s important to be able to determine whether water has become trapped in your walls. And if there is water in your walls, you’ll want to hire a stucco remediation expert as soon as possible.
The sooner you can have your damaged home remediated, the better. Water damage only gets worse over time, leading to higher remediation costs.
To identify if your stucco is suffering from water damage, there are 7 key signs to look for. Stucco that has been damaged by water may show signs of cracking, staining, moss growth, mold growth, crumbling, softening, and bubbling.
1. Crack Formation
Cracks aren’t always a sign that your stucco is suffering from water damage. They may not even be a sign of damage at all. There are many reasons your stucco may develop cracks, including the foundation of your home settling.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should ignore any cracks you see in your stucco. If it did, they wouldn’t be on this list. But, if you do see cracks forming, you should look for other signs of water damage nearby.
Hairline cracks could be a sign that there’s damage. But, if no other signs are found, you may be fine to leave the cracks or simply touch them up. Larger cracks are the main issues. They could be the result of your stucco expanding and contracting due to trapped moisture.
And, even if you find a larger crack with no other signs of water damage, you should get it fixed. That crack might not be caused by water, but it can certainly let water into your walls where it can cause harm.
Staining is a good sign that your walls are being affected by moisture. For example, you may see dirty-looking streaks where water flows, such as from the corners of your windows. In this case, the problem could be incorrectly installed or missing flashing.
Other than streaks, you may also notice dark spots. These discolored spots can be the result of moisture trapped within the wall. Simply painting over them will not solve the underlying problem causing the discoloration.
Discolored sections on your stucco walls may look wet. If it’s soon after a rainstorm, this isn’t necessarily a problem. But, if the wet-looking spots persist, it could be a sign of trouble. The area around cracks is a good place to start when looking for dark spots because this is where water could be entering the wall.
3. Moss Growth
Moss growth isn’t necessarily a sign that water has become trapped within your walls and is causing damage. But, it is a sign that water isn’t being directed away from your walls properly. And if water isn’t being directed away from your walls properly, it can lead to damage over time.
Typically, moss grows where water runs down walls and at the base of walls. If water is running down your walls, it could be because there’s an issue with flashing or your gutters. And if the base of your walls has moss growth, it could be because there’s not enough clearance between where the wall terminates and the ground.
If you notice moss growing on your stucco – or any siding material – it’s a good indication that something needs to be fixed.
4. Mold Growth
Unlike moss growth, mold growth is usually a sign that water is trapped within your walls. Mold thrives in dark, damp places, such as within walls that trap moisture. If you notice black spots on your stucco, it could be mold. And if you can see mold on the outside of your walls, there’s even more on the inside.
Mold is bad for two main reasons. First, it can be hazardous to your health. The mold in your walls can have harmful effects on those within your home. Second, it’s a sign that the wooden beams within your walls are likely rotting. As the beams rot, your walls become less structurally sound.
5. Surface Crumbling
If the surface of your stucco is crumbling, it should be relatively easy to spot. But, while surface damage is often a sign of underlying damage, it’s not necessarily caused by water. Still, it’s a sign that you need to fix a problem within your walls.
As the surface crumbles away, your walls become easier to damage. More damage leads to more layers falling off. And more layers falling off leads to more damage. It’s a vicious cycle of damage to your home.
You may be able to determine if the source of the crumbling is water damage if the newly revealed layers are soft or moist to the touch.
Another problem with surface crumbling is that it means there are fewer layers protecting your home from water. Stucco is a permeable material – water is going to get through. But, you don’t want so much water getting through that it can’t efficiently be expelled from the walls.
6. Soft Spots
Soft spots on your stucco are typically paired with other signs of water damage. If there’s mold or moss on your walls, there are probably also going to be soft spots. If you notice staining, it’s probably going to be on a soft spot.
But, if you see cracks or other damage that isn’t necessarily caused by water, you can feel around the area for soft spots. If you find them, you’ve probably found your culprit.
7. Surface Bubbling
Bubbling is a sign of water damage that is often paired with soft spots and crumbling. It happens when moisture gets behind or between the layers of your stucco and heats up. Usually, bubbling is found along the bottom of walls because this is where water accumulates.
Stucco Today Remediation
If you’ve noticed signs of water damage to your stucco home, contact Stucco Today. We’ll come out for an inspection of your walls and inform you of the next steps you should take.