How Does Water Get into Stucco Walls?

Stucco water intrusion can be an incredibly serious issue. While stucco siding may be an attractive option for home siding due to its style, a variety of issues can lead to water penetrating the siding if it isn’t installed properly.

Stucco water intrusion can lead to mold and other water damage issues, so it is important to deal with it quickly. Understanding how stucco water intrusion happens is the first step to preventing it and dealing with it if it does happen to your home.

How Can Water Infiltrate Stucco?

New stucco installation

Stucco is intended to offer a solid and seamless siding option that should stand up to water without issue, so how does stucco water infiltration happen? Water can work its way into stucco siding through direct absorption, entering through cracks, or infiltrating improper installations.

Direct Infiltration

Stucco is meant to be waterproof when sealed, but sometimes it does not hold up so well. A variety of conditions can lead to water penetrating the stucco surface directly, which can then lead to an increasing stucco water intrusion problem. Once the water does get past the surface, wicking can cause the water to infiltrate very deeply.

Consistent contact with moisture can allow water to penetrate stucco. It should stand up fine to the elements if the surface is not being kept wet all the time. However, water can work its way inside. If you have sprinklers that are inadvertently keeping the walls wet or any other source of continual water, you could find yourself dealing with stucco water infiltration.

Entering Through Cracks

Of course, stucco only provides an effective barrier against water when it is solid and intact. If cracks develop for any reason, they can allow water to reach inside. Once inside, they can cause swelling and shifting that lead to worse cracks that allow more water inside.

Cracks can develop for many reasons. If your home shifts over time, small cracks can form in the exterior. This itself is not a structural issue. But, it can allow water to penetrate inside and lead to mold and other problems.

Improperly Installed Flashing

Stucco can provide a very solid barrier, but it can’t cover your entire home. At various points, your stucco siding will come into contact with windows, the underhang of your roof, and other fixtures and structures. At these points, flashing and moisture barriers serve to keep moisture out.

However, improper installation can lead to stucco water intrusion at these points. Keep in mind that even when a small bit of water manages to get in, you could find yourself dealing with serious damage over time.

What Factors Can Contribute to Water Intrusion?

Home Remediation

There are many individual factors that can contribute to water intrusion. Various installations on your home’s exterior, the growth of plants on the stucco surface, and other factors can all play a role.

It’s important to know about these potential hazards ahead of time. They could be doing unseen damage over the course of years, eventually causing mold and rot throughout your home. Water infiltration can be incredibly serious, so make sure to check these important aspects to protect your stucco siding.

Planters and Plants Too Close to Walls

Having plants too close to exterior walls can quickly lead to major issues. The simple fact of the matter is that soil contains significant levels of moisture. If soil is in contact with your stucco siding, that moisture will slowly be transferred inside.

If you have planters, flowerbeds, or garden boxes directly against the side of your home, they could be causing serious damage. Any type of plant growing too close can create an excessively moist environment that can be detrimental to the long-term maintenance of your siding.

Light Fixtures

Exterior light fixtures are among the most common sources of stucco water intrusion. These create a hole through the stucco for the light fixture box, and that hole isn’t always properly outfitted with a moisture barrier. This can allow rainwater to infiltrate the interior of the walls very easily.

Light fixtures are the most common issue but far from the only one. All kinds of outdoor installations can cause the same problem. Of course, any outdoor taps can lead to water intrusion. A deck or patio installation connected to the house can also allow for water to get inside when it isn’t properly isolated.

You might also notice a similar problem if you have other siding materials for sections of your home. Ensuring that any such seam is properly handled can be difficult, as different types of siding all have their own considerations to manage. Ensuring that your siding installation is handled by a professional can help prevent this issue from happening.

Ivy and Other Growth

Do you have ivy growing on your stucco siding? You might think it looks great, but it could be causing damage to your home. Ivy is a plant that clings to walls using projections called rootlets. These projections can penetrate the surface of the stucco, allowing moisture to get inside.

Over time, ivy can cause major damage and allow significant moisture intrusion. It’s important to mention ivy because most homeowners wouldn’t think an attractive plant causes damage, but you shouldn’t overlook other potentially harmful plants either.

Moss can cause just as much damage to your stucco siding, if not more. Its roots can penetrate deep inside the surface and allow moisture to infiltrate and spread through the walls. While homeowners are less likely to let moss grow unrestricted on the side of their house, it’s important that you act as quickly as possible to avoid damage.

Deal with Stucco Water Intrusion the Right Way

Do you think that you may be dealing with stucco water intrusion in your home? If so, you can reach out to Stucco Today to find out what your options are. We can remove damaged stucco and replace it, along with providing treatments to help prevent future issues and offering a variety of siding alternatives.