Over the past five to ten years, many unlucky homeowners in Southeastern Pennsylvania have unexpectedly had to remediate their stucco siding due to moisture problems. This may involve anything from repairing and replacing the inner walls several layers in to, in some severe cases, taking affected walls down to the studs and rebuilding. If you’re one of the unfortunate who’ve been through the frustration and expense of remediating moisture-damaged stucco, you know that you never want to go through the experience again. But you may reason that if it happened once, what’s to stop it from happening again? In this article, we’ll detail the steps that we take to ensure that once remediated, your stucco will be water resistant and mold free for many years to come.
Phase 1: Assessing and Removing the Damage
We use infrared tools to begin our assessment of the water damage behind the stucco surface of your home. Depending on the extent of the damage, mold and mildew may have reached through the wall layers and down to the structural lumber and plywood that form the skeleton of your home. To make sure that there are no mold spores that could spread into the new materials, we remove any materials that may have even simply come in contact with mold, including insulation and OSB board. Once we have examined all affected layers, we formulate a remediation plan.
Phase 2: Determining the Cause of Moisture Intrusion
You want the first time you remediate your stucco to be the last, and we don’t blame you! Whether a window or the roof was improperly flashed, there is missing kickout flashing, or the walls simply weren’t prepared for proper aeration, it’s important to understand the cause of the problem before remediation begins and not to repeat the mistakes of the previous contractor. All flashing should be fixed, air leaks should be sealed on the inside of the house, and a rainscreen should be installed under the siding. It may be necessary to address issues like rain gutter placement as well. Make sure to use an experienced and reputable masonry contractor that has encountered and remedied such issues many times before.
Phase 3: Reapplying the Stucco
Once the offending materials have been located, removed, and replaced with fresh ones, it is time to replace the stucco layer of your façade. We use a proprietary 6-layer system to give our customers the best and longest-lasting result. Our process involves the use of the following to build 6 layers of moisture protection:
- Asphalt paper
- Rain barrier that installs a permanent gap to encourage air flow
- 3 new layers of stucco
Affected OSB boards are also replaced, and the spaces around doors and windows, and the intersection of the stucco and the foundation are flashed carefully. Because these areas are so often entry points for moisture, we are fastidious in properly sealing them. This cutting-edge, multistep solution has ensured that hundreds of homeowners throughout the Southeastern PA area can rely on the durability of their new stucco installation for decades to come.
Defending your home against moisture intrusion requires the proper use of specialty materials and processes to prevent moisture from taking hold. Metal flashing (including kick-out flashing and step flashing) require skilled installation in order to create an impenetrable barrier. It is critical to employ flashing at all windows and doors on the home. Kick-out flashing is important at wall intersections where the roof line does not extend beyond the stucco wall or where the lower roof line runs into the stucco wall.
Another step that we take to prevent dampness from being retained in the inner walls is to use several layers of Tyvek or tar paper to surround windows and other openings as extra insurance against rain and snow. These can be used at the upper edge of the wall as well rather than just at the soffit line. Sealing the papers with caulk or tape will create a tight barrier that makes it quite protective against wetness.
It is recommended that weep screeds are installed at the lower edge of the stucco wall to allow for aeration and drainage. Weep screeds or paper should also be used in conjunction with any stucco that makes contact with the foundation or the ground. Supplementary tools for repelling water include flex flashing, drop caps, water barriers, and water-deterring spray.
Strategically placed rain gutters may be valuable in funneling water away from sensitive areas of your façade. Always make sure that your gutters are kept clean and free of debris. We may also make recommendations for relocating plants and trees in order to avoid creating moisture pockets that can affect the stucco surface. Pressure washing a stucco façade should also be discouraged.
Rely On Stucco Today to Do the Job Right
At Stucco Today, we have been in the masonry business for three decades. We know the value of a job done well, and customer satisfaction means everything to us. We also know that stucco installation is something of a lost art, and the recent problems in our area with wall rot due to moisture intrusion are largely due to inexperienced contractors rushing through a job without much regard for quality.
Stucco Today offers remediation services that are unparalleled our area. We pride ourselves in the craftsmanship of our workmen, some of whom have been with us since we opened our doors. We are the most trusted name in masonry—in fact, some of your neighbors have probably used our construction or remediation services themselves! With a 5-year labor and materials warranty on all of our work, you can rest assured that your investment in your home will not go to waste. Call us today to schedule an appointment or to hear more about how our 6-layer stucco installation process can solve your moisture intrusion problem once and for all. We’re looking forward to working with you!