Spotting and Fixing Water Damage in Stucco
Stucco is a beautiful siding material that is both durable and long-wearing. It can withstand heavy strikes and is easy to repair when superficial cracks appear. It is incredibly versatile and offers a variety of surfacing options, so finding a finish that will suit your home perfectly is practically a given.
But despite all the good things about stucco, it may be hiding a deep, dark secret from you: water damage.
That is right WATER DAMAGE right there in your wall. Eating away at the structure in plain sight. I know that it seems hard to believe. What helps this process along are those lovely shrubs that have gotten too close to your exterior walls. But that story is for another blog.
So imagine this your walls of your home need to be sealed from the elements. Your exterior stucco is designed to protect the wall from the elements. But when a small crack appears in it the protection has been damaged.
Just like a boat. A boat if it has a crack in it the people on board need to seal it so the boat does not sink. If that crack is left alone then it will only get bigger and more water seeps in and the boat will sink.
Well Water Damage to your walls can happen very much the same way. A small crack on the surface of your stucco may seem like no big deal. But you have to remember that each and every day even when it does not rain moisture is in the air and it is seeping into your walls. The morning dew is a good example. It happens every single day. So day after day after day more and more moisture is seeping into the wall and it is looking for a place to go. So that small crack can if left will result into some serious damage to the integrity of your wall.
Stucco can cause water damage?
Yes. At least poorly installed stucco can. Like any kind of siding, stucco is meant to protect your home from the elements. But it can’t do its job properly unless it is installed properly.
Water damage usually stems from improper sealing in parts where the stucco meets windows, flashing and other joints. Have you seen “stucco tears”? Think of them as your home crying for help. And when your house is “crying,” you don’t just wipe (or power wash) the tears away. You have to get to the bottom of the problem before you can apply a lasting solution.
How can I tell if there’s moisture damage behind my stucco?
You’re actually lucky if you see stucco tears, because at least you can easily tell that you’ve got water damage. But there are times when there are no outward signs of water damage, meaning homeowners have no idea that they’ve got mold and mildew and rot eating away at their walls until it’s too late.
But while stucco tears are a telltale sign, they are not conclusive. The best way to determine whether you have water damage in stucco is a moisture test. You’ll need to hire a professional to conduct this moisture test. Once you’ve diagnosed your moisture problem, you can either repair or replace the stucco.
Repair or replace?
If you catch water damage early, it’s possible that repairs will be enough to remedy the problem. Do keep in mind, however, that repairs aren’t really a permanent solution. After all, your stucco siding can still be at risk of future water damage. Also, if the water damage is extensive or the necessary repairs intensive, it might be easier and more cost-effective to do a complete siding replacement.
What’s the alternative?
If you do decide to go the replacement route, there are a lot of siding options to consider, but none more effective than fiber cement. Fiber cement siding can resist damage from both hot and cold weather, hold up well to impact from hail, and stay solid even in the most humid climates. What’s more, it’s very easy to maintain.
Unlike stucco, fiber cement won’t rot or warp and, with proper care, its finish can last up to 15 years. Even better, fiber cement siding costs 20 percent to 50 percent less than what you would spend on brick, stone or stucco. Its price is comparable to high-end vinyl siding.
But what if you want to retain the look of stucco? Easy. Fiber cement siding is available in a range of finishes that mimic other siding options, including stucco. Think of it as getting all the benefits of stucco for less without the risk of water damage.