Stucco is a versatile facing material that can be applied to flat or curved surfaces either inside or outside any building or structure. Stucco has great appeal as a surface finish because of its utility, low first cost, and minimum need for maintenance. In its hardened state, stucco is a desirable facing material because it is hard, strong, fire-resistant, and color-retentive.
Stucco exteriors must be maintained. It does not take a very big crack to allow water intrusion. In fact, a crack as small as 1/16” of an inch wide can permit water to enter behind the stucco, especially with a stucco system that has no moisture barrier. All cracks 1/16” wide or larger and all damaged areas of stucco should be properly repaired. Any penetration through the stucco that is left unsealed will allow entry of moisture.
Examples Surface Penetrations
Even an average size home can have an extreme number of penetrations, including:
- electrical boxes
- exterior receptacles
- light fixtures
- plumbing lines and faucets
- cable TV lines
- satellite dish mounts
- security systems
- gutter straps
- shutter brackets
- deck rail penetrations
- gas lines
- dryer vents
- telephone lines
- damaged or punctured areas of stucco
All penetrations must be sealed with a compatible sealant as recommended by the stucco system manufacturer and required by Model Codes. Damaged areas of stucco must be properly repaired to prevent water intrusion.
Recommended Care and Maintenance:
The beautiful architectural designs made possible by synthetic stucco systems make these homes very desirable and marketable. It is critical, however, to carefully maintain these systems to prevent water intrusion and deterioration. With the proper care and maintenance, your stucco system should give you many years of beauty and function. It is very important that the five following steps be followed to protect your investment.
(1) Semi-annually inspect all sealant around windows, doors, penetrations through the stucco, stucco transitions (such as stucco to brick, stucco to stone), and stucco terminations (at roof, at grade, at patios or walkways). Arrange for prompt repair of any areas of caulk that is split, cracking, crazing or is losing adhesion. Also, promptly repair any cracks in the stucco.
(2) Any leaks, cracks, areas of discoloration, mold or mildew should be promptly investigated by a certified EIFS inspector. Repairs should be proper and prompt.
(3) Anytime you make a penetration through the stucco such as to mount a satellite dish, add shutters, new wiring, cables, plumbing, security systems, etc., the perimeters must be sealed with a quality sealant approved for EIFS.
(4) Modifications, additions or renovations (including roof replacement) to the structure of any kind should be inspected by a qualified EIFS inspector to ensure waterproofing of critical details is properly performed.
(5) Periodic cleaning of the stucco is necessary to maintain its appearance and prevent permanent staining. Pressure cleaning equipment must be calibrated to the stucco manufacturer’s recommended pressure level.
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