Stucco Repair involves repairing cracks and addressing underlying water damage. Ideally, Stucco Repair Charleston SC completes the process and can handle other work, such as replacing damaged laths and installing new insulation.
For cracks and small holes in your exterior stucco that are no more than 1/4-inch wide, consider using a premixed stucco patch you buy at your local hardware store. Apply it with a putty knife and allow it to set according to manufacturer instructions.
A number of home improvement stores carry stucco repair kits. These are marketed to do-it-yourselfers. But do they really work and are they a good choice? I’ll reveal some of the secrets behind these products and show you how to use them to achieve professional results.
When a plaster surface gets damaged, it needs to be repaired as soon as possible to prevent further damage and protect the underlying structure from water penetration. If water penetrates behind a crack, it can cause the plaster to loosen and crumble. In addition, the water can cause mold and mildew to grow on the underlying structure, which is not only unsightly but can be health hazard for anyone living in the house.
Depending on the type of crack, there are several different methods that can be used to fix it. For hairline cracks, acrylic exterior caulk is the most common. There are a few different brands to choose from, so be sure to read the reviews before choosing one. You may also want to try a sanded caulk if the crack has a rougher texture.
For larger cracks, you can fill them with a liquid cement and sand mixture. This is a simple task that any do-it-yourselfer can accomplish, but it should be done quickly so that the underlying concrete does not become compromised. This is important because if rainwater does penetrate the underlying concrete, it can cause major problems down the line that could be costly to repair.
In either case, it is imperative that you take care not to crack the underlying wood lath supports as you are working. If you have to use a hammer and cold chisel, be sure to protect them with a tarp or sheet of plywood. It is also important to know that simply filling a crack will not stop it from coming back. If the crack is caused by movement in the building, it will open and close again as the ground expands and contracts.
To stop these cracks from opening and closing again, you need to cover the crack with a pigmented coating that will blend it in with the surrounding stucco. There are many different options for this, such as acrylic elastomeric caulks, mineral paints and stains, lime washes and fog coats (a traditional cement based finish with aggregate). Choose one that will match the color of your existing stucco.
Sometimes the source of water damage is obvious, such as a burst pipe, but other times it is not. Regardless of the cause, moisture intrusion in stucco will eventually lead to failure if left unaddressed for long periods of time. When moisture is trapped behind stucco it wets the wall interior and can lead to the rotting of wood sheathing, foam insulation, and the structural framing. This can be seen on the interior of the building as unsightly marks, spots, and stains. If a home owner suspects they have water damage in the house, it is recommended to contact a professional to perform a moisture test and/or a leak detection test to determine the source of the issue.
In addition to cracks and discoloration, another indication of moisture intrusion is the presence of moss or mildew on the exterior of a building. A good way to help prevent this type of problem is to apply a waterproof coating to the stucco such as Tex-Cote, which is formulated to defend against harsh climates and damaging insects.
The most common place to see signs of moisture intrusion in stucco is around windows. Leakage through the caulking, cracks in the stucco itself, or gaps between the window and the frame are very common. When a homeowner notices cracking and moisture intrusion in their stucco, they should check to see if the source of the problem is an internal issue such as a leaking washing machine or a burst pipe. If the source of the problem is an internal issue, homeowners insurance will typically cover the cost of a stucco restoration.
When homeowners are considering repainting their building’s exterior, it is also a good time to inspect and repair any issues with the stucco and its components. Many times, the extent of the repairs required is a lot larger than expected and may require the removal of the stucco down to the base layer. This can be costly but is often a necessary part of the process in order to remediate water damage and rot to the structure.
A crack in stucco is a sign that it’s time for remediation. This is the process of repairing the underlying issues that caused the cracks, and is a more in-depth repair than just filling in the cracks. Remediation typically involves a full inspection of the entire wall system, as well as the removal of existing plaster and replastering. If a homeowner has a large crack or multiple cracks that are spreading quickly, it is probably best to call a professional for this type of work.
The first thing to do is to remove the loose plaster and debris from the area of the crack. This can be done with a putty knife, a hand trowel, or a wire brush. It is important to do a thorough inspection of the entire wall system, particularly in areas around windows where moisture tends to accumulate. This can help a homeowner to find and correct the underlying problem that is causing the deterioration, such as a leak.
If the underlying problem is found, a stucco pro will then replace the rotted and damaged sections of the wall system, including the lath and sheathing. Then, the new stucco will be installed using a proper application technique and a quality product to ensure long term performance.
Once the replastering is complete, and all of the lath and sheathing has been replaced, a proper flashing will need to be installed at the bottom of the walls. This will keep moisture from running down the back of the stucco and into the house. A tar paper can be used, but it is preferable to use a waterproof membrane that will seal the walls to prevent moisture intrusion.
After the flashing has been installed, a premixed stucco patching material should be applied to the cracked area. It is important to use a float and a wire brush to ensure the texture matches that of the rest of the wall system. Once the patching material is dried (as per manufacturer’s instructions), it should then be painted. The paint will protect the repaired area and also hide the patch.
Stucco is a popular choice for building exteriors, especially in climates with frequent precipitation. However, like any wall surface, it can be prone to moisture infiltration. When this happens, it will eventually lead to a host of problems with the substrate and wood frame behind it. In addition, water infiltration can lead to mold and rot within the structure itself. If left unattended, this can result in expensive and even dangerous consequences.
The best way to prevent these problems is to identify and address the underlying causes as soon as possible. Fortunately, there are several warning signs to look out for. These include cracks in stucco, stains (often referred to as “stucco tears”) under windows or doors, dark spots around light fixtures, and more. It’s also important to check the condition of the caulking around these areas. If it has deteriorated, the area will allow water and air to penetrate behind the stucco, which will speed up the deterioration process.
A common cause of moisture intrusion is poor or incomplete flashing. This is typically an “L” shaped piece of metal that’s used to cover the gap between the stucco and the roof. This is particularly problematic in areas with southern exposures and gable tops. Other sources of moisture intrusion can be the result of insufficient weep screed, the incorrect use of materials, and even improper construction techniques.
If you see any of these warning signs, it’s important to call a stucco remediation specialist right away. Remediation is much more involved than repair, but it’s the only way to guarantee that your stucco will be able to withstand moisture for the long term.
Remediation involves removing the stucco down to the base layer and addressing any internal damage caused by moisture. It’s important to note that this is a more extensive and costly process than simply repairing the stucco itself. However, it’s also the only way to guarantee that the moisture will not return to the surface of the stucco. This makes it well worth the investment for most homeowners. If you’re thinking about hiring a company to perform stucco remediation, it’s best to consult with an experienced professional who can provide an accurate quote and estimate for the work.