A Guide to Stucco Water Damage and Repairs

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A stucco exterior is a beautiful and typically low-maintenance option for a home’s exterior unless water somehow infiltrates into the concrete material. The good news is that water-damaged stucco is repairable, although it is a multi-step process if you want to stop water issues from occurring again.

Water Damage Causes

Although a variety of conditions can lead to water getting through or behind the stucco surface, most fall into the following two categories. A full repair can’t be made until the cause of the water incursion is found.

Surface Infiltration

Water shouldn’t be able to infiltrate through a properly installed stucco exterior. This issue may occur if the stucco layer isn’t applied thickly enough or coated properly to keep out moisture. Typically, stucco installation requires three specific coats to be applied for the best level of impermeability. Certain conditions can increase the chances of infiltration, such as plants growing right up against the stucco.

Failed Cracks and Seals

Cracks in the stucco are an obvious method of water intrusion. Even a small crack can allow moisture penetration, and the more moisture that seeps through, the larger the crack will become. Sometimes, the damage that allows water to seep behind the stucco doesn’t affect the stucco itself, but the flashing or seals that connect the wall to other exterior components, such as around a plumbing pipe penetration.

Water Incursion Signs

The sooner you catch the signs of water damage, the more quickly you can schedule a repair. Quick repairs result in less damage, which benefits your wallet and keep your home whole and safe.

Crumbling and Soft Spots

Soft spots form either when water is stuck behind the stucco or if it actually infiltrates through the surface. Crumbling, on the other hand, typically occurs when water soaks through only one or two layers of the stucco. The surface will bubble and then crumble away as the water causes the layers to separate. These issues can occur alone or they may happen together.

Mold and Water Stains

Stucco water stains look similar to water stains on a plaster surface—they tend to create a darker area that may have a visible brown or yellow hue, which is especially visible on lighter stucco walls. Mold may also begin to grow on the walls, as it is well supported on porous concrete stucco when there is plenty of moisture present. Mold stains range in color from greenish-brown to nearly black.

Stucco Repair Requirements

Fortunately, stucco water leaks and damages can be fixed, although you should depend upon a qualified repair service to ensure the problem is fully rectified. Otherwise, ongoing damage can continue to occur, which will compromise any repairs.

Leak Location and Repair

Your repair service will begin by determining the cause of the leak. For cracks, patching is necessary. Damaged seals may need to be replaced or caulked, depending on the type of seal and the cause of damage. Your repair technician may also recommend removing or cutting back plants, or rerouting water flow off the roof, if exposure to moisture is a contributing factor.

Surface Patching

Once the leak has been found and addressed, full patching can occur. Major damages that have resulted in soft spots or crumbling may need to be cut out. Any remaining moisture in the stucco will also require full drying. Stains are then removed with a mold-killing and bleaching detergent.

Fresh stucco is applied, typically in three separate layers to ensure minimum penetrability. The stucco is then painted and a fog coating is applied to help prevent moisture from infiltrating through the surface.

Contact 3R Quality Construction if you notice any signs of water damage on your home’s stucco exterior.