Homes with stucco siding are common in southeastern Pennsylvania — and that means many homeowners have been forced to address the challenges of stucco deterioration. Cracked, missing or broken off pieces of siding make your house unsightly, and can also mask more serious issues, such as a failing home exterior due to moisture damage.
When stucco damage occurs, you might find yourself trying to determine whether the failing stucco can be repaired, or if it needs replacement. The right approach depends on the condition of your house, and choosing a home renovation company that is experienced in stucco remediation will help you get top-notch care that solves your issues for good. Here’s what you need to know to make your decision.
What Is Stucco Siding?
Stucco is a siding material composed of cement, sand, water, lime and glass fibers. Mixed together, these ingredients create an attractive plaster siding that is simpler and less expensive to install than brick, which has made it a popular option for decades.
As a siding material, stucco is also energy-efficient, creating a protective barrier that insulates homes well from hot and cold weather. It’s especially handy in areas that endure significant heat along with occasional cold snaps, such as Florida, California, Arizona and Texas.
How Moisture Can Do Serious Damage to Stucco Homes
As a siding material, stucco has been used often for home construction in Chester County, PA. And though it is a beautiful, affordable siding material, the rainy, snowy, humid climate of the Northeast is tough on stucco. Its porous nature and tendency to crack when houses settle over time make it highly susceptible to moisture damage.
Water seeps behind the stucco, where it lingers, doing its dirty work undetected. Mold and mildew can grow, leading to an unhealthy home environment. The wood that forms the structure of your home can begin to rot, putting the structure at risk of deterioration. This damage jeopardizes the value and safety of your home, which is why it is so important to address issues with your stucco in a timely manner.
Warning Signs of Stucco Failure
If you’re wondering about the condition of your stucco exterior, take a walk around your home, looking for symptoms that signal you have a problem.
- Cracks in your siding
- Missing or broken off pieces
- Stains and streaks underneath windows
- Marred stucco around exterior fixtures such as lights
- Interior leaks and water spots not related to plumbing or roof damage
- Loose, dried-out or shrunken caulking
- Wood rot or weakened drywall
These and other signs of moisture problems can mean that your stucco isn’t protecting your home properly. A professional inspection can assess the degree of damage and appropriate next steps to ensure your home is secure.
Which Is Better: Stucco Repair or Replacement?
Once you’ve determined your stucco siding is not performing at its best, it’s time to consider how best to address the issue. Whether you choose to make repairs, get new stucco or opt for replacement with a long-lasting product like James Hardie siding depends on the extent of the damage.
When to Get Stucco Repair
Fixing your stucco is a lot like patching a tire. If the issue is minor, it’s an affordable and effective option. Typically, stucco repair means finding patches of siding that are damaged, and replacing them or covering them with a fresh layer of additional stucco. As a result, this approach only makes sense if you are addressing cosmetic issues or minor damage to the outermost layer of your exterior.
Stucco repair only fixes how your exterior looks. It does not address the deeper damage that may be happening to your home due to moisture. If that’s the issue, then your problems will keep reoccurring, growing worse over time. So, it is wise to get a thorough inspection to find out what is going on underneath your siding.
When to Get Stucco Remediation
The older your stucco is, the more likely that water that has seeped between the siding and your home’s frame. In southeastern Pennsylvania, homeowners have found it actually doesn’t take but a few years for signs of stucco failure to appear. And remember — the longer the issue continues, the more it puts your house — and your investment — at risk of further, more costly damage.
Stucco remediation (or replacement) is the process of thoroughly addressing the root cause of the problem by removing old, failing stucco and securely installing fresh, new stucco or another form of siding that is more resistant to water, such as durable fiber cement. Remediation is the best approach for creating a long-lasting fix to any problems happening to your stucco due to moisture.
Don’t Compromise on Your Choice of Contractor
To get a solution that provides long-term protection for your home and gives you peace of mind, look for a company that is highly experienced in handling stucco. Here are some tips to help you:
- Find out how long they have been repairing and remediating stucco in your area. You’ll want a skilled company that knows stucco inside and out.
- Get referrals so you can see how other homeowners rate their work.
- Ask for a detailed proposal that explains exactly what they will do, what materials they will use, and how long the process will take.
- Pay attention to how well they communicate and how respectful they are of you and your property.
- Look for a qualified contractor that understands how all the elements of your home work together — from the foundation to framing and roofing — and can provide thorough, complete solutions, not just cosmetic fixes.
- Get New Stucco Siding You Can Rely on for Years
Your home is a major investment, and protecting it is crucial. So when your stucco is showing signs of wear and damage, don’t let the problem grow worse. Get expert guidance from Chester County’s stucco remediation experts at Distinctive Homes.
We’ll work with you to find answers to your concerns and help you determine which is better for your home — gorgeous new stucco siding, or long-lasting, moisture-resistant fiber cement siding. Reach out to us, and get answers that give you peace of mind in a home that stands the tests of time.