Stucco, once the hero of home exterior materials for luxury properties, has become the villain due to its problematic moisture intrusion and the destruction it causes, often requiring remediation. Trapped water is the enemy of stucco, and unfortunately, many southeast Pennsylvania homes are uncovering a long-standing problem they didn’t even know existed: stucco failure due to water infiltration.
According to The Inquirer, shoddy home construction took place in Pennsylvania during the early 2000s, and over 650 homeowners across 55 different Pennsylvania zip codes suffered repairs from moisture intrusion. This didn’t happen just in our state, but also across the nation due to inexperienced workers, low-cost materials, and poor project management.
While many stucco-covered homes may have looked ok from the outside, inside they were rotting, and some were so unstable, homeowners had to evacuate them. Layers of stucco were applied so thinly, water seeped in easily from the start.
Is It a Risk to Buy a Stucco Home?
The widespread discovery of stucco problems in Pennsylvania shows no signs of waning. They started when the stucco was installed, and they continue.
Expert stucco installation consists of several layers: asphalt paper, a rain barrier with an air gap, a layer of mesh, and layers of stucco. However, if a contractor is in a rush or doesn’t give the proper attention to details, stucco installation may not be sealed properly. It’s imperative that the windows, doors, and flashing are installed correctly and have a watertight seal.
Moisture infiltration is the enemy of stucco siding. Stucco is naturally absorbent, and its installation isn’t always done properly. Hence, the stucco problems homeowners in southeast Pennsylvania are facing. We recommend you always have a thorough inspection on the house before buying, especially if it has stucco to prevent future expensive problems.
What Happens When Water Enters Your Stucco Siding?
Discoloration shows up below your windows
Trapped moisture isn’t obvious until it causes visible damage. It can create ugly discolored stucco that appears under windows. These are called “stucco tears.”
Mold and mildew grow
When moisture is trapped in the darkness of your stucco, mold and mildew result. This unhealthy situation can intensify into an infestation of black mold. Serious mold damage contributes to the unwelcome change in your stucco’s appearance.
Stucco isn’t just a cosmetic issue. Massive wall rot can be hidden behind stucco walls. This happens not only in older homes, but also in homes that were built only six short years ago. And it’s the worst part of the stucco problem.
What happens is that trapped water leads to serious rotting in the layers that make up your walls. This situation can be so severe that walls turn to mush and they can no longer provide the support they were designed to maintain.
Water leaks into your home
Your ceiling, walls, and flooring can all be impacted by moisture intrusion due to stucco failure. The devastating impact of all this water can be overwhelming and require major renovations.
How to Spot Stucco Problems in Your Home
The difficulty with stucco is that trouble begins long before you can spot it, so keeping a keen eye out for damage at its earliest stages can help you resolve issues before they multiply.
- Inspect your stucco regularly for any signs of discoloration.
- Look for brown streaks around your windows and where your walls meet your roof.
- If your carpet becomes wet for an unknown reason, it could be the result of stucco damage (this shows up around your baseboards).
- If you smell mold, it could indicate your stucco has incurred water intrusion.
What do you do if you suspect stucco damage in your Pennsylvania home?
Contact a reliable contractor (like us) to inspect your home for stucco damage and resolve the issue early on. Moisture tests can quickly detect problems, and you can schedule the repair or remediation to restore the damage promptly. The quicker you move on your remediation, the less damage you’ll need to repair.
Reliable Solutions for Your Stucco Problems
At Distinctive Homes, we understand how overwhelming it can feel to have stucco failure. That’s why we compiled a team of experts who will meet with you, inspect your home, create the best plan, and reconstruct your home exterior.
When we inspect your home, we don’t just look at surface issues, but examine how existing damage impacts the structural soundness of your home. We don’t cut corners; we follow the strict manufacturer’s standards when installing siding, and provide a 10-year workmanship warranty in addition to the manufacturer’s warranties. We give you options from financing to materials, and help you compare them so you can decide what is best for your home.
Click here to learn how one client came to us with major concerns about their home due to stucco problems including water infiltration, mold, and rotten wood. The client was thrilled with the stunning results and the exquisite, cohesive look of their home. And you can be too!