What Causes Damage to Stucco?

What Causes Damage to Stucco?

October 30, 2020

When you have a stucco exterior, it pays to know what damages stucco siding in Bluffton, SC. Not only will you be able to prevent some damage, you’ll know what to look for if your stucco experiences any of these conditions.

Stucco has been used (in various forms) for thousands of years, thanks to its durability and efficiency. It’s made of aggregates like sand, water and a binder (usually cement). It’s usually laid over an exterior, whether stone, brick or wooden construction. Stucco can be colored and formed however you like, making it an exceptionally versatile finishing material.

However, despite its durability, it can be damaged. Here’s what damages stucco siding and how to fix it:

  • Wicking: Moisture is a real problem for stucco. Wicking occurs when the stucco absorbs moisture deep into the wall. This is usually due to improper installation, or the lack of a weep screed—a way to divert internal moisture away and out of the wall. The weep screed is a layer that’s sandwiched between the surface and the moisture barrier. If water and moisture penetrate the stucco, it runs down the weep screed holes and away from the surface. If your home was built in the 1970s or earlier, it’s likely that it’s missing a weep screed. You might see blistering, staining and efflorescence as a result. If you do have a weep screed, it needs to be at least eight inches above paving and the grade. Make sure to leave plenty of room when planting shrubbery or paving cement around your home—otherwise, your stucco could suffer as a result.
  • Surface moisture: Internal moisture is a problem, but surface moisture can also cause issues in your stucco. If you have a garden around your home, and use sprinklers to keep it watered, make sure that they don’t spray your stucco. Otherwise, you might see efflorescence, blistering and staining (if not outright crumbling or flaking). You might also see mold and mildew forming, which is a health hazard for your family. Another source of excessive surface moisture is your rain gutters. If they’re leaking or overflowing and are unable to appropriately divert water away from your home, you will have a dirty stucco surface at best, and major structural problems at worst. Always clean your gutters, and if you notice overflow in one area, address it as soon as possible.
  • Hydraulic pressure: Finally, hydraulic pressure—that is, when water comes from behind the stucco wall—can lead to efflorescence and blistering. Make sure that your stucco siding has a good moisture barrier to prevent this. In fact, avoid painting your retaining walls—that can make hydraulic pressure worse.

If you take good care of your stucco—especially when it comes to ambient moisture and water damage—you’re more likely to enjoy this siding for years.

For more tips to avoid damage or to repair your stucco house siding in Bluffton, SC, get in touch with the team at Spring Construction today. We look forward to assisting you soon!

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