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What's behind the stucco bulge?
Old 07-07-2017, 10:42 AM   #1
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What's behind the stucco bulge?

The stucco guys (2) arrived on time and began putting up their scaffolding to get at the bulging stucco some 8 feet up. I was off to physical therapy and when I returned my wife and the two workers were together obviously discussing the new 2 foot hole, dead center of the bulge...

Stucco = plywood or boards followed by tar paper, metal lathe and couple coats of cement. This is the old style thats been used for ages. Hated by some but loved by others,.. this stuff is rock hard.

My stucco is the same except in the area of the bulge there is some metal ductwork where the builder 25 years ago choose to omit the plywood and use some hard foam insulation. Thus the bulge.. I'm no builder but this is in my mind cutting corners construction. The mason insisted his boss to look at it before he proceeded. He thoroughly covered the hole with tarpaper.

The two workers then focused on the rest of the spot repairs around the house. They were polite and did very tidy work. The rain today and yesterday kept them away. The hole will be assessed on Monday.

It will get fixed, but dam did you ever feel like you can't catch a break?
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Old 07-07-2017, 10:55 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
.....

Stucco = plywood or boards followed by tar paper, metal lathe and couple coats of cement. This is the old style thats been used for ages. Hated by some but loved by others,.. this stuff is rock hard.

My stucco is the same except in the area of the bulge there is some metal ductwork where the builder 25 years ago choose to omit the plywood and use some hard foam insulation. Thus the bulge.. I'm no builder but this is in my mind cutting corners construction. The mason insisted his boss to look at it before he proceeded. He thoroughly covered the hole with tarpaper.

........
Unless the bulge was always there, which is not clear. If your bulge appeared, then its from the same reason as all the other bulges, a crack in stucco allows water in causing the bulge, possibly from freeze action, or pressure.

Since the foam like the plywood is not holding on the stucco, I don't see the issue for the repairmen, except they can't nail into the foam, but could nail the lathe around the foam.
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What's behind the stucco bulge?
Old 07-07-2017, 11:03 AM   #3
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What's behind the stucco bulge?

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Since the foam like the plywood is not holding on the stucco, I don't see the issue for the repairmen, except they can't nail into the foam, but could nail the lathe around the foam.

1. Bulge appeared suddenly, is maybe 6 feet wide
2. Yes they can nail around the foam... or put in plywood like it should have been.

Some perspective: This is an $8,000 job - one bid was $16,000.
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:09 AM   #4
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This is a continuation of another thread, here The bulge...[stucco repair]
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What's behind the stucco bulge?
Old 07-07-2017, 11:14 AM   #5
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What's behind the stucco bulge?

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This is a continuation of another thread, here The bulge...[stucco repair]
Actually that was back in may when I was just getting quotes...this is about what was discovered 2 days ago. Not sure I would have ever guess that a 25 y/o home would have such poor construction.
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Old 07-07-2017, 11:19 AM   #6
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Stucco is a very demanding medium, especially in a wet climate. Our building is stucco, and our climate is wet, and this presents a fair number of problems. Looks like we are going to reside completely with James Hardie fiber cement panels and boards.

I have been pushing for this. From what I can learn if done right this tends to be long lasting solution.

Ha
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:05 PM   #7
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Your stucco house is a product of modern construction techniques.

In the old days, you'd see cement based stucco slathered concrete block construction in places like Florida and Southern California. They'd first put on a coat, and scratch it. Then they'd put on a second finish coat.

Now, they basically enclose a wood framed house with tarpaper and then cover it with a styrofoam type board. Then they'll cover that with a metal lath and put two coats of stucco over the boards.

Properly installed, the new stucco will perform acceptably. You do have to be very proactive inspecting around windows and trim for water intrusion where things can freeze.

The biggest problem with modern stucco construction is with untrained installers--many of which are foreign born. They've also been known to take the stucco all the way to the ground--and termites love to build their little tunnels up the backside of the foam and into the wooden structure.

In Atlanta, we had stucco on the second story of our house and stacked stone on the first floor. We had termite intrusion behind the stucco beside the garage door, and I fixed it easily. I also patched all cracks on the second story around the windows and repainted the stucco. When I sold the house, it was in good condition. But very, very knowledgable few home buyers will even consider buying a fully stucco'd house--and would prefer to stay away from that building medium all together.

The price quoted is absolutely ridiculous for a small patching job. I'm not above paying a contractor a reasonable price for their time expended and supplies. But if I was going to be spending big money to repair stucco, I'd be installing another material that's more popular on the retail housing market.
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:11 PM   #8
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The price quoted is absolutely ridiculous for a small patching job.
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Old 07-07-2017, 12:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
1. Bulge appeared suddenly, is maybe 6 feet wide
2. Yes they can nail around the foam... or put in plywood like it should have been.

Some perspective: This is an $8,000 job - one bid was $16,000.
Outch - no wonder then that some people hate stucco.... I'm guessing you might be one of them, once its all said and done. Sorry about the problems - that said, 25 years is a decent time for most sidings (says he who expects to have his own brick siding last for 100 years )
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Old 07-07-2017, 01:20 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by rayinpenn View Post
The stucco guys (2) arrived on time and began putting up their scaffolding to get at the bulging stucco some 8 feet up. I was off to physical therapy and when I returned my wife and the two workers were together obviously discussing the new 2 foot hole, dead center of the bulge...

Stucco = plywood or boards followed by tar paper, metal lathe and couple coats of cement. This is the old style thats been used for ages. Hated by some but loved by others,.. this stuff is rock hard.

My stucco is the same except in the area of the bulge there is some metal ductwork where the builder 25 years ago choose to omit the plywood and use some hard foam insulation. Thus the bulge.. I'm no builder but this is in my mind cutting corners construction. The mason insisted his boss to look at it before he proceeded. He thoroughly covered the hole with tarpaper.

The two workers then focused on the rest of the spot repairs around the house. They were polite and did very tidy work. The rain today and yesterday kept them away. The hole will be assessed on Monday.

It will get fixed, but dam did you ever feel like you can't catch a break?
Ray, I wake up every morning expecting to get stiffed, cheated, rooked, robbed, and lied to. The 16k estimate you got is probably on the guys clipboard for when I call him. I did meet an honest plumbing guy who is now my new best friend. He gave me a solid job at a discount price(he will probably retire next week). Maybe "da woim" has turned for me.
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Old 07-07-2017, 01:27 PM   #11
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Ray, I wake up every morning expecting to get stiffed, cheated, rooked, robbed, and lied to.
Man, you sound like a high-mileage cop...... wait...
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Old 07-07-2017, 01:31 PM   #12
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Hahha, Yeah I should have added those are the mornings when I have a positive outlook.
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Old 07-07-2017, 02:56 PM   #13
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The price quoted is absolutely ridiculous for a small patching job.
I think this quote included a finish coat on the entire house, if I interpreted the original thread right.
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Old 07-07-2017, 03:26 PM   #14
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The biggest problem with modern stucco construction is with untrained installers--many of which are foreign born. They've also been known to take the stucco all the way to the ground--and termites love to build their little tunnels up the backside of the foam and into the wooden structure.
You may have solved a mystery at our last house. It was stucco and it went all the way down into the ground- typical tract McMansion built 30 years ago. Every year there would be dead insects in the dining room, including on the curtains, and at one point had to have someone patch the wall because of moisture damage. It was easy to find someone to patch things but no one was smart enough to search for the root cause, which I think started with water draining from the roof to that area. I doubt the insects were termites; we had a service that installed wells around the house, inspected them periodically and put in poison if they found any activity. Glad we sold the place 2 years ago.

Current house has some stucco but only on the facade, neatly ending 8" above ground level. The only dodgy area I see is some crumbling where it meets the front door step. Gotta have that checked.
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:47 PM   #15
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But very, very knowledgable few home buyers will even consider buying a fully stucco'd house--and would prefer to stay away from that building medium all together.
I've never heard that before. Stucco is very common around here and when properly done lasts decades. My house was built in 1970 and the original stucco is still in great shape.
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Old 07-07-2017, 04:49 PM   #16
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Stucco is a very demanding medium, especially in a wet climate. Our building is stucco, and our climate is wet, and this presents a fair number of problems. Looks like we are going to reside completely with James Hardie fiber cement panels and boards.

I have been pushing for this. From what I can learn if done right this tends to be long lasting solution.

Ha
I have a house I rent out, the aluminum siding on it is original and is 55 years old. It looks fine as it has evenly faded and was a light color to start.

I once had a stuccoed house and really thought it was stupid due to all the repairs I had to do on the stucco, and then had to paint it to match/blend in to the rest of the house.
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:34 PM   #17
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Bamaman is correct. "Real" stucco can be done and used as a siding material. But it has to be done absolutely right start to finish. And if you know construction that rarely happens in even middling construction sites. Now the top end of the market it all gets checked. But that comes at a price

In the 80's on the wet side of Oregon the in thing was synthetic stucco. Called EFIS. After a few years (5-10) it started to fail. Water intrusion mostly. Gee, water intrusion in Oregon where it is wet 9.5 months a year It started getting torn off and replaced. Then insurance companies started refusing to cover EFIS homes. Which put an end to it. But also sellers could not sell w/o replacing it. No coverage for the new owner.

A friend has a substantial amount of EFIS on his home. I think they are going to sell soon (divorce) It will be interesting to see what happens there

And to go back to the Ray's original question. That area may have been a patch. Water leak. HO did not want to do a full on repair. So they half assed it
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Old 07-07-2017, 07:40 PM   #18
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I've never heard that before. Stucco is very common around here and when properly done lasts decades. My house was built in 1970 and the original stucco is still in great shape.
I used to live in your city. I owned a home built in 1925. The original stucco was in great shape when I sold it in 2011. The majority of the homes on my street were of similar vintage and at least 50% were stucco.
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Old 07-07-2017, 08:36 PM   #19
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Bamaman is correct. "Real" stucco can be done and used as a siding material. But it has to be done absolutely right start to finish. And if you know construction that rarely happens in even middling construction sites. Now the top end of the market it all gets checked. But that comes at a price
I'm no stucco expert but it does seem like one would have to consider climate when choosing a siding like stucco. Almost all homes built down here in Arizona in the last 40 years use stucco and they aren't crumbling to the ground, probably could say the same for most southwest states.
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Old 07-07-2017, 10:21 PM   #20
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I've never heard that before. Stucco is very common around here (Winnipeg) and when properly done lasts decades. My house was built in 1970 and the original stucco is still in great shape.
My experience with stucco was in the Atlanta area, so I'm not familiar with housing in the Far North. The cost of housing in Atlanta is probably the least expensive of any major city in North America. And the only Americans on any construction site are finishing carpenters and electricians. Non-English speaking "craftsmen" often masquerade in their specialties as qualified--especially when it comes to installing siding of all kinds. So many homes are sub-standard in construction.

Because of poor construction techniques used in the past, homes in Atlanta that are stucco, or even have the front of the house stucco, are very difficult to sell on the retail housing market.

The house we're now in is 100% brick. Our housing market is very active right now, but no houses with stucco are being built.
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