Stucco home-owners, here’s one for you! Just because you have stucco siding does not mean you are impervious to the elements that Mother Nature brings us every year. Wildly frigid cold snaps, temperatures falling to below -40C. Snow banks that stack up 2ft tall against your foundation. And with our winters playing tug-o-war with our spring season, those plows melt and re-appear several times a year. Calgary is dry, but that’s a relative statement. We do have back to back weeks of thunderous clouds and spontaneous showers. And to cap it off, summer heats can be blistering, and those UV rays are no joke and can expedite the life expectancy of your stucco.
The guide below will help educate you on what red flags to look for to determine if your stucco is failing. It is so crucial and important to take care of your property. The small maintenance and protective measures you take will save you money, time, and a headache in the long run. For those looking to change the color of your home, you will get a refreshed look and the peace of mind that a protective coating has been applied. And for those who love the color of their homes, don’t neglect the thought of adding a protective coating. You can actually get clear-coat sealers that add a protective layer with a moisture repellent or breathable membrane depending on which stucco type you have.
Also, for reference there is both Acrylic Stucco and Traditional Stucco. Traditional Stucco is made up of Portland Cement, Lime, Sand and Water which makes the product durable but can be quite brittle and unforgiving. Acrylic, or Modern Stucco includes synthetic acrylics resins/polymers and sand which give it elastomeric properties. With traditional stucco, it’s a 3 coat process, whereas Acrylic stucco is a 2 coat process giving the compound a bit more breathability. Below is a list of recognizable red flags which will help you determine if you need a protective coating
Moisture is a killer!
Acrylic stucco is less susceptible to moisture as the acrylic polymers have a water resistant membrane to its finish. But when it comes to traditional stucco, the stucco absorbs the water in and will make its way out of the system. The problem with this, is that not always does the moisture make its way out of the system. And that’s what you need to avoid. If moisture gets locked into the system for too long and does not permeate back out; it will create mold which will cause the vapour barrier or wrap to decay. Once that decays, that mould will breach the framing. And that’s where the nightmare begins. That can lead to massive renovations of the framing being torn out and replaced. I’ve seen massive hotels needing to replace their outer stucco wall, the framing and the interior walls because moisture made its way into the system. My advice is to identify the problem area, find the root of the cause, fix it. This could be any number of things from damp rising groundwater at your foundation to window flashing or eavestroughing not leading the water away from vulnerable areas on your property. ***IF YOU SEE BLACK MOLD COMING THROUGH YOUR STUCCO***, the time is now! And it may already be too late. But your promptness of action could save you tens of thousands of dollars!
Whichever professional you decide on, should be able to identify the problem, assess the situation and provide you with honest feedback and course of action to a solution.
Another way to tell if water has made its way into the system is if you can see rust stains coming through the stucco. Especially an area of concern for Acrylic stucco property owners, as acrylic stucco has a water resistant finish.
Small hairline cracks are something to be taken seriously and not overlooked. You will see this more consistently with traditional stucco as the stucco itself does not have elastomeric properties like acrylic stucco. Not only are these hairline cracks another way for water to make its way into the system. But it could be the start of large chunks of stucco beginning to buckle or blister and fail. Those hairline cracks compromise the integrity of the entire stucco area. Be sure to use Masonry Caulking to seal these areas. Hairline cracks can be caused by UV rays and the subtle contraction and expansion that happens over time. Also by the shifting and setting of the structure and property it’s built on.
Otherwise known as bloom or for the masses “white streaks”. This is just an indicator of water moving in and out of the system leaving salts on the stucco. Alone it does not pose a major problem. It’s more of an eyesore. However if you see black shading around the crystalized area, take action.
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