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History of Stucco Testing

History of the Problem

 

In the beginning in the late 1990s there were large numbers of stucco homes being built by large and well known builders. In this competitive environment, there was pressure to make houses bigger and better, with high vaulted ceilings, and large peaks which created beautiful structures that could command the premium price they were asking for them. These designs and their designers became very popular and thousands of these style of home were built in the northeastern United States, with stucco exterior cladding systems.

The seeds of failure were planted as with these new grand designs, there were also plans in place to keep a good water proof building envelope. The architects planned this building envelope in the way you would expect them to – in exactly the same way they had always done it. This involved usually a single layer of tar paper which created the barrier between the interior of the building which had to stay dry, and the exterior – which was by design going to get wet. This system had been reliable for many years, so why not?

Almost 100% failure rate has occurred in many neighborhoods and it turns out, the architects were wrong. THe plans were wrong, and this caused failure. How does the failure present itself? Moisture gets behind the building envelope, to the interior side. This rots the most common building substrate used at the time, Orientated Strand Board (OSB). If left uncorrected, the structural beams and studs rot out and eventually mold flourishes on the drywall.

Badly rotted homes can look perfect to the naked eye. This has created a strong need for testing on existing stucco homes. Today, it is rare for homes to transact without a stucco inspection. It is important to know, that there are simple preventative measures that can be taken to avoid the huge problems that can result from these bad architectural details. This is why it is important for all homeowners that have a stucco clad exterior to have the home tested.

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