Spotting and Fixing Water Damage in Stucco

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By William Krech, Krech Exteriors

Stucco is a beautiful siding material that is both durable and long-wearing. It can withstand heavy strikes and is easy to repair when superficial cracks appear. It is incredibly versatile and offers a variety of surfacing options, so finding a finish that will suit your home perfectly is practically a given.

But despite all the good things about stucco, it may be hiding a deep, dark secret from you: water damage.

Stucco can cause water damage?

Yes. At least poorly installed stucco can. Like any kind of siding, stucco is meant to protect your home from the elements. But it can’t do its job properly unless it is installed properly.

Water damage usually stems from improper sealing in parts where the stucco meets windows, flashing and other joints. Have you seen “stucco tears”? Think of them as your home crying for help. And when your house is “crying,” you don’t just wipe (or power wash) the tears away. You have to get to the bottom of the problem before you can apply a lasting solution.

moisture damage in stucco

How can I tell if there’s moisture damage behind my stucco?

You’re actually lucky if you see stucco tears, because at least you can easily tell that you’ve got moisture damage. But there are times when there are no outward signs of moisture damage, meaning homeowners have no idea that they’ve got mold and mildew and rot eating away at their property until it’s too late.

But while stucco tears are a telltale sign, they are not conclusive. The best way to determine whether you have water damage in stucco is a moisture test. You’ll need to hire a professional to conduct this moisture test. Once you’ve diagnosed your moisture problem, you can either repair or replace the stucco.

stucco stains
Stucco stains can be benign, but they can also be symptoms of hidden moisture damage.

Repair or replace?

If you catch moisture damage early, it’s possible that repairs will be enough to remedy the problem. Do keep in mind, however, that repairs aren’t really a permanent solution. After all, your stucco siding can still be at risk of future moisture damage. Also, if the damage is extensive or the necessary repairs intensive, it might be easier and more cost-effective to do a complete siding replacement.

What’s the alternative?

If you do decide to go the replacement route, there are a lot of siding options to consider, but none more effective than fiber cement. Fiber cement siding can resist damage from both hot and cold weather, hold up well to impact from hail, and stay solid even in the most humid climates. What’s more, it’s very easy to maintain.

Unlike stucco, fiber cement won’t rot or warp and, with proper care, its finish can last up to 15 years. Even better, fiber cement siding costs 20 percent to 50 percent less than what you would spend on brick, stone or stucco. Its price is comparable to high-end vinyl siding.

But what if you want to retain the look of stucco? Easy. Fiber cement siding is available in a range of finishes that mimic other siding options, including stucco. Think of it as getting all the benefits of stucco for less without the risk of moisture damage.

About William Krech and Krech Exteriors

William Krech, aka Bill, is an expert in the home improvement industry focusing on home exteriors from doors to sides to roofs. He loves sharing tips with people in his free time. Check out his blog, follow him on Twitter or check for updates on Facebook.

Note: This is a guest post; the views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Redfin.

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