We buy houses in Houston and want to discuss one of the issues we have seen with properties – stucco damage from water intrusion. Stucco damage can be one of the most expensive repairs to your home. Let’s talk about what stucco damage is and what you should do if you want to buy or sell a house and stucco is involved.
What Causes Stucco Damage?
- Inadequate Drainage — A drainage system is added at the bottom of the walls when installing stucco. If this system is improperly made, or not installed at all, the water will penetrate the walls rather than draining.
- Insufficient Sealing — Stucco must be properly sealed around windows and doors. Neglecting this or using an inferior sealant leads to moisture damage.
- Improperly Installed Stucco — An inexperienced contractor missing steps or or a poor contractor cutting corners can lead to issues arising with stucco walls.
- Poorly Made Stucco — Building materials are meant to repel moisture, but if it’s made poorly, stucco absorbs the water instead.
What Does Stucco Damage Look Like?
One of the biggest challenges with stucco damage is that it is actually really hard to tell when you have it. The reason is that the damage is actually behind the stucco and is on the wood that the stucco is put on. Some potential signs of stucco damage are things like cracks in the surface of the stucco.
Another sign of stucco damage is pieces of the substrate that are on the ground at the bottom of an exterior wall. You can also feel back behind the stucco on the bottom of a wall and if the substrate breaks off easily this is a bad sign as there is a good chance there is more extensive damage behind the surface. The exterior wood of your house can rot from the outside inward and if that happens, you’ll need to completely rebuild your exterior.
What To Do If You Suspect Your House Has Stucco Damage
If you suspect your house or a house you are buying may have stucco damage you need to get a stucco inspection to check it out. It is impossible to tell just by looking at the exterior how severe stucco damage may be on a house.
Here is what happens in a stucco inspection:
- An inspector comes out and visually looks at the property for various signs of damage on the exterior. Things like stains on the surface, small cracks in the stucco, or pieces of wood debris on the ground
- Then they drill 1/8” holes in many different places throughout the stucco and feel how much resistance they get from the wood underneath.
- They stick a moisture meter into the holes and detect how much water is back there.
- They create an inspection report like the one below.
How Do You Fix Stucco Damage?
Stucco repairs will typically consist of:
- Cutting out the stucco around the damaged areas
- Repairing damaged sheathing
- Adding drainage points and flashing
- Adding new stucco and matching surface texture
- Painting and sealing
First, you have to remove the stucco, where you have to cut out the existing stucco. You typically won’t have an entire stucco wall removed, but instead will have an exterior stucco patch or patches.
Repairing Damaged Areas
You have to make repairs to the substrate underneath.
Adding Drainage And Flashing
You would add in additional drainage points if there are none or if what is existing is insufficient. You would also make sure to add proper flashing around windows, the roof, and other potential penetration points.
Exterior Stucco Patch
You have to add stucco back over the areas that were cut out and repaired.
Paint Stucco And Add Sealant
Last you have to paint the stucco to match and add proper sealants to the stucco.
How Much Do Stucco Repairs Cost?
The cost of stucco repairs will vary depending on the size of the house and how much damage is present, however, in general, stucco repairs are very expensive. The high cost to repair stucco is due to the amount of labor that is required. With a normal-sized house, it isn’t hard to have a $20,000 repair job with moderate damage, and a $50,000+ repair job when there is a significant amount of damage.
Are Stucco Cracks Covered By Insurance?
Cracks in stucco or other damage to stucco may not be covered by your insurance policy. If there is damage, and the property was built with insufficient flashing and drainage points, your homeowners insurance may deny a claim based on poor workmanship.
If you are considering purchasing a stucco house:
- Get a stucco inspection. These aren’t cheap, around $1,000, but that is a LOT cheaper than the alternative.
- Make sure to talk to the inspector and get his opinion. If this type of house has had issues in the past he will be able to tell you.
- Make sure that your insurance EXPLICITLY states that you would be covered in the event of damage to the UNDERLYING structure from moisture.
If you are trying to sell and have found you have stucco damage:
- Do some research and try to find the builder of the house. If it was built in the past decade, there is a good chance that it will still have the builder warranty on it.
- Check out your insurance policy to try and determine if it will be covered. Sometimes this will be cut and dry. Other times it can be worded in a way such that the insurance company can deny it based on something like poor workmanship.
- Consult an attorney. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, this probably isn’t a great option, but you never know.
Sell Your House With Stucco Damage
We buy houses with stucco damage as-is. If you are trying to sell your home and have found you have stucco damage or any other issue and don’t want to pay for repairs or wait around to sell, reach out to us.
Get Your Fair Offer TODAY!We buy houses in any condition. No realtors, no fees, no repairs, no cleaning.
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