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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    3

    Question To seal or not to seal

    I recently purchase a house locate in Palm Bay, Florida.
    The house is Stucco over wood frame and was built in 1977.
    There is an open gap of about one and a half inches around the entire exterior perimeter, with some of the wood frame barely visible in some parts.

    Some people say that the gap should be left open to allow the wall to breathe, others say that it was left open because it was "what they knew back then" but is should be closed to avoid moisture damage to the frame (although there's no visible damage to the wood).

    Should this gap be left open? or closed?
    If closed; should it be done with cement stucco or caulking?

    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
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    5,081

    Default Re: To seal or not to seal

    More info is needed:

    -Where is the gap exactly: where the stucco meets wood trim? around windows and doors?
    -is it precisely 1.5" all around, or is it variable widths throughout?

    Your answers will make it easier to evaluate the situation.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,381

    Default Re: To seal or not to seal

    Do you remember that other home improvement show, "Hometime"? The did a segment where they added a deck to a house that they had built about a year earlier. This house had the new stucco that is completely sealed on the outside. When they punched a hole in the wall for a support, water poured out. On the next episode, the house was clad in vinyl.

    The makers of these sealed stucco homes are now involved in a big class action lawsuit because they retain water inside the walls.

    I would let the wall breath.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,583

    Default Re: To seal or not to seal

    Real stucco is quite porous and readily absorbs water when it rains. To this end, stucco should not be in direct contact with the wooden framing of the house. I can well believe that a breathing space would have been created in back of the stucco. Indeed, such vented spaces are now common behind many types of siding with the siding being mounted to batten strips rather than directly to the rain screen and sheathing.

    Especially in hot, sunny Florida, such an air gap would help cool the interior of the house by reducing conductive heat transfer through the wall. Solid masonry construction with stucco directly on it becomes a baking oven, a large heat sink.

    Personally, I would not close up those areas with anything that would prevent airflow. There are now venting systems on the market that use a random woven plastic like material to keep insects and varmints out, yet let the wall breath.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: To seal or not to seal

    Thank you all for the responses.

    To dj1:
    "More info is needed:

    -Where is the gap exactly: where the stucco meets wood trim? around windows and doors?
    -is it precisely 1.5" all around, or is it variable widths throughout?"

    - The Gap is all the way around the bottom of the walls.
    - 1.5" (...give or take...)

    To ordjen:
    It's a 2x4 frame with "gypsum" board (that's what my neighbor call it. It's very hard. Almost as hard as concrete...), then, expanded metal mesh, then cement stucco.

    99% of all the hoses in this parts are made like that, with very few showing any water stains on the inside walls at all (mine does not have any...).

    I tend to agree with ordjen and keith3267.
    Last edited by deguacas; 09-06-2011 at 02:43 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Portland, Oregon, formerly of Chicago
    Posts
    1,583

    Default Re: To seal or not to seal

    Deguagas,

    It sounds like the builder of your house used 2x stock on the outside of the wall to keep the stucco structure from contacting the wooden inner wall structure. This would allow air to circulate behind the stucco to keep your inner walls dry. It would also help keep your walls from passing the sun's heat into your house.

    The product that Keith3267 referred to is not actually stucco at all, but synthetic stucco which is applied over styrofoam. He is correct that this product has been highly controversial and the subject of class action lawsuits. This is NOT what you have.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: To seal or not to seal

    Quote Originally Posted by deguacas View Post
    Thank you all for the responses.

    To dj1:
    "More info is needed:

    -Where is the gap exactly: where the stucco meets wood trim? around windows and doors?
    -is it precisely 1.5" all around, or is it variable widths throughout?"

    - The Gap is all the way around the bottom of the walls.
    - 1.5" (...give or take...)

    To ordjen:
    It's a 2x4 frame with "gypsum" board (that's what my neighbor call it. It's very hard. Almost as hard as concrete...), then, expanded metal mesh, then cement stucco.

    99% of all the hosesin this parts are made like that, with very few showing any water stains on the inside walls at all (mine does not have any...).

    I tend to agree with ordjen and keith3267.
    I meant "HOUSES". Sorry.

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