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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Moisture under stucco.

    Have moved back into my childhood home after my folks passsed away. My father had the house built on a hillside in Los Angeles in 1966. The stucco on the lower 5'+ of the house is coming off and I see that it looks as if ground moisture is leaching underneath the stucco. It's not just the paint over the stucco peeling. I can't afford to have the inside & outside foundation cleared and re-sealed. Plus we'd have to demo the concrete stairs coing down the side of the house. Stripping, resealing & restucco? For the age of the house, it took almost 40 years for the problem to start showing. It needs to breath. Will siding breath? I think I need to strip the stucco off the areas and let it air out durring the summer months, then do some sort of fix on the lower third of the house before the winter months. Being on a hillside, the soil stays damp for much longer than most areas in the city. We may or may not keep the house, but I want to do the best job I can with a limited budget. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    251

    Default Re: Moisture under stucco.

    The paint could be acting as a vapor barrier and holding moisture in. Stucco shouldn't be painted. When it is, a special latex based elastomeric should be used, although a good latex applied properly can breath OK, but could still cause problems. IF painted with an oil based paint, that's a possible source of the problem.
    That being said, our stucco is painted and has been for 10 years and seem OK. IT's original to the home and 86 years old.


    Another problem could be too much shade and not enouhg sun exposure to heat it up.

    Finally, has any insulation been added to the home? Retrofitting insulation cna cause moisture issues.
    1925 Two-Story Stucco Beaux Arts Neoclassical

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    5,066

    Default Re: Moisture under stucco.

    The bottom of the stucco is not sealed under normal conditions and should be 6" or more above grade. Clear the dirt off the footing and foundation before you repair the stucco. This is one disadvantage of living on a hill.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Moisture under stucco.

    Excellent advice. Looking forward to more suggestions. I am planning on scraping off all the peeling stucco & paint and installing siding on the bottom third of the house. This area surrounds the basement and is more than a full story in height.
    The back of the house is 3+ stories high. Don't know if it will breath enough. I don't want to promote mold underneath the siding. We've been blessed so far on that matter. My father & the architect really obver engineered the house structurally. Most houses this old in the area would by now have moved on their foundation up here and need high dollar repairs.
    Our house has moved very litte and most cracks in & out we attribute to earthquakes. Easy fixes inside. Outside the house looks very stable for being on a hilside that has a reputation for consistant house foundation and geograohical movent. I think this would be a great project house for this program. Hint, hint...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Moisture under stucco.

    Please keep the advice coming everyone. Thank all now & all future posts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Moisture under stucco.

    I must include that we figure that most of the leeching is coming from outside and below the foundation. The interior of the large basement, thoug cool, seems to stay dry.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    253

    Default Re: Moisture under stucco.

    The reason for the Stucco coming loose from the foundation is SALTS.
    The salt will migrate with the water and expand when damp and act in a hydraulic manner which pushes the stucco off the foundation. this action will take many years to seperate the two substrates.Do you see areas of white where the stucco is missing?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,381

    Default Re: Moisture under stucco.

    I'm having a little trouble visualizing this. Are the basement walls made from concrete block? Is the stucco applied directly to the concrete block? Is the stucco also in direct contact with the ground? By "bottom third" do you mean the basement walls only or will this include some of the first floor?

    What kind of siding do you have in mind? Vinyl?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Moisture under stucco.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clarence View Post
    The reason for the Stucco coming loose from the foundation is SALTS.
    The salt will migrate with the water and expand when damp and act in a hydraulic manner which pushes the stucco off the foundation. this action will take many years to seperate the two substrates.Do you see areas of white where the stucco is missing?
    I see what looks to be white powder & fiber or string like material or growth mixed in underneath & on the outside where the stucco has fallen off.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    6

    Default Re: Moisture under stucco.

    Quote Originally Posted by keith3267 View Post
    I'm having a little trouble visualizing this. Are the basement walls made from concrete block? Is the stucco applied directly to the concrete block? Is the stucco also in direct contact with the ground? By "bottom third" do you mean the basement walls only or will this include some of the first floor?

    What kind of siding do you have in mind? Vinyl?
    I'm thinking of vinyl siding.
    Because of the hillside, the basement is actually taller than one story in itself at its high point/back side of the house. First floor is at street level.
    The house including the basement is 3+ stories in height on the tallest side.
    The stucco has been applied to what looks like concrete outer walls but I don't think concrete block. I could very well be wrong, but even if so, the concrete wall would only go a limited height. Then possibly shot-crete? I don't know what they used back in '66. I'll go inside & see how high the lift, if any goes & if it seems to line up with the deteriorating stucco outside. If one goes inside the basement, the interior & studs were visible prior to installing insulation and plywood sheets for earthquake structural integrity.

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