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Fwd: Re: Deck structure attached through Stucco

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The three concerns raised in the discussions so far do not necessarily favor
stucco removal as the superior solution.

1.  Structural adequacy and performance.  The reduced capacities of bolts
installed through the stucco can be compensated for by using a few more
bolts.  The costs will be much less than removing the stucco and installing

2.   Wall membrane integrity and water leaks.  Removing the stucco and
installing flashing requires careful attention and workmanship to produce
results that won't increase the likelihood of water intrusion, either through
new stucco cracks and/or improperly installed flashing.  The quality of the
stucco, the type and location of lath, and stucco thickness, all can affect
the outcome.  Most stucco installations in the past 30 years are inferior to
older installations and are more susceptible to damage, and for these, I'd
stay away from removal.  Leaving the stucco intact, except for caulked bolt
holes, reduces the likelihood of moisture penetration. 

3.  Durability.  If the ledger is heart redwood or pressure-treated wood, the
durability and required maintenace likely won't be much different than for
the rest of the wood deck construction.  A piece of galvanized sheetmetal
between the ledger and stucco will minimize the "wicking action" of the
stucco from affecting the ledger.  Exposed wood decks and railings need
periodic maintenance and eventual replacement, and seldom last as long as the
house.  Owners can understand and accept this.

I've handled deck attachments both ways, and neither is inherently superior.
 Done with some care and attention, installing the ledger over stucco
provides satisfactory serviceability and durabiliity, and can be more

Franklin Lew
General Contractor

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Richard Lewis, P.E.
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