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Re: Stucco Hail Damage - Arizona

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Dennis and Jimmy,

Thanks for your input.

Dennis:  These synthetic stuccos are basically a one coat application --- No 
brown coat, scratch coat, finish coat as in a true stucco.  HUD documents 
require that synthetic stucco that they approve have control/expansion joints 
enclosing areas of not more than 144 sq. ft.  Besides, I am a strong believer 
in control/expansion joints, particularly when the surface can reach 
temperatures well over 100 deg. in the summer, and below 20 deg. in the 

Jimmy:  The "stucco" is not a true stucco but a synthetic (one coat, 
possibly two coats, but rarely) stucco that is used as stucco these days.  It 
appeared that the walls may have had a texture coat applied that stopped on 
the outside of the parapet just below the top of the parapet.  (A trough in 
the stucco exists where the second coat stopped.)  It is my understanding 
that the EIFS systems use these synthetic stuccos.

Since the house is new, plans are available, but I don't have them yet.

A. Roger Turk, P.E.(Structural)
Tucson, Arizona

Dennis Wish wrote:

My home is similar to what you described, down to the exposed headers - a
primitive Southern Arizona style home (verses the "rounded" Sante Fe style
found in New Mexico).

Stucco Damage,

Unless the marks are shallow enough to cover with a thick layer of
Elastomeric pains (generally installed in 1/8" thick layers) there is not
much to do other than a new finish coat.
In my case, I avoided a finish coat of stucco and opted for the Elastomeric,
but made the mistake of hiring cheap labor. The material was not applied
thick enough and virtually every crack in the stucco (which occurs mostly on
the South and East elevations) are visible. However, it is easy enough
(albeit costly) to apply additional coats.

Our neighbor children used to like to bounce golf balls off the side of our
house before it was painted. I too have some deep marks, but they are on the
back of the home and have chosen not to do much about it.

I am not too concerned about water leakage through the cracks as this is
difficult to control since I applied the stucco over plywood sheathing (with
builders paper and metal lath). The rigidity of the plywood contributed to
the spider web effect of the cracking stucco, but I have yet to find any
water leakage (remember, there is a brown coat below and the cracks may not
be at the same location).

Some of the newer finishes (in the last six or eight years) use a Fibermesh
type of additive to the finish coat which makes it strong and resistant to
cracking. The expected life is suppose to be good.

I found that the best thing you can do is to service the windows and doors
every year or two by making sure they are properly caulked with a silicon
sealant that can be exposed to heat and sunlight. Make sure it is paintable
or else you can end up with an eyesore. Also make sure that the headers are
sealed every two or three years to prevent moisture from permeating into the

Often, headers crack parallel to grain. Few extend through the header (in my
case I wrongly used 6x header material on my home when multiple 2x would
have prevented twisting and warpage - but I was young (relatively) and
inexperienced. I learned my lesson quickly.  Seal the cracks to keep
critters (crickets, desert roaches, vinegaroons and scorpions) out of the
house. Also keeps moisture from coming in.

Personally I like the looks of an Elastomeric finish - especially since you
can choose the colors. Our home is close the special reddish brown that
Arizona uses for bridges and overpasses in the Phoenix area as it matches
the rocks in the mountains outside our home. I don't think I would be able
to find a good match from a finish coat without paying a premium.

Elastomeric, when applied correctly, stretch and prevent cracks in the
stucco from breaking through the finish - this is the primary benefit.

I've had the stucco company hand trowel the finish I want in the second
brown coat and then applied a sealant over this stucco. The sealant is
important to make sure that the Elastomeric does not peel in a few years.
The Elastomeric is applied in thick coats either by spray or roller.

Roger, Cracking in stucco is virtually unavoidable. The trick is maintaining
the finishes. I've seen some beautiful Finish coats that have done well over
the years, but these are much more expensive than the Elastomeric.

So you have choices here. I have not seen expansion joints on stucco homes -
just on property walls (another mistake of mine). You would have more
experience here than I. The only flashing I have seen other than at the roof
is at the week screed at the bottom of the stucco above the soil. I don't
remember flashing used in the windows - especially since the stucco wraps to
the wood. The most that is used is builders paper and silicon sealant.

Don't know if this helps, but I tried:o)<<

Jimmy C. wrote:

>>I am sure that an engineer of your standing would know stucco when he saw
it, but it sounds suspiciously like damage to EIFS systems that have occured
here.  EIFS uses a polymer coating which looks very similar to stucco.
There are several lawsuits in the courts here over this same type of damage.<<

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