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David C.

Inspector recommends isolation joints for windows and doors

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I'm purchasing a 3 year old stucco home and the inspector identified the the deficiency below.  Does this sound correct? I contacted the current owner who contacted the original builder and the builder is not supportive, stating that isolation joints are not used in window installations.  Any help understanding this would be appreciated.

Inspector comment: "Windows and doors have not been installed with isolation joints.  When there are dissimilar materials, that expand at different rates, industry standards dictate that isolation joints be installed to protect against moisture intrusion into the building envelope due to sealant failure."

 

Thanks!

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With a 3 y/o stucco home, lack of caulking at the windows is probably the tip of the iceberg. Combined with the builder's comment, there's probably several other installation details that are issues.

I hope you're moving forward with the invasive moisture testing.

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What's an "isolation joint?" This term is new to me in relation to stucco. Is it a local term? It sounds like he's talking about an expansion joint, which, of course, would not be used around a window or door. 

If the inspector is talking about the sealant joint that's *required* around windows and doors, then hell yes, they're required. 

Do you have pictures? 

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3 hours ago, Jim Katen said:

What's an "isolation joint?" This term is new to me in relation to stucco. Is it a local term?

I'll bet the 'inspector comment" came with the report writing software - not written by the inspector or anyone that knows about stucco installation details.

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What Bill and Jim said but I think the issues begin with the inspector.  Lousy inspector. 17 years in this game and this is the first time I've ever heard this condition described as 'isolation joint'. This is how I begin writing that issue up:

The edges of the cement board stucco, where it meets with window or door frames, are not properly terminated.  They should be terminated with casing bead, leaving a gap into which a backer rod and an elastomeric sealant is installed.  This is to accommodate the difference in expansion/contraction characteristics of the materials on either side.  Failure to do this may result in cracks along the perimeter of the door or window, inviting water intrusion issues. Water intrusion issues include rot of building material, mold growth and termite infestations.

Edited by Marc

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Portland-cement stucco should be terminated at window and door openings with casing bead. This prevents the stucco from coming into contact with the window or door frame and allows the installation of closed-cell backer rod topped with sealant. This isolation both allows for expansion and contraction of the stucco and window and prevents the stucco components from damaging the window frames, especially if vinyl.

Edited by aaronm
Did not see similar reply.

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Just looked at a house here (2002) with EIFS and no such sealant at edges.. a beautiful mess at all those intersections... there were shrinkage gaps, buckling... nice.. and (Drum roll) the builder had "built it for himself'.. :)  We did all the due diligence advisories.. (EIFS invasive inspection, etc etc)..  

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