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Stucco Inspections


DonTx
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Is there an ASTM standard or other Industry standard for performing stucco inspections?

There is a company here that actually drills into the stucco and into the substrate to take moisture samples. I guess it's like taking an EIFS sample. I would think that the metal would drive the probes of the moisture meter crazy.

This company has been at it a while and have made a pretty good business out of it.

Your thoughts?

Donald

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They've been doing it for years. They charge about the price of an EIFS inspection $$$$. I was curious as to which industry standard they might be testing to, if any.

I also do not understand how the moisture meters keep from going bezerk with all that wire mesh.

Donald

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You guys are on the IRC aren't you? If so 703.6 governs exterior stucco installation with no industry standards reference. In the standards listing there are references to ASTM standards for gypsum sheathing wire mesh and weep screed. I can find no referenced standards for Portland Cement. The tables in that section of the code are very specific about mixtures, thickness, installation methods and curing times. Boring holes should allow one to determine the thickness and there are probably some pretty sophisticated lab testing methods for determining the mixture used based on hardness, etc. but I doubt that any testing analysis goes beyond a disclaimer citing “improper mixtureâ€

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Hi,

I'm wondering how the hell they are restoring the integrity of the weather resistant backer behind the stucco once they've drilled a hole through it.

There are actualy 16 ASTM standards that apply to the application of traditional 3-coat Portland cement stucco and none of them discuss drilling holes in the surface to take moisture readings.

If their purpose is to determine if water had penetrated through to the sheathing behind the paper, they'd be smarter to take the reading from the interior with long probes through an interior wall. That way they don't have to drill through the surface and damage the backing.

A properly mixed, applied and cured 3/4-inch (19-mm) basecoat of stucco is water resistant. The Northwest Wall & Ceiling Bureau built three test panels, each with a different stucco formulation, and tested them by spraying each for over two hours at a rate of 112 gallons per hour at a pressure equal to a 38 mph wind. At the end of the testing none of them showed water penetration on the backside. Good stucco is water resistant but permeable so it can breath, allowing the home to dry to the exterior.

FWIW, random cracking, or crazing, is generally not considered a "defect" in stucco. All stucco cracks, which is precisely why accessory joints and control accessories are used in its application - the purpose being to limit, not eliminate, the amount of cracking that occurs and help direct water that gets behind the surface back out again. The two layers of Grade D paper or polyolefin stucco wrap behind the cladding are responsible for redirecting that moisture down the wall, but if the sheathing gets wet are supposed to allow it to dry to the exterior.

Get a copy of The Portland Cement Plaster Stucco Resource Guide from the Stucco Manufacturer's Association. (http://www.stuccomfgassoc.com) It has everything you'll ever want to know about stucco in it. You can also click on "About Stucco" for some other useful information.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Here in the valley of the sun we have a thing commonly referred to as "Western One Coat".

This is a stucco that is applied 3/8 of an inch thick. Not 3/4"

Not 3 course, Two course Brown and finish.

I can't find and documentation on it other than from the AZ. Registrar of Contractors.

The only 3 course 3/4" stuff here is on Commercial.

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Thanks all.

Mike and Paul, I've had that manual for a while and use it quite regularly. Only it says nothing about testing standards.

I've racked my little brain for the last few days trying to figure out how they could take moisture probes with the mesh. I've also wondered how they sealed the vapor barrier when they penetrated it with a drill. I'll bet they are only sealing the hole at the surface of the stucco.

I've seen moisture test performed from the sheetrock side. This makes more sense to me than poking holes in the stucco.

I do a fair number of visual stucco inspections. I've been asked several times if I "probe" the Stucco. I've always said "No". I've wondered where they got this idea, know I think I know.

Donald

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In Kansas City and surrounding areas the only "Old Time Conventional 3/4" thick Hardcoat Stucco I see is OLD or on Commercial Bldgs.

Most residential stucco is EIFS or its the newer 3/8" - 1/2/" light weight stucco.

We frequently get asked by lenders, insurance companies, owners, buyers, etc to moisture check it because someone had water leaks. The only way to readily moisture check it is to DRILL holes and insert probes. We do it quite often. It gets sealed just like EIFS does.

We can't use the Tramex Wet Wall Detector on it because the metal mesh will make the meter go off everywhere. Therefore you use your eyes and look for the most likely spots - or spots around where you know its leaked. The idea is to put as few probe holes in the system as needed to verify the underlying condition.

Check with EDI or Moisture Warranty Corp if you want further info.

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  • 7 months later...

You are in Conroe Texas and I'd look to the Texas Lathing and Plastering Contractors Association as a guide. They have a PDF manual for Stucco and EIFS applications which is very informative. If you cannot find it I can provide the PDF, it's free I believe.

You can Google them for a website.

A

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  • 4 months later...

Crusty -

I haven't been on the site in quite a while and your question is a year old BUT I want to give you something to think about. Your question was what about the penetration you put in the moisture barrier to probe the wall.

Well what about utility penetrations, etc. They all penetrate or have openings through the moisture barrier.

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  • 5 months later...

What about all the holes in the paperback lath and lack of flashing? Like on my websitewww.badstucco.com

Rambo what part of town are you in?

Besides under windows is a spot that is easy pickings for moisture and damage 99.9% of the windows are improperly installed! Weither it has to do with moisture barrier or lack of flashing at the head of the window and at the bottom or the lack of backer rod and sealant around the window like the windows call for!!!!!!!!

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Stuccoman,

Since you are so passionate about exposing poor stucco work, you might enjoy visiting this thread on the Building Science Forum that I moderate over at the Journal of Light Construction Online. It's been one of the most contentious and actively discussed topics in months.

While I'm on the topic, if you guys aren't visiting JLC's forums on a regular basis you are missing out on a TON of really good information. If you don't have a JLCOnline membership you're missing out on even more. With a JLCOnline membership, you get unlimited access/usage of their databank of past issues and articles going back nearly 20 years. On top of that, they send you that database on a searchable CD so you can download it to a laptop and have it with you onsite.

It's an incredible resource and there's nothing like being able to refute the realtor trying to minimize what you've found by doing a word search on the item and then immediately being able to pull up dozens of articles to support your position. It deflates 'em like a pin to a balloon.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Thanks Mike!!

I have taked to lisa in pa. What the biulder,codes people,(wana be stuccoman) did there was just wrong!!!! Although there are a lot of problems around the KC metro with stuccomen there are more with the cut throat builders beating down all the subs for profit!! And why dont the codes people see these violations of moisture barrier and stop it where are their heads? The carpenters install the windows and 1st layer of the moisture barrier wrong and lets not leave out flashing or lack of! My thoughts are the houses are set up to fail before the stucco man gets there.

Thanks Carl

ps I know my website is not as nice or as fancy as some but I have no corprate sponsors just a friend who plays with websites. And I needed a place to vent. For me its not about the web its about the quality of the trades going down hill.

Thanks again for the info

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