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Stucco expansion joint - water infiltration


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I have a 7-year-old home in Florida. The first level is CBC and most of the second level is wood framed construction. The exterior is stucco. The second level floor is poured concrete. There is a horizontal expansion joint going 3/4 of the house right at the second level sill plate where the CBC ends and the wood frame begins.

Recently after a particularly bad rainstorm, we noticed water on the second floor, possibly seeping in through the sill plate. It was coming into two room, both on the south side (which was the exposed direction of the prevailing wind/wind-driven rain) right at floor-level.

I suspect the expansion joint as the source of the infiltration.

I have yet to go up and look closely at the situation, but I want to know what I am looking for when I do go up.

Until this point, there has not been any noticable water infiltration. Do expansion joints "wear out"? Do they need to be re-caulked or re-sealed? Was the expansion joint improperly installed to begin with and we were just "lucky" up to this point? Will it be necessary to rip open a section of exterior wall to see if there was a plastic membrane or sheet installed under the stucco and mesh, or if there was flashing installed?

Any information will be extremely helpful.

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There should have been a weep screed between the upper and lower levels to allow the water moving down behind that stucco to escape. Instead, it's building up behind the veneer and moving into the interior. There's no way to fix that short of ripping off a couple of feet of stucco, detailing it properly, and then patching the stucco. The stucco guy screwed up.



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  • 2 weeks later...

We've had the same problem upstairs. We will be ripping out the stucco wall and replacing it, this time with a proper expansion joint instead of it just being troweled in.

You'll need to use some elastomeric exterior caulking to seal any cracks on your exterior wall. We took out the interior wall to find out where the leak was coming from, starting at the bottom of the wall and ending up near the ceiling.

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