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Continual leak through windows and doors


vaughanb
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Hi Everyone,

I built a pair of new construction houses in Philadelphia last year (and by built, I mean I developed, using an outside GC). The houses have a stick frame construction, plywood (OSB) sheating, 15# felt paper and a master wall (stucco style) finish.

I have new construction windows and standard French door units with exterior brick molding. Both houses have leak problems when we get heavy rain water comes in through the door and window frames.

Here are the solutions we have tried:

*Siliconing and waterproofing all windows and doors where they meet the exterior stucco

*Reconditioning the entire roof, paying special attention to the areas close to the back wall (where the windows and doors are).

*Silver coating the whole roof (again)

*Installing drip caps above all the windows and doors (and stuccoing them in to the wall)

*Waterproofing the backwall using a clear sealer designed to waterproof plastic, metal and cement/stucco with three coats.

It's as if we haven't done anything, the water still comes in to the houses when it rains and I've spent many thousands of dollars over the last six months, with no end in sight. WHAT CAN I DO?

:( Thank you.

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WHAT CAN I DO?

:( Thank you.

Well there's no easy way to say this; the GC has his head up his ass. Fire the GC - he's incompetent - and hire a contractor that knows what the hell he's doing.

Why do I say he's incompetent? Well, if he's going along with applying all of that goop to the outside of the structure to try and stop leaks that would have never occurred if the walls had been properly detailed in the first place, he's incompetent.

Then strip the stucco system off and detail the walls, windows and doors correctly. 15# felt? Gimme a break - how about two layers of 30 minute paper or one layer of 60 minute paper.? This is basic stuff that the GC should have known.

Go online and order yourself a copy of The Stucco Resource Guide from the Stucco Manufacturer's Association and then redo all of those exterior details correctly before anyone puts trowel to mud. It's not the stucco contractor's responsibility to properly detail the windows and doors and wall penetrations, it's the G.C.'s.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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The houses have a stick frame construction, plywood (OSB) sheating, 15# felt paper and a master wall (stucco style) finish.
Isn't Master Wall the synthetic one-coat system? If so, two (2) weather-resistive barriers are required when installing it on OSB.
I have new construction windows and standard French door units with exterior brick molding. Both houses have leak problems when we get heavy rain water comes in through the door and window frames.

Here are the solutions we have tried:

*Siliconing and waterproofing all windows and doors where they meet the exterior stucco

*Reconditioning the entire roof, paying special attention to the areas close to the back wall (where the windows and doors are).

*Silver coating the whole roof (again)

*Installing drip caps above all the windows and doors (and stuccoing them in to the wall)

*Waterproofing the backwall using a clear sealer designed to waterproof plastic, metal and cement/stucco with three coats.

Everything there says most details were probably wrong. The one-coat stucco manufacturer will have very specific instructions about installing barrier membranes at rough openings, head flashings (with the membrane and barrier lapped over the flanges), casing beads, weep screeds and expansion joints.
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Thank you all for your help.

Inspectorhistoric - If only one weather-resistive barrier was used, do you think that the window and door details will solve my problem? Or it it possible that water is getting in to the OSB regardless?

How would you solve this problem (if you had this house under warranty), would you:

1. Take all stucco off and start again

2. Tear out windows, install details and re-stucco

3. Install another cladding over the top (e.g. vinyl siding, rain screen, etc)

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I would want to at least tear out a section and see what details were used. If the construction details were wrong everywhere, and it's been like that for long, I'd want to tear all of the stucco off and start over with a new contractor (a good one this time). If you just cover over the existing material, you may be covering up damage.

Also, if I was the homeowner who bought a house with stucco, I wouldn't want a vinyl product installed over the top of it-- I'd want it re- done, and correctly this time.

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Vaughanb,

Sorry to hear about the trouble you are having. I agree with hausdok, if your contractor would have followed basic practices of stucco installation you would not have the problems you are experiencing. It sounds like the method of repair may be making a bad situation even worse.

You should definitely read up on the stucco application process before you go any further. As the other members have posted, proper stucco application is all about the preparation of the structure before hand. Throwing mud at the wall (or silicone, silvercoat or waterproofing) will not solve your problem.

You can find and down load (free) details on stucco application at :

best practices for stucco application

Stucco in residential construction

Also, these manufacturers list their installation guides online:

Parex

Surewall Products

Senergy

To answer some of the questions you posted earlier, it is not always necessary to demolish the entire finish. it depends on the extent of the damage caused by the lack of proper details under the stucco. My rule has been that if 20% of the finish is affected by repairs then the entire finish should be replaced. Your home owner/client/wife may have a smaller tolerance as most every repair to a finished stucco veneer will be noticeable.

As far as removing and replacing the windows, I agree with Brandon, you should have at least 2 windows inspected (from the exterior by removing 6" of stucco around them) to verify the drainage plane, flashing, drip cap, etc. are all tied in properly. Covering up the problem by installing another exterior finish over the existing, deficient system is akin to sticking your head in the sand and hoping the problem goes away or fixes itself. Of all the bad decisions made in the construction of this house, that could be the worst one.

I hope this helps get you pointed in the right direction. If you would like to speak to me directly about this specifics of your home, you can contact me at stafford@keyinspectionservice.com. I have been doing stucco ad EIFS inspections in your area and have local references.

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