Stucco homes, failing at alarming rate, and the fix is costly,
Stucco remediation is extremely expensive because the house has to be torn down to its sheathing and windows replaced.
This is beyond the asbestos plague, the radon plague and the lead paint problem. This is a life changer and scope of this is enormous.
The reason it is failing is because some builders took shortcuts and didn’t’ install flashing properly, installed inferior windows and didn’t apply enough layers of stucco.
Many (builders) won’t put stucco on new houses anymore, not even on foundations. But stucco is a good product, and you can use it anywhere as long as you use good practices like having a good vapor barrier, and proper caulk around all windows and doors.
A failed a moisture inspection, can put a significant amount of work and money into a home, and replaced the stucco with stone because it was one-third of the cost.
A house buyer today would be wise to order a moisture report if considering a stucco home. It’s not required, but sometimes the cost for the inspection falls on the potential buyer.
Some (real estate agents) sell houses to unsuspecting buyers, hoping they won’t get the test. Will the realtor tell you to get a moisture inspection, or will they not tell you and hope to get the sale and the commission.
Homeowner’s insurance typically does not cover issues of mold or rot or shoddy contractor construction. Many carriers eliminated stucco remediation when the problem was first discovered years ago. Insurance typically only covers “Acts of God” such as rain, hail, fire and wind. And Pennsylvania law states homeowners cannot hold the original builder accountable for problems after 12 years.
So in just about every case, the cost for stucco remediation lies with the homeowner. And when that homeowner just bought a house without ordering a moisture test and discovers problems, they are severely “underwater” in their mortgage just after purchase.
A proper remediation, involves tearing off the stucco, taking out windows and replacing them with new windows, replacing damaged sheathing and framing, applying a drainable house wrap, reinstalling new windows with proper flashing, applying extra layers of house wrap, applying rainscreen and applying new stucco.
Homeowners who hire contractors who patch affected areas and do not replace windows will find it will fail again in short order.