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Longleaf 07-11-2008 11:38 AM

Where stucco meets the window & door; caulking
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Hi folks, first post here... It's a long post but I have multiple-choice types of problems.

My Florida 1920s house had an second-floor addition built a few years ago where a steel french door and aluminum windows were installed with a stucco exterior. I've had chronic leak problems in the first floor below the addition and just diagnosed one of the leak sources: Water seeping between the window frame and the stucco. I confirmed the leak by looking inside the wall below the window.

I realize I could remove existing caulking and re-apply, but I have a hunch there's a a better approach that involves more effort but has better long-term results.

Photos below and some more information...

Photo 1: The window with some of the existing caulking pulled back.

Before I pulled the caulk off, I couldn't see any cracks in the caulking. I discovered the gap between the stucco and the window is literally just a hairline's width--I can't even get a fingernail into that crack.

I've read elsewhere that a proper gap between stucco and a window frame is 1/4" to allow for a good caulking seal. If so, should I grind out and increase the gap before caulking?

Photos 2,3,4: Hinges on the left side of the steel french door and its adjacent stucco.
Photo 5: A right hinge. Less stucco overlap here.

This is not a pretty situation. I think they installed the door before installing the stucco but it's hard to imagine how they got the stucco behind the hinges. (Maybe they took off the door and its hinges and then put them back on.) The stucco completely covers the wood frame (correct term?) on the left, and a bit of the wood shows on the right side. There seems to be no caulking in this area.

Fortunately, I don't have leaks here but that may be because I have an awning over the door. However, horizontal rain does occur in our hurricane-prone area (fingers crossed) so I want to do the right thing.

Summary of questions:
1. What caulking type is recommended?
2. Should I just recaulk around the window frames or should I increase the gap before recaulking?
3. If I increase the gap, just I use a grinder or a different tool? (Haven't used a grinder before.)
4. Should I caulk around the french door too, and do any prep work beforehand?
4. Finally, if I caulk around the french door, any miracle suggestions how to caulk behind those hinges? My hunch is that I'll have to remove the hinges...that may be okay because the door doesn't close well anyway and I should try to adjust the hinges

It will be great to finally fix this chronic problem--or at least remedy at least one of the water sources!

Longleaf 07-15-2008 12:45 PM

Ah, no replies
Too much detail in my posting? Too many photos? Too many questions?

Any tips on how to post a more effective message would be welcomed.

drewhart 07-15-2008 08:42 PM

i like your posting, its never to detailed. better to make sure everyone understands

Longleaf 07-16-2008 02:48 PM

Thanks for the note.
Appreciate the note.

I thought that my scope (both window and door) and the "multiple-part" questions may be a bit much, too.

terijensen 08-12-2008 09:34 AM

I have the same exact problems and the same questions. I am still surfing the internet for information and advice. I wish I had never bought a stucco house :(.

stuccoman 08-12-2008 09:45 AM


The problem might be where to old and new join. Is the bottom of your house block and the top wood framing?


What part of the country are you in?

buletbob 08-12-2008 10:08 AM

post a picture of the whole area of question. the close ups are fine ,but need one of the entire area stepping back with the second story above the area of the leak. Thanks BOB :thumbsup:

terijensen 08-12-2008 10:13 AM

Jacksonville, FL

stuccoman 08-12-2008 10:22 AM


Originally Posted by terijensen (Post 148073)
Jacksonville, FL

Wood framing or block behind your stucco?

terijensen 08-12-2008 10:32 AM

wood framing

stuccoman 08-12-2008 10:41 AM

Your leaks are at the bottom of the windows?

terijensen 08-12-2008 04:14 PM

Yes. I have to take a picture and post it

stuccoman 08-12-2008 04:46 PM

Do you know what is on your house for moisture barrier?

To find out you can pull an exterior light fixture and look at the edge's of the hole.

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