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Old 09-16-2010, 10:13 PM   #1
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Serious stucco/window breach issues?

My wife and I are about to submit an offer on a house until I took the attached photos showing some cracks in the stucco and moisture/discoloration from the bottom corners of some of the windows since it rained today.

The house is 6 years old and was told it is natural stucco. Also, I found out today that the owners had the garage side of the house windows "reinstalled properly" with aluminum flashings under and drip caps above the windows; rotten plywood was replaced; and new stucco was reapplied to that entire side of the house." This was apparently done 4 months ago- the pictures attached are of the back of the house.

If this was your potential future family home, would you walk away from this property (for fear of costly stucco/window failure) or does this appear to be "minor" and fixable? Just looking for a heads-up before I spend $800 on an inspection...

Advice much appreciated!!!
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Last edited by BBPhils; 09-16-2010 at 10:16 PM.
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Old 09-16-2010, 11:13 PM   #2
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stucco on wood always scares me for some reason


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Old 09-17-2010, 06:04 AM   #3
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If one side of the house was ,"done properly", the rest of the house needs to be addressed. A 6 year old house with that sort of history wouldn't be on my list.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:14 AM   #4
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Just my 2Ę worth, form me having a business doing home repair: First, I stay away for any stucco type work. The stucco around here is apparently a synthetic one, "DryVit", I believe it is called. As posted, wood to stucco rings an alarm to me. IMO: Spending the $800 may be the best investment you could make IF you are seriously interested in the home. A really good inspector will catch and "probably" damage withing the home which may have been caused by water intrusion around any window(s). Also, having had extensive work on any part of the house would raise a red flag to me. Maybe: Call an inspector, get references first, and ask if they would do just an exterior inspection to begin with. Good Luck, David
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:27 AM   #5
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"The house is 6 years old and was told it is natural stucco". As opposed to artificial stucco? I looked up the definition of stucco, and there are half a dozen descriptions, but basically stucco in your case is an applied exterior treatment, generally made from a combination of sand, cement, and water (mortar) with possible admixtures such as ground marble. All stucco is synthetic in the sense that it is a manufactured product, although some of the basic ingredients may be mined (sand) or manufactured (cement). That said, I think it is totally irrelevant whether you have a "natural" or "synthetic" stucco.

I have looked a numerous buildings with Dryvt finishes ( a proprietary stucco finishing), and they perform fine IF they are properly installed, which typically means how good is the flashing. In your case, there is an obvious issue with several of the windows, and for sure I would not touch the place until I had a professional opinion as to the probable cause of the water damage, and the recommend procedure and cost to repair. Stucco over wood by itself is not a problem, its all in the details of installation.
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Old 09-17-2010, 08:47 AM   #6
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Unless you are getting the deal of the century, if it were me I would walk. Even if you are getting the deal of the century remember that restore work, cost and trouble, is more than double new construction. Are you willing to live with a home under reconstruction for a good while, do you know a good contractor, or in case you plan to contract the work yourself, do you know good honest subcontractors?

Are you willing to chance that the house has mold which will be another issue now or in the future? There are many more factors to take into consideration but for now one last one, is your wife willing to undergo the stress factor involved also?

I truly hate to be so negative but I had much rather know up front what I am up against before starting than to be blind sided later.

There is a chance that the house has been prepped properly and the damage is just to the exposed wood work and not the internal structural members, insulation wiring and etc, but being one side of the home has been redone there is much chance that the house was not prepped properly.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:07 AM   #7
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Patching stucco so that you donít see the repaired area is very difficult and virtually impossible to do unless you remove all existing stucco and start over. So with this in mind and with what other damage you may find under the stucco I would walk away from this house.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:45 AM   #8
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Thanks for feedback

I appreciate the multiple reaffirmed my initial concerns since there has already been a repair job on the one side of the home....not worth taking the risk on it.

This is the 2nd stucco house we will walk away from purchasing this year due to the construction issues (our inspector's findings on the 1st home later resulted in the owner/builder swallowing a $80K+ reconstruction of the entire exterior of that home down to the framing in some areas.)

Unfortunately most of the homes that were built in the suburban Philadelphia area between 2002 and 2010 are stucco- I'm beginning to think that my wife and I will swear off stucco homes from our search after these 2 debacles. I know that a brick or vinyl sided house could also have bad window installation/flashing but it seems less likely than the extent of stucco failures.

Thanks again for the perspective....


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