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Pat B. 03-24-2006 01:53 PM

Stucco leak (long post)
My daughter bought a 1920's vintage house in San Francisco 2 years ago. The interior had fairly extensive updating (mostly cosmetic), but the exterior appeared to be original, with the exception of new vinyl windows and a newly applied coat of "paint". I say "paint" because it's not like anything I've seen before. The underlying stucco (I assume it's stucco) has a smooth surface. The "paint", on the other hand, is fairly thick and is applied in a stippled manner that simulates a rough stucco look.

Anyway, during the first winter the "paint" showed signs of bubbling, and there were spots where it actually separated from the wall. My assumption was that the "paint" was applied when the stucco was wet, preventing it from adhering. After that winter, my daughter contracted with a painter to patch small cracks in the stucco and touch up the areas where the "paint" had flaked off.

She's now into the 2nd winter season and the bubbling has returned. Worse yet, the windows appear to be leaking, causing interior damage. [I caulked around the outside window casings but didn't see any obvious signs of cracking, so I'm not hopeful.] On my last visit to her house, I pressed the center of one of these "paint" bubbles and water spurted out, like I had burst a balloon. This particular bubble was about 3' above ground level and 10' from the roof line. [The roof is flat with a central drain, and was resurfaced before the house was sold.] I didn't see any apparent source for the water - i.e. it wasn't under a window or other protrusion, nor did I find any stucco cracks of any significance nearby. I am at a loss to explain it and am looking for ideas. She extended herself financially to get into the house, so I suspect that any repairs - assuming they are reasonable DIY items - will fall to me.

Any insights or suggestions would be most appreciated.

bob the builder 03-24-2006 06:54 PM

I have seen many times when the roof leak caused the window damage so it wouldn't be a bad idea to get up there and check it out if it still leaks. Did you do a good job caulking the window, thats important? For the paint it wouldn't be absurd to think that the people that painted it used the absolute cheapest paint in the world to sell the house. Possibly a poor choice of paint for stucco...


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