View Full Version : Waviness to stucco wall.

dave kellermeyer
01-15-2008, 09:05 AM
Help please! Slightly above and below the expansion joint the wall is waving(about a 6' section).Is this just a uneven area in the stucco, or is there structural problem?

Dom D'Agostino
01-15-2008, 10:35 AM
Did you "sound" the section, was it loose, cracked, hollow, etc? How old is the building?

Is this frame or CMU construction?


dave kellermeyer
01-15-2008, 12:02 PM
I didn't sound the wall,( I assume you mean to see if it is loose?)lower floor is block and 2sd level is frame

dave kellermeyer
01-15-2008, 12:04 PM
built in 2004

Jerry Peck
01-15-2008, 06:03 PM

Probably not an "expansion joint", probably just a "control joint".

Also probably installed incorrectly (almost always are).

The waviness is 'most likely' from application - not applied evenly.

I see the waviness running horizontally (high/low ridges/valleys running vertically) - how far above and how far below the control joint is the waviness?

'Could be' loose, but probably not. Also, by 'loose' would that be 'loose stucco' or 'loose lath' (on frame)? Just don't know without more information.

What makes an excellent stucco sounding tool is a welder's scaling hammer (like this: Welders hammer scaling chipping - eBay (item 140197629812 end time Jan-17-08 13:17:56 PST) (http://cgi.ebay.com/Welders-hammer-scaling-chipping_W0QQitemZ140197629812QQcmdZViewItem?IMSfp =TL0801111127a32702) ). Slide the side of its head over the stucco and the coil handle allows it to ring out and expose every area which is loose (stucco on masonry, have never tried it over frame/lath, but it is unbeatable for stucco on masonry - I would think it would work equally well with stucco on lath).

Structural problem? No, not unless the wall is rotted out ... 2004 home? Not likely, but could be.

Did you put your ladder up there and try to push against it? That would likely tell you if a large area of lath was loose, if a large area of stucco was loose, it would likely crack and pop off if you pushed on it.

wayne soper
01-15-2008, 07:12 PM
I think you are looking at EIFS Synthetic stucco, not real stucco. Just my take. If so there are many reasons this could occur. Google EIFS and you will find many hours of good reading. If EIFS, refer to an EIFS specialist as repairs to this exterior surface will surely put you out of business.

wayne soper
01-15-2008, 07:15 PM
2004 is also right on the cusp of when they were installing it wrong and whan they started using the right type of drainaage plain behind the EIFS. Thermal imaging is a must on EIFS as far as I am concerned.

Jerry Peck
01-15-2008, 08:08 PM
I think you are looking at EIFS Synthetic stucco, not real stucco.


Question I'm trying to figure out: Why would EIFS be installed over masonry?

dave kellermeyer
01-15-2008, 08:18 PM
from the control joint the vertical waves run about 1' each way as you suggested.

thanks dave

Jerry Peck
01-15-2008, 08:29 PM

It's possible (but not likely) that the control joint (the joint material itself) is loose against the wall and, being (likely being) plastic, plastic expands quite a bit, this would cause the control joint plastic to push against the areas which are fastened to the wall and 'push out' the areas which were not.

That said, though, even though plastic expands quite a bit, that 'quite a bit' is typically rated over 100 feet, and the actual expansion of the plastic over that short of a distance would be so limited that I doubt the above scenario happened.

Thus, without knowing that it was loose (next time you will know to check it), I would 'guess' that the control joint itself was not installed flat against the wall, that it bowed out in those places, and, when the stucco was applied, the control joint also served as a screed to apply the stucco to, and then the stucco was tapered up and down to meet the wall stucco.

Without further knowledge of what was, or may have been, or even was not, 'loose' - all is "speculation".

wayne soper
01-16-2008, 05:07 AM
Jerry, Good question but I've seen it many times running down over the last few feet of foundation and right down into the ground. Why? Why not. Even finish to exterior. It just looks too clean to be stucco to me but I can't know for sure. Only the probe knows! Or the guy holding it, Hopefully!

dave kellermeyer
01-16-2008, 07:51 AM

Thank you for all your help and informatiom. It will help make me a better HI.

Thanks Again Dave

Jerry Peck
01-16-2008, 12:37 PM
I've seen it many times running down over the last few feet of foundation and right down into the ground.

NOT GOOD (the part I underlined above), and not allowed either.

From the 2006 IRC. (bold is mine)

- R703.9 Exterior insulation finish systems, general. All Exterior Insulation Finish Systems (EIFS) shall be installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions and the requirements of this section. Decorative trim shall not be face nailed through the EIFS. The EIFS shall terminate not less than 6 inches (152 mm) above the finished ground level.