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  1. #1
    brooke blumetti's Avatar
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    Default Stucco Stains Help!

    My stucco is less than one year old, and looks terrible. The sub-contractor who installed has gone out of business, and is of no help. The contractor has agreed to contact the manufacturer, but I'm not even sure what these stains are. I have tried to scrub with bleach and oxyclean, with no help. If it is just dirt from the water run off, and soot- I am just concerned with how easily it is staining. None of the neighbors homes in the same environment look like this, and the prior to having this synthetic stucco applied there was zero staining where the plaster had been present for about 20 years.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Stucco Stains Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by brooke blumetti View Post
    My stucco is less than one year old, and looks terrible. The sub-contractor who installed has gone out of business, and is of no help. The contractor has agreed to contact the manufacturer, but I'm not even sure what these stains are. I have tried to scrub with bleach and oxyclean, with no help. If it is just dirt from the water run off, and soot- I am just concerned with how easily it is staining. None of the neighbors homes in the same environment look like this, and the prior to having this synthetic stucco applied there was zero staining where the plaster had been present for about 20 years.
    Brooke,

    I am curious about a couple of things.

    1) You are comparing your stucco to your neighbors', but did they use a standard three-coat stucco or synthetic?

    2) You mention synthetic stucco. Is this a coating over the original three-coat or is this a completely new synthetic stucco installation (such as EIFS)?

    Difficult to tell much from the first pic. It looks like water may be flowing off of the roof and onto that projection/molding. Without actually being there to get a good look, I suspect dirt from the roof drips or flows onto that area. I do not know why you are unable to get it clean though.

    The second pic appears to be a chimney chase. If so, it is not uncommon for water runoff from the top of the pan flashing (metal cap on top of the chase) to be dirty from soot and stain the stucco. This could have been alleviated to some degree by installation of a cornice around the top of the chimney chase so water does not flow down the exterior.

    However, you did mention that the previous (can we presume three-coat?) stucco did not have that problem. Did you just re-stucco or did you make any other changes to the exterior (such as change the top of the chimney chase)?

    These are just my guesses from the two pics and limited information that you posted. Do the neighboring homes have similar construction detailing (no cornice at the chimney chase, and synthetic stucco, for instance)?

    Sorry I am not of much help. Hopefully, some of the other inspectors from the southwest and those more familiar with synthetic stucco will chime in and give you more information.

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  3. #3
    brooke blumetti's Avatar
    brooke blumetti Guest

    Default Re: Stucco Stains Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnar Alquist View Post
    Brooke,

    I am curious about a couple of things.

    1) You are comparing your stucco to your neighbors', but did they use a standard three-coat stucco or synthetic?

    2) You mention synthetic stucco. Is this a coating over the original three-coat or is this a completely new synthetic stucco installation (such as EIFS)?

    Difficult to tell much from the first pic. It looks like water may be flowing off of the roof and onto that projection/molding. Without actually being there to get a good look, I suspect dirt from the roof drips or flows onto that area. I do not know why you are unable to get it clean though.

    The second pic appears to be a chimney chase. If so, it is not uncommon for water runoff from the top of the pan flashing (metal cap on top of the chase) to be dirty from soot and stain the stucco. This could have been alleviated to some degree by installation of a cornice around the top of the chimney chase so water does not flow down the exterior.

    However, you did mention that the previous (can we presume three-coat?) stucco did not have that problem. Did you just re-stucco or did you make any other changes to the exterior (such as change the top of the chimney chase)?

    These are just my guesses from the two pics and limited information that you posted. Do the neighboring homes have similar construction detailing (no cornice at the chimney chase, and synthetic stucco, for instance)?

    Sorry I am not of much help. Hopefully, some of the other inspectors from the southwest and those more familiar with synthetic stucco will chime in and give you more information.
    Thank you! I'm not sure what the neighbors homes are made from, I was very uninformed by the contractor. The original covering on the home may have been plaster? It had been there quite some time, and was peeling. It was very smooth. The contractor recommended smooth synthetic stucco over top of it. We made no other modifications to the home which is 30 years old. We could install a cornice as mentioned and possibly elongate the scuppers? But being that this was never a problem before, I just want to be certain that the contractor does not put a band-aid on an improperly installed stucco. I am just surprised by the amount of staining that is seen all over the home anywhere that water runs down.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stucco Stains Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by brooke blumetti View Post
    The sub-contractor who installed has gone out of business, and is of no help. The contractor has agreed to contact the manufacturer, ...
    Not sure of how you are using the terms "contractor" and "sub-contractor", but if you are using them in the correct use, then 'your contract' was with 'THE' "contractor", and 'THE' "contractor" subbed the work out to someone who was not an employee of his and who was, hopefully, a licensed contractor for that work (whatever type of licensing may be required in your area).

    'THE' "contractor" is the one who is responsible for 'THEIR' work, and 'THEIR' work includes all work done by anyone they hire to do the work (whether employee or sub-contractor).

    As far as you are concerned, you should not be concerned whether the "sub-contractor" is still in business or not, or if they simply refuse to correct the work or not, or if they did the work improperly or not - all of that is 'THE' "contractor's" responsibility.

    Gunnar brought up some very good points, one of which is that the drip edge(s) which may have been there with the original stucco coating may have been filled in or made ineffective with the application of an additional coating of the synthetic material.

    I zoomed in 500% on the chimney cap area as the new coating may have brought the surface out too close to the chimney cap's drip edge - instead of the water running off as Gunnar mentioned, and as it may have done in the past, the water wicks up the back side of the cap edge enough to contact the new coating ... resulting in the water running down the surface of the coating instead of dripping off the cap drip edge and being blown around in the wind (on windy days) or dripping down past the the wall surface (on calm says).

    That column and the collar trim around it is likely more problematic now that it was before (even though it looks to not have been correct before ... presuming that the trim around the column was not newly installed with the new coating).

    That collar trim around the column looks to be Styrofoam-type trim which is coated over, and most factory made trim is made to make it easy to put up (half round with two flat sides so it can be installed either side up. The issue with that style trim is that the top should have a slope to it so water does not stand on top of the trim, and the underside of the trim should have a drip edge groove made into the shape to allow rain water to drip off rather then run down the column as it does and as shown in the photo. To compound the issue, you will notice the water stain on the column above that trim - water is running down the surface of the column, possibly from a condition similar to that of the chimney (drip edge no longer as effective as it once was).

    Just some things I noticed.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  5. #5
    brooke blumetti's Avatar
    brooke blumetti Guest

    Default Re: Stucco Stains Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Not sure of how you are using the terms "contractor" and "sub-contractor", but if you are using them in the correct use, then 'your contract' was with 'THE' "contractor", and 'THE' "contractor" subbed the work out to someone who was not an employee of his and who was, hopefully, a licensed contractor for that work (whatever type of licensing may be required in your area).

    'THE' "contractor" is the one who is responsible for 'THEIR' work, and 'THEIR' work includes all work done by anyone they hire to do the work (whether employee or sub-contractor).

    As far as you are concerned, you should not be concerned whether the "sub-contractor" is still in business or not, or if they simply refuse to correct the work or not, or if they did the work improperly or not - all of that is 'THE' "contractor's" responsibility.

    Gunnar brought up some very good points, one of which is that the drip edge(s) which may have been there with the original stucco coating may have been filled in or made ineffective with the application of an additional coating of the synthetic material.

    I zoomed in 500% on the chimney cap area as the new coating may have brought the surface out too close to the chimney cap's drip edge - instead of the water running off as Gunnar mentioned, and as it may have done in the past, the water wicks up the back side of the cap edge enough to contact the new coating ... resulting in the water running down the surface of the coating instead of dripping off the cap drip edge and being blown around in the wind (on windy days) or dripping down past the the wall surface (on calm says).

    That column and the collar trim around it is likely more problematic now that it was before (even though it looks to not have been correct before ... presuming that the trim around the column was not newly installed with the new coating).

    That collar trim around the column looks to be Styrofoam-type trim which is coated over, and most factory made trim is made to make it easy to put up (half round with two flat sides so it can be installed either side up. The issue with that style trim is that the top should have a slope to it so water does not stand on top of the trim, and the underside of the trim should have a drip edge groove made into the shape to allow rain water to drip off rather then run down the column as it does and as shown in the photo. To compound the issue, you will notice the water stain on the column above that trim - water is running down the surface of the column, possibly from a condition similar to that of the chimney (drip edge no longer as effective as it once was).

    Just some things I noticed.
    Thank you! I think you are right about the new stucco making the house thicker and bringing eliminating the drip edge. When a contractor does stucco, is it his responsibility to anticipate things, and at least offer to fix them? i just have zero construction knowledge, but everything this guy did for us was a disaster... i'm also not entirely sure why this new stucco is staining so badly! The old plaster that was there didn't have any stains, and obviously the same stuff is washing off the same roof...


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stucco Stains Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by brooke blumetti View Post
    When a contractor does stucco, is it his responsibility to anticipate things, and at least offer to fix them?
    .
    .
    The old plaster that was there didn't have any stains, and obviously the same stuff is washing off the same roof...
    To the first part - yes, the contractor should assess what is there, and have an understanding of why it is there, before doing any work.

    To the second part - there may not have been stains because the water dripped off in the manner it should, but the water now runs down the wall surface ... and the new material may catch dirt more or may be more absorbent ... or all of them.

    Jerry Peck
    Construction Litigation Consultant ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stucco Stains Help!

    Quote Originally Posted by brooke blumetti View Post
    My stucco is less than one year old, and looks terrible. The sub-contractor who installed has gone out of business, and is of no help. The contractor has agreed to contact the manufacturer, but I'm not even sure what these stains are. I have tried to scrub with bleach and oxyclean, with no help. If it is just dirt from the water run off, and soot- I am just concerned with how easily it is staining. None of the neighbors homes in the same environment look like this, and the prior to having this synthetic stucco applied there was zero staining where the plaster had been present for about 20 years.
    Do you have photos you can share? Regardless, I would suggest consulting a qualified stucco contractor in your area to evaluate and determine what is going on.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Stucco Stains Help!

    Be sure to take plenty of good quality pics with close-ups. Also, save any messages between you and the contractor concerning the work and stains,,. If you have any pictures of the exterior before you had it "fixed" that would help. You may have to resort to takng legal action to recover what you paid to have that work done.

    I think probably all that needed to be done to repair it in the first plce (it was peeling) is scraping and painting with a paint made for that kind of application. That is just an assumption on my part though.


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