bubble on stucco wall after raining


My house has stucco wall. Few month ago I had it painted with elastomeric paint. Today we had our first major storm of the season, with winds blowing the rain side ways hitting the southern wall. I am in San Francisco bay area.
After the rain, I noticed part of the wall have lots of bubbles. Some are small, some are larger.
Here are some pics:
http://picasaweb.google.com/raychi/2009_10_13_WallBubble?authkey=Gv1sRgCNKN6tPks6KX5QE&feat=directlink
I only see this on the southern wall. The rest of the house seems ok..
Googling a bit, this indicates water has gotten behind the paint, and are pushing the paint out?
Did I made a big mistake going with elastomeric paint on my house? Did the painter do a bad job? What do I need to do to fix the problem? Please help, the raining season has just started.
Thanks.
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Raymond wrote:

http://picasaweb.google.com/raychi/2009_10_13_WallBubble?authkey=Gv1sRgCNKN6tPks6KX5QE&feat=directlink
Our condo has stucco on concrete block, Florida. When the condo was painted, we got an estimate for elastomeric, recommended by that one particular contractor...tremendously expensive. Ended up with acryllic latex, one coat primer, one coat paint. In researching paint issues, some authorities rec. using a pin to puncture small bubbles. Piercing the bubbles allows water or air/gases to escape, leaves paint film intact, and all MIGHT be well.
How old is the home? How many coats of paint? Stucco on what? Pressure washed? Primed? After 2005 hurricanes in Florida, there were a number of news articles addressing the issue of rain being forced through walls by the wind - older homes didn't suffer as much from that particular problem because they had more coats of paint and therefore were better protected. Most homes in Fl. are stucco on concrete block.
Any idea of how forceful wind was? It would be worthwhile to contact the paint company and your insurance company. When our condo was painted by a contractor, the paint co. inspected the prep work and the final finish. Probably not something they do for single fam. homes.
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wrote:

The house is 50 years old. The painter power washed the wall, and put on 1 layer of kelly moore elastomeric paint. I think it has kelly moore regular exterior paint before.
The wind was big. news was saying "Strongest October storm since 1962 pounds Bay Area".
After painting a few month ago, I realized the paint feels different. Before, if I scratch something against the wall, I see a mark. After painting, it scratches off the paint. I thought it was the properties of the elastomeric paint, feels like a thin plastic layer.. could it be it didn't stick well because only one layer and no primer? Or is elastomeric paint suppose to behave this way?
I am going to call the company tomorrow to see what they say. At best they may offer to repaint the southern wall. But my question is, is elastomeric the wrong choice for stucco wall (doesn't allow it to breath, and hence introduce molds and all kinds of crap and ***$ up my house, or did the painter simply didn't do as good of a job, and let water get behind it?
Will re-prime, and re-paint fix the problem? or simply re-paint with more elastomeric paint? or just regular acryllic paint?
Thanks again.
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If new paint scratched off that was your warning something was done wrong. What you are I think saying is it didnt bond to the old finish and is comming right off. If thats the case then a simple repainting wont do anything to fix the issue, removal of all loose paint is needed. The reason has to be figured out. I would call the store that sold you the paint, the paint co, and of course the painter who will deny its his fault. Does Elastomeric paint breath?, is it recomended for stucco?. For about 50$ you should get yourself a moisture meter, everyone is going to say its your problem, you have water in the stucco. But if it peeled off from day one id suspect its poor aplication, as in it was put on a sun heated damp-wet surface- from washing, and possibly it was the wrong product to use from a breathability standpoint, [ breath ability] of the product would havbe a tested rating by kelly moore. I will bet the stucco was wet from powerwashing, the sun heated it just after it was painted, or the surface was hot from the sun and it never bonded at all, and a moisture reading now wont be excessive after a big rain.
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Not familiar with moisture meter. Is this what you are talking about? I use it to measure moisture trapped inside the stucco?
Sonin 50218 Digital Moisture Meter (Amazon.com product link shortened)55555412&sr=1-6
The paint didn't peel off (day one or now). In fact everything looked fine until yesterday. No cracks or peels. I didn't buy the paint, the painter got the paint. This was painted back in July, where it's pretty dry and warm here (~80 during the day, 60 at night). I recall they power washed in day 1, caulked all the cracks, etc. day 2 was prep, put plastic over windows, etc, and start painting. day 3 finished painting. I don't remember exactly whether they started painting at end of day 1 or day 2, but the troubled wall was definitely painted in day2 afternoon. so it should be dry, but it might be hot from the sun.
At the time I felt like they did a pretty professional job. All the prep work, painting and clean up afterwards is pretty good. No peeling or cracking what so ever until the bubble on the southern wall yesterday.
They used a spray gun, and possibily roller. One thing I noticed was they got some water from the yard when they were painting. I wasn't sure if it was for washing the supplies, or did they add water to the mix. When they were wrapping up the job I did saw a bucket of dirty water which they washed things.. IF they had mixed water into the elastomeric paint before spraying, could that have caused it not to stick as well?
What I meant was. I feel the elastomeric paint is a like a rubber layer. using a sharp object, I feel like I can almost scrap it off. This is different from regular paint, where I feel I would scrap off the stucco instead of the paint if I tried. (My wife has put a metal patio chair next to the wall, and it actually came in touch with the wall when we were using it. Afterward I noticed where the back of the chair touched the wall, the paint was damaged a tiny bit. I didn't actually try to see if I can scrap it off with a screw driver or such....)
I called them, they said they'll come out and take a look. Most likely need to sand it off and re-paint...
I cut one of the bubbles open, it was water inside. I am going to try to see how much paint I can peel off tonight from this area.. This would give me some indication of how good it is sticking to the wall.
Raymond
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Your descriptions get confusing - does the paint rub off by hand? It would be normal for paint to come off if scratched with something sharp! If the blisters have water in them now, it MAY BE possible that moisture was driven through the paint film by high wind, now expands with heat of day. IF the surface was wet when it was painted - you think "maybe" they painted day of pressure washing? - seems the blisters should have appeared before now.
Depending on how large an area is involved, it might be adviseable to poke each with a sharp point to allow water to escape. As said before, if the rest of the paint film is intact, the blisters will shrink and not show.
You don't SAND stucco to remove loose paint - pressure washing (experienced, using correct pressure) is the method.
Whether the storm could have driven water through the paint film would be a good question to ask of the paint co. before you discuss any corrective measures with the painter. Latex paint is commonly used on masonry because it allows more moisture to move than does alkyd paint, and masonry always has some moisture in it.
Priming/painting should not have begun until 3 days of dry weather. It should not have been painted in the hot sun - painting should proceed around a building so to avoid hot sun.
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wrote:

No it does not rub off by hand...

Ok, the heavy rain hit on Tue. The weather was cool during the day. Very windy. I noticed the bubble after the rain finally stopped around 5pm (it has been raining for 12+ hours). Your explanation seems to make sense. If the film for that wall is not as thick as it should be, then perhaps the rain has driven moisture through it? (is it possible?)
Wed was a sort of sunny. After I got home last night I can still see the bubble. Perhaps it was a bit smaller but I didn't look at it too closely.
This morning (Thu), I was ready to cut open those bubbles because I don't want to wait to hear from my painter. I went out side, and they were all gone. The wall looks completely normal now. Damn it. I can't even seem to find the one I cut open! I think the water must've somehow evaporated.
Yesterday I called Kelly Moore asking them about the bubble, and they told me to call their expert line. Spoke to someone there, and he said that I need to find out where water is getting through, and fix that. I asked him whether elastomeric paint is the wrong paint for stucco, and he said it can be used for stucco (ie, not the wrong paint), and claimed he sells thousands of gallons of it for stucco everyday. I asked him about stucco breathing, he claims it allows breathing (but not when water is somehow getting behind I guess).. So talking to him made me feel a tiny bit better, that I didn't mess up my house by using the wrong kind of paint.

No. That wall was the last thing they painted, definitely not the same day power washed. It looked perfectly normal, with no blisting or chipping paint, until the rain hit.

That's exactly what happened before I get a chance to cut them open...

Now that the bubble have disappeared. Will simply repainting it be enough? Will power wash get rid of the paint where the bubble was? What's the proper way for power washing?
Thanks to everyone who have been helping out!
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A moisture meter needs 2 metal probes to stick in what you are measuring, I didnt see any so check. You now indicate it didnt scrape off? if water is behind bubble you have a building issue not a aplication issue. Water behind the bubble happened recently from a defect of your home, wherever its comming in you need to find and fix the issue, a moisture meter sure will help alot in finding leaks. , ive used one for years, its the best thing you could get but it needs probes that penetrate wood at least 1/4".
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Raymond wrote:

Elastomeric paint should feel rubbery. If you can scratch it off easily, something seems to be amiss. __________

Good plan. I'd also be calling the contractor. ___________

Elastomeric paint is *meant* to breathe. Breathe and stretch. It is applied very heavily - 1 gallon per 90 sq.ft. or less - and usually two coats. ______________

Quien sabe? ____________

I seem to recall that elastomeric paint should not be repainted with regular acrylic for around a year.
--

dadiOH
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clipped

Nobody can answer those questions without knowing the specifics of what kind of surface (stucco on what), the product (not just the brand), the preparation, the conditions when the paint was applied, the old finish, etc. Do you not have some left-over paint so you can find the exact product? If not, call the painter. It should have been stated on the contract when you hired the contractor.
For starters, call the contractor and advise him of the problems, esp. the fact that the paint rubbed off. Follow up by writing to him, stating clearly the problems occurring and when they appeared.
Kelly Moore has a website with some general descriptions of their products and intended uses, here: http://www.kellymoore.com/site/systemselectionguide
If the paint rubs off, which you did not state in your original post, it is highly likely that the surface was chalky and/or mildewy when the paint was applied. If moisture was the original problem, you should have seen blistering sooner, it seems.
There is a "contact us" link on the page for KM. Let us know how it goes.
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Yep, you have trapped moisture. You're only seeing it on the Southern side because that wall heats up more in the sun, and the water is either expanding or creating water vapor - probably the latter.
First thing to do is to bleed 'er. Popping them with a pin will most likely just put you back at square one with the bubbles after you repaint. Slice off the bubbles with a razor blade.
The wall has to dry out before you can repaint. That's a tough one in the rainy season. If you don't have too much area to deal with, and too many bubbles, you could use a heat gun or hair dryer to heat up the ex-bubble locations.
Repaint when all is dry. Spot prime if the manufacture recommends it. Contact the manufacturer in any event and see if they have a standard solution.
R
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Contrary to "normal" practice...stucco should not be painted.
cheers Bob
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DD_BobK wrote:

You like grey?
Say...are you that guy in Arizona (or maybe New Mexico)? The one who thinks the way to handle stucco is to add more?
--

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the scratch coat, the brown coat and the finish (aka color) coat
stucco doesn't have to be grey but I do like grey stucco :)
cheers Bob
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DD_BobK wrote:

Ah, OK, that's workable. Trouble is, around here at least (central Florida), the stucco guys don't like to use color in stucco because of the difficulty in maintaining the same color batch to batch.
--

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dadiOH wrote:

I don't think I've ever seen unpainted stucco in Florida - it would grow mildew/mold like mad. Semi-gloss paint is most common.
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DD_BobK wrote:

Note that some answers here are based on stucco over cement block (common in Florida) and some are based on a wood frame building with stucco, typically over a wood substrate. Answers for one are not necessarily appropriate for the other.
And in the second case you could have the 'modern' EFIS stucco. I that case, IMHO, you need an expert opinion. There are horror stories involving EFIS.
I assume you have conventional stucco and a wood frame house.

Ask a stucco contractor what should be used and if "elastomeric paint" is a good idea. Or you could ask a *good* paint store.
I agree that it is best not to paint stucco. I would rather "redash", which is a thin layer of stucco with pigment. That keeps the surface a low maintenance stucco finish. Painting turns the surface into a much higher maintenance painted surface.
I have always been told that if paint is used it must "breathe". This is particularly true in older houses that do not have the effective vapor barriers used in new construction. The vapor that escapes the house into the wall must easily escape through the stucco. If trapped by paint you can have headaches like peeling paint and rusting metal lath.
I understand elastomeric as a paint that does not breathe.
To get all the paint off of stucco sandblasting is commonly used.
--
bud--

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You should be thinking stripping off, paint remover is sold in 50 gallon drums, I hope it doesnt come to that, but it all has to be sound and bonding or your nightmare will only be begining.
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Sacramento Tim had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/bubble-on-stucco-wall-after-raining-400104-.htm : I have the same problem as Raymond. I live in Sacramento and had the same storm roll through, only my home is new construction. Again, only one wall was affected, but unlike Raymond, it was the North Wall. I was meeting another contractor and noticed the entire two storey imperfect smooth stucco wall was covered by water blisters that were mostly small. The other three walls were fine.
The paint was applied during the hot Sacramento summer. Again, the day after the rain the bubbles were gone, but the paint, and bubbles were easily wiped off the stucco surface when they present.
The contractors, of course, are claiming that this is merely cosmetic and the house merely needs to be heated and the problem will disappear. That sounds problematic to me, that there must be moisture trapped and that if in fact the paint isn't breathable and is an impermable membrane, then the problem will recur if the heat is off during the winter.
The general claims that he contacted the paint manufacturer, but I'm sceptical as I've caught him in previous misrepresentations..the architect asserts that now that everyone has been pout on notice that there is a year to remediate, but I'm thinking that my leverage is gone at that point.
Advice?
Sh Raymond wrote:

http://picasaweb.google.com/raychi/2009_10_13_WallBubble?authkey=Gv1sRgCNKN6tPks6KX5QE&feat=directlink
-------------------------------------
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Sacramento Tim wrote:

Conversation with the OP has been somewhat confusing, goin' around in circles. It certainly seems logical that the moisture came from wind-driven rain, esp. with the OP because he had no bubbles until after the storm. Just about all home construction in coastal Florida is stucco on concrete block, always painted. Most paint with latex/acryllic semi-gloss to keep down mold/mildew. After the hurricanes in 2005, there were a number of news articles about rain driven through walls by force of the wind. Older homes had less damage because they had more coats of paint. It seems at this point it would be wise to find out from local weather sources how forceful the wind was and then to contact both the paint company (if known) and insurance company. Might be worth contacting a local news blog to see if others have the problem.
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