I have been in a stucco house in Florida for 25 years and my wife
built about 200 stucco houses over the last decade.
DaDio and Oren were the only ones I saw in this thread talking about
stucco directly over block, the way most Florida houses are built.
There is nothing under the stucco to rot unless they did stucco the
gable ends. Some houses even have masonry gable ends.
These days gables are not that popular tho. They like hips better
because there isn't that big flat surface to catch the wind. Just
about the only place you see stucco over wood is where they framed up
a porch canopy or something. As for the painting, a good exterior
latex will get you 10 or 15 years. A lot of older houses may have
white stucco with no paint on it at all that held up 40 years but the
white tends to get gray and streaky. That was the way this house was
when I bought it 25 years ago and it was 20 years old then. Pressure
cleaning got it better but my wife hates white so we painted it., Now
I am stuck painting,
Ahhhh, you've come to the right place, Grasshoppah.
I have lived in the desert SW for more than fifty years. I'll try to be
Properly applied stucco will last for a very long time. Now you can get all
kinds of spray treatments from ceramic to elastic paint that stretches 600%.
Stucco is just a cement product made from concrete, lime, sand, and maybe a
couple of other things. It can be colored. It's just a bitch to get a
consistent color unless you are making it in big batches, and can use the
exact amounts of ingredients each time. Color comes in one pound bags, and
it's easy to get it off a shade or three.
However, your question is on longevity and maintenance. Properly applied
stucco has a "weep screed" along the bottom that runs basically along the
bottom plate on the outside of the building. It is drilled with holes on
the bottom so that when the stucco gets wet, the water migrates downhill
from the gravity and evaporates. If it doesn't, then you have mold
problems, or the lime starts to leach out, and it appears white. Amazingly,
some very high dollar homes in Las Vegas retirement communities were
constructed without weep screed. It was in the laws, but someone got paid,
and they saved like thirty dollars a house. Well, long story short, the
builders took it in the neck and replaced a lot of work.
Check for the weep screed issue. If it is an older house, it may be
grandfathered in, and not required. But, you still have the problem of the
water not having anywhere to go except inside the house.
Next big culprit is water itself. Rain will run off, and dry up. Continual
drowning from sprinklers will cause stucco to sluff off and the lime to
leach out BIG TIME. You can see it on the exterior of some property owner's
walls where the water system on the inside is keeping the block wet 24/7,
and the stucco is sluffing off.
Next, is just settling, tree root heave, and age. Lots of cracks in stucco.
Elastomeric paint helps, but just to a point. After that, it's stucco
patch, and repaint.
I'd say five to seven years is not unheard of, but if you don't drench it a
lot with sprinkler water, have a weep screed that's properly installed,
don't have too many shady spots that never dry out, and just keep it up as
you go, that you can go longer than that. It all depends on the quality and
mix used in initial construction. And stucco is easy to paint, so you can
have a new color every ten years or so. Paint's a little spendy, and it
takes a MONGO airless to pump it, it's so thick. It will burn out a Graco
XR7 in fifteen minutes if you get the paint flowing at all.
Inspection is easy. Look for cracks. Settling. Sluffing that looks like
white alkali cauliflower. Wet spots that stay wet. Take an ice pick and
jab it when no one's looking. You can take a pocket mirror and check for
the weep screed. Anyone who tells you it isn't important is trying to sell
you a bridge.
Hope this helps. Good luck.
Good post Steve!
The inspector here (Las Vegas) made me move my "weep screed" on
three patio columns up and inch or so. Not a problem, but his
btw, My stucco paint I mix well with a drill and paddle. Strained well
in cloth strainers. The XR9 throws it on the wall :))
Airless sprayers WILL handle the regular stucco and masonry paint. But the
good elastomeric stuff that has the 600% expansion rating is about as thick
as gear oil, and requires a heavy airless designed for just that thing.
My XR7 really squirts out paint, too, making a long block wall doable in a
couple of hours.
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