If your home has stucco, then congratulations, you have one of the most rich-in-personality and presently trendy types of exterior finish out there. Stucco has found itself in places where nobody would expect to see it these days – temperate and even outright cold climates.
This concrete phase (one of four) used to be mostly associated with tropical and desert climates, due to its UV resistance and good insulation against heat. Insulating against cold isn’t, indeed, one of its strong suits, but other insulation materials have made it practical enough to use outside its comfort zone.
But, as a homeowner with stucco, you know how fragile the stuff can be. It’s the softest, most easily-damaged phase of concrete, and strong winds and major temperature fluctuations can cause it to chop away, fracture, or crumble over time. While repairing it may not be your number one priority if you have major home repairs on your dossier, leaving it to its own devices is a bad idea. Moisture can creep in, and the structure of your house can be further compromised as this protective layer is weakened.
When looking into this, you’ve undoubtedly been faced with two concepts – stucco repair and stucco remediation. What the heck is stucco remediation? It sounds like a legal term of some sort, doesn’t it? Well, it’s actually a simple concept, but it’s important to know that repair and remediation are vastly different things, when it comes to stucco. Today, we’re going to outline these differences, and get you up to speed on when either is called for.
Stucco repair is exactly how it sounds – finding a damaged part of the stucco, and simply repairing or reapplying the concrete layer. It’s basically patching the damage. In mild enough cases, this is actually effective, and obviously the more cost-effective choice. However, if stucco damage is deep or widespread enough, this would be something of a band-aid on the problem, so to speak.
If moisture has gotten in, the layers underneath have been damaged, or the overall structure of the stucco concrete layer has been weakened sufficiently, the damage will just persist, no matter how much patching you do. If you go this route with severe damage, it’s very much like the old cartoon trope of the character repeatedly plugging leaks on a boat or a dam, and running out of fingers comedically. Only, in this case, it’s not very funny, is it?
Stucco remediation is a different creature altogether. With remediation, the entire surface is stripped down, including the underlying layers. If you have a cinderblock structure, for example, it would be stripped down to this cinderblock layer.
At this point, the entire stucco application process is done completely over, from scratch, placing a brand new infrastructure over this surface. Basically, it’s tearing it completely down and rebuilding it.
This is the only way to effectively, genuinely fix big enough problems where cracks are prevalent, the underlying layers have been damaged, or the overall structure has been sufficiently weakened, is to remediate the stucco. This has its disadvantages, obviously. It’s more time consuming, it’s costlier, and it’s a frustrating thing, to have to completely redo something. This of course also includes the paint job, which is a whole other, albeit less heavy project.
Repair vs. Remediation: Pros and Cons
- Pro – Repair is a light project, more affordable, which just involves mostly patching cracks and tears. It uses fewer materials, can be quickly done, and also requires minimal painting.
- Con – If you simply go with repairs on what seems like minor damage, you may not get a full view of underlying damage, such as water intrusion and structural damage that will become worse when left unsupervised for protracted periods.
- Pro – Repair requires less skill, meaning that there’s far less up-front cost involved in this process.
- Con – Repairs are temporary, and the cracks and tears will reappear, elsewhere in the structure, over time. This is because there’s an underlying cause present that only remediation can fix.
- Con – Remediation involves removing the entire siding structure, and replacing it with more modern materials.
- Con – It requires a serious inspection of the sheathing, framing, and insulation, all of which may need to be replaced if mold has contaminated it (which water damage has a tendency to do).
- Pro – This is a long-term fix, as the underlying cause of the problem has been addressed in the removal and replacement of the existing materials.
- Con – It’s more expensive due to the skill required to perform it. This needs a skilled contractor who knows their stucco forward and backward.
- Pro – It’s the best choice overall because even seemingly minor damage has an underlying cause that’s just going to become a bigger and bigger problem over time. It may be a hassle, but it’s a guaranteed fix, not a patch on an ongoing problem!
Ready to remediate your stucco, or just go with repairs due to budget? At JDT Construction, we know stucco-like nobody else in the industry. Give us a call or fill out our contact form today for a zero-obligation consultation!