Prevent Water Damage on Exterior Stucco

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Next up, we’re talking to Susan in Tennessee who listens to The Money Pit on WETR. And you’ve got a water management issue. Tell us about what’s going on at your house.

    SUSAN: Well, I have stucco on the exterior that’s a (inaudible) type of stucco and it goes below the ground.

    TOM: OK.

    SUSAN: And my neighbors – we all have the same type of homes and they’ve been told that they’re going to have water damage …

    TOM: Mm-hmm.

    SUSAN: … eventually …

    TOM: Yeah.

    SUSAN: … if they continue to have mulch against the stucco.

    LESLIE: Oh, yeah.

    SUSAN: And so some of them have put in a few inches of rock – stone, pebbles and such – and then their – then their mulch. Others have said they need to just totally remove all the mulch and put in stone only. There’s only one company in town that does that. I was wondering if it’s possible to do it on my own. The company in town says they want to cut it off on an angle …

    TOM: Right, because they don’t want to cover the foam siding, which is basically what you’re describing. You have exterior insulated foam siding; it’s known as EFS or EIFS. And the particular brand that you mentioned and other forms of foam siding have been associated with water problems; with water leaking in through that stuff. So, I’m really uncomfortable with EIFS – any form of EIFS, whether it’s self-draining or not – as a siding material. So, I think the company that’s suggesting that this be trimmed so that it’s not being covered probably has your best interest in mind. That’s not something that you ought to do by yourself, but I think that’s kind of the right idea.

    If you do some searching, on the internet, about this EIFS material – E-I-F-S – I think what you’ll find is a lot of heartache across the country with people that have had many, many problems. It’s been associated with homes that leak. It’s been associated with homes that grow mold. It’s just not a good product. I have a structural engineer who’s a friend of mine who had the best quote I ever heard about this. His name is Bob. He says, “That stuff was leaking on the drawing board.” (chuckling) So, that’s definitely something to stay on top of, as far as the maintenance is concerned, and I think you’re definitely thinking correctly with keeping the moisture away from it as much as possible.

    SUSAN: But does it matter if there’s a few inches of stone before we put the mulch in?

    TOM: Well, I think the idea here is that it’s in contact with the grade; so the moisture’s going to be sucked up into it. I think that’s the concern. And if you can have an air gap between the siding and the grade, that’s probably the best way to keep it dry. I have some concerns about it, Susan. Anything you can do to keep the water away is a good thing.

    Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.

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