West Chester, PA, a small suburb of Philadelphia, is a historic town with an abundance of beautiful buildings, many of which are well over 100 years old. Given the harsh climate of eastern Pennsylvania, home maintenance is a critical component of ensuring that your property will shine for years to come. Whether it’s replacing old windows or rehabbing aging floors, there’s much to do in order to ensure that your home matches the esteem of West Chester, whose contributions to America include being the birthplace of one of the country’s first railroads.
When seeking to make your home more luxurious, it’s essential that you think of both the interior and exterior, including your home’s siding material. Many older properties in West Chester have stucco, which, though long-lasting, often suffers from water damage over time.
As you decide whether it’s time to seek out stucco remediation, keep these critical clues in mind.
Stucco is a mixture of cement, lime, sand, and water that is placed on the walls and cured in order to create a smooth, even finish. Over time, though, it may develop cracks due to moisture infiltration or the foundation settling, as it does not have any give to it and is tightly adhered to the wall. These cracks may be horizontal or vertical, or they may veer from side to side, depending on what caused the crack.
Not only do stucco cracks tell you it’s time for repair or remediation, but they also may signify issues with your home’s foundation. In addition to seeking out assistance with replacing the stucco, you should also have a contractor investigate and see if you may need foundation repair.
Gaps in the Material
As mentioned previously, stucco is not a very forgiving material, as it is applied directly to the wall underneath; this means that it generally cracks or pulls away when the home shifts at all. This will result in gaps, which can allow rain or snow to leak and rot the walls.
These gaps are usually most prevalent around doors, windows, chimneys, and other entryways. Check particularly around the tops of windows and doors; there should only be the tiniest seam here, not a significant gap.
Chips and Tears
As stucco destabilizes, small pieces may begin to separate from the surface, leading to chips and tears. This will allow water to seep in through the chips, which can cause major issues for your home’s stability.
Take a walk around your property and check to see if there are any pieces of stucco flaking away from the wall or tiny “rips” in the material. This tells you that you’ll need to either have these pieces patched up or will need to entirely remove the stucco, and you should have an expert ensure that there is no significant water damage underneath the material.
Your stucco should be a smooth, uniform surface with little color variation, so if you notice staining, this is a sign of mold growth. The staining will typically show up around windows, doors, and gutters, areas that typically have the most moisture accumulation. The staining can also indicate that water has started to separate out the base materials of the stucco.
While stucco is not as hard as concrete, it should always feel firm to the touch, never soft or tacky. Soft spots in the stucco mean that water has begun to loosen up the sand, lime, and cement that comprise the material; essentially, it is “rehydrating” the stucco and bringing it back to its wet, uncured state. This is a serious danger, as it allows water to be trapped between the stucco and interior walls.
Why Do You Need Stucco Remediation?
You may believe that stained, torn, or wet stucco is simply an aesthetic issue, but it actually signifies far more serious problems. Stucco is meant to be a durable, weatherproof seal between the interior walls of your home and the elements, so any time there is a small tear on the surface, it invites water damage and rot. Not only can this be very expensive to repair, but mold growth inside your home can lead to major health concerns for you and your family.
In contrast to stucco repair, stucco remediation completely removes the compromised material, usually replacing it with a hardier siding option such as fiber cement siding. Sometimes, you may opt to have new stucco lain down. This provides a more long-lasting fix than just patching up the cracks, and it enables you to ensure there is no water damage inside your home.
Keeping a healthy home in West Chester, PA, starts by having a strong exterior. Should you find issues with the stucco on your home, such as cracks, tears, or staining, it’s time to call experts who can assist you in removing the damaged material and replacing it with a more durable option.