With winter fast approaching, anyone who lives in the North East area should start preparing for snowy conditions. It is easy to forget about the exterior of your home until the weather starts to get warmer again. However, for people with stucco finishing homes, now is the time to think about how your stucco home will survive the winter.
How Winter Affects Stucco
We have previously talked about the effects of moisture on stucco here. Moisture is also a very real threat to your stucco home because of the build up of snow that will end up melting and possibly raising concerns. Stucco homeowners need to be aware of possible cracks and damage to the structure of the home due to snow moisture and take precautions where necessary.
Stucco might look very sturdy, but it’s bound to struggle with moisture damage during winter. Not only can the cold weather during winter cause havoc on your health but also on the health of your home. The key aspect of the durability of a home is effective water management as well as proper winter preparation during this season.
Attractive exterior finishes may make your home look great, but no exterior finish, whether siding, brick or stucco is waterproof. Stucco and brick are porous while siding may contract and expand to create gaps between boards. Water from snow or rain penetrates any type of exterior finish hence every home should have a drainage plane.
Other tips to avoid potential winter stucco damage during winter include:
- Using masonry paint – One primary advantage of stucco is that it does not need frequent painting to maintain its color. If you want to change the color of your home, ensure you use durable masonry paint that does not only coat the stucco’s surface but penetrates through it. Painting may also prevent damage caused by wetness through covering and sealing small cracks that may pop-up as your home settles.
- Keep stucco dry – As already mentioned, stucco does well in areas that are less wet. Places that are very damp tend to cause damage to it and result in cracking and peeling of stucco, particularly at the base of your home.
- Remove stains – Scrub down stains with a scrub brush, warm water, and a mild bleach solution occasionally if you see stains showing on your stucco. This exercise will also fight mold and also leave your stucco attractive. Moreover, using a spray attachment (with PSI not exceeding 600) on a hose can help remove debris and dirt.
Retrofitting a new properly drained surface is the best solution for stucco snow water intrusion into a wall assembly. Adding drainage plane material over the existing stucco effectively prevents snow water that forms during winter to enter into the wall assembly.
Use of a drainage screen at the wall’s bottom and weep holes at obstacles like window and door openings is advisable. Doing so, directs melting snow water from the drainage plane to the face of the wall. Since it prevents the entry of snow water into the wall system, it has a high probability of success.
Where retrofit of the stucco is not applicable, tipping the moisture balance in the wall back to the point where the concrete slab can safely store the incoming moisture may be possible.
Other ways to reduce the rate of snow water intrusion through stucco during winter include:
- Repairing cracks
- Patching of loose or missing stucco
- Retrofitting weep holes
- Remediation of accessories
- Installation and restoration of coatings
- Installation and restoration of sealants
However, it should be noted that these methods are more of amelioration than a correction. Moisture problems can always reoccur if the rate of snow water intake increases because of aging of sealants or additional cracking.