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Posted: 12/17/2005 5:09:46 AM EDT
I have had an ongoing problem with one spot on my house. Been going on for a few years now.

Sometimes when it rains I get water dripping inside the window frame of a small bathroom. Not every time, just sometimes.

So, I screw with the roof and do this and that and eventually put a god damn foam roof on. Ain 't got no steenkin leaky roof NOW by God.

Oops. Problem is STILL there. WTF? So I take my hose up there (flat roof) and start watering. Can NOT make it leak. Wassup wit dat? Hmmm, so I try watering the wall above the window that gets the leak. Bingo. The problme is the wall itself. OK, so I am a half assed Home Depot kind of cheapskate and go buy some caulking/filler stuff and fill all the small cracks I can see. Problem fixed. For a while.

The problem is back. OK, so I am the kind of guy who thinks houses should be waterproof. I call a stucco contractor over to fix it properly. The area is about 10 wide and no more than 5 feet high. How many cracks or how they should be repaired I don't know.

He gets back to me with a quote to fix the problem area.

$2,200

Is stucco work really that expensive? Or was this a case of "zipcode pricing"?

Any advice?

Link Posted: 12/17/2005 6:23:57 AM EDT
I would tell that guy to shove that estimate up his ass. Definetly zip code pricing.
Link Posted: 12/17/2005 7:38:57 AM EDT
Do you have cracks in the stucco? You can get some silicone stucco filler and then paint over to repair. You most likely need to SEAL the top of the window with some caulk . I'd do that before I let some fuck rip me off for 2K!
Link Posted: 12/17/2005 9:50:50 AM EDT
Yeah, the 2K does seem kinda high to me

There is actually cracks in the stucco. I can put water on the window itself and directly above it all day long and it won't leak. Raise the hose about 2 feet and bingo in comes a flood. I tried using silicone caulk and paint and it worked for about a year. Now it is back. I might do it again but I don't like the idea that maybe I got it and maybe not and maybe the interior wall is getting wet and moldy.

I'd gladly pay the right price to have the wall properly fixed. But $2000. WHoa. That can't be right.

Link Posted: 12/17/2005 12:43:06 PM EDT
You'd be surprised what people quote when they don't want to do the job...it's just a bonus when someone opens up the wallet and says "Do you take it all up front?"
Link Posted: 12/17/2005 1:55:02 PM EDT
Maybe get another stucco guy to look at it instead of asking a bunch of gun guys that haven't seen it.

Just a thought.
Link Posted: 12/17/2005 2:31:43 PM EDT
jwrig,

Good idea. You would be amazed at how difficult that is to DO. Most of them don't answer their phones. Many don't return calls. But, oh yeah, this isn't the only place I am working this problem

I am working it from that angle and kinda hoped maybe someone here had experience in this field and could tell me yes, I am being screwed, or no, this is actually the going rate for stucco work.

Or, maybe someone here is a stucco guy looking for some moonlighting work for cash or guns.

Just spreading my bets. I am pretty sure I will try rebuilding the entire wall myself before paying that kind of money.

Link Posted: 12/17/2005 3:45:52 PM EDT
Stucco itself is not waterproof. Don't worry about cracks unless they are big. What I think is happening is this: the first layer of the exterior is wood osb, the windows are installed at this stage. Then comes a layer of water resistant material kinda like tar paper. At the top of the window the paper should overlap a metal flange so the water runs outside the window. I'll bet the paper was installed before the windows and is under the flange. Or there is some other problem with the moisture barrier, tears, age, shoddy workmanship, etc. After the paper comes a layer of styrofoam then chicken wire, then stucco; none of which is water proof. Is it only over the windows? Have you checked where your drywall meets the floor? is there any signs of water in places other than around windows? If it is only around windows, then you know it is a problem with the window install. If this is the case then the fix would be to cut away the stucco, wire, foam and get all the way to the paper. Then properly seal the top (most important), sides and bottom(less important). Patch the removed material, restucco, and don't forget about paint. The patch will never look as good as the orig. If this happens in multiple locations then 2k is not a bad price.

One thing you should do when the contractors are there is probe them for free info. See if they all think it is the same problem/cure. Don't be deterred by poor phone etiquette, all those guys are the same, busy and assholes. Keep calling and you'll get what you want. Maybe you can do the demo and save some cash? Email me if you have any other questions, I'd be glad to help. Good Luck.
Link Posted: 12/17/2005 4:23:47 PM EDT

Originally Posted By jimmybcool:
jwrig,

Good idea. You would be amazed at how difficult that is to DO. Most of them don't answer their phones. Many don't return calls. But, oh yeah, this isn't the only place I am working this problem

I am working it from that angle and kinda hoped maybe someone here had experience in this field and could tell me yes, I am being screwed, or no, this is actually the going rate for stucco work.

Or, maybe someone here is a stucco guy looking for some moonlighting work for cash or guns.

Just spreading my bets. I am pretty sure I will try rebuilding the entire wall myself before paying that kind of money.




jimmyb,
You hit a home run. Rusty is the most dialed in yet.

Link Posted: 12/17/2005 4:44:21 PM EDT
Yup, seems Rusty has a clue.

The house was one of the recent (8 years old) builds where anyone holding a hammer was considered a carpenter.

I watched them build myh house and I assure you there is no wood under the stucco. The build was:

Wood frame
Chicken wire and styrofoam.
Paper
Stucco

Could be right about the order the window went in though. But the problem is at least a foot above the top of the window. And no, I have not seen any signs of water anywhere else. Just the top of the window frame inside.

Frankly, if I thought they were doing the right thing and $2K was a legitimate price I'd pay it. The house is worth a lot.

I am just not convinced they are dling the right thing. They are talking about polyurethane sealants and Loxon (?) and who knows what.

I have another guy coming next week. We'll get another opinion.

Link Posted: 12/18/2005 10:23:02 PM EDT
Yes, you're getting screwed.

Been in construction since '93 here in the Valley, and no stucco patch costs $40 per sq ft. Not even Dryvit runs that cost.

If you want to send me some pics, I'll look at it for you and maybe can tell you what you need to fix it yourself - stucco is fairly easy once you learn to float it.

If you want me to fix it, you pay the gas and materials, and buy some beer to drink and a round of McDonald's for lunch. Call it a Christmas present. We'll get you hooked up.

IM me if I can help, bro.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 7:37:21 AM EDT
Richard,

We could do a LOT better than lunch and beer for the right help.

Here are some photos of the spot.





If you look you can see the one repair I made. It held up for a few years I think. Didn't leak inside but between the walls I don't know.



Link Posted: 12/19/2005 8:26:35 AM EDT

Originally Posted By jimmybcool:
Richard,

We could do a LOT better than lunch and beer for the right help.

Here are some photos of the spot.

img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-5/1007615/DSC01196.jpg

img.villagephotos.com/p/2005-5/1007615/DSC01198.jpg

If you look you can see the one repair I made. It held up for a few years I think. Didn't leak inside but between the walls I don't know.






Can you email me some larger pics bro? Close-ups if possible, and include all your repairs. Looks simple enough (simple being relative to an actual inspection, of course) and should not be a problem to either tell you how to fix it or take a day and do it myself - and it will take a day, as I am forced to take many breaks to keep the swelling in the leg down.

Let me guess: your leak is about 2 feet above the window top, right? I cannot tell if that is an asthetic feature on the home or a sink (wet behind the exterior coating that sat and shrank the foam, making a gap that water found to invade your sheetrock inside).

You're telling us that no OSB exists on the exterior framing, but I think you are incorrect. I see no way of a home passing inspection without sheathing, followed by TyVek (a DuPont water and moisture barried used to seal the wood and attach the styro and chicken wire that makes the stucco or DryVit stick). More than likely, moisture entered between the TyVek and OSB and rotted a portion of the wood - as Rusty said, stucco is NOT waterproof, and is sealed only with latex paint on the exterior. If water or excess moisture enters from behind, the bonding process fails and the stucco will crumble.

I'll put dollars to doughnuts that's what happened, and caulking it doesn't stop the separation permanantly, which is why it works for a little while and then begins to leak again: the stucco is still crumbling, leaving nothing for the caulk to adhere to. It just falls away over time.

The correct fix will be to remove a larger portion than what is affected; replace the OSB; seal properly; new foam and wire; and, finally, stucco and paint. Again agreeing with Rusty, we should inspect the window seating while we are at it and replace anything suspicious. We'll also want to make damn sure no mold exists and, if it does, replace those areas as well. Once mold is prevalent it is almost impossible to be rid of and inhibit growth, so better to replace.

But I'll know more with better pictures. Send me outside closeups and pics from inside, too. Annotate where the leak occurs if you can.

And don't worry about doing anything more than I asked as far as compensation. I won't accept it, so you might as well save your breath. Beer and McD's and gas money is plenty for a fellow ARFCOMMER. If you want to say thank you, help someone else out without charge when you can. We AZ people need to stick together.
Link Posted: 12/19/2005 2:12:10 PM EDT
Here ya go! This guy is spot on and is surely not screwing you! Have fun while you're working. Cheers!
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