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Traditional stucco claddings

Traditional Stucco Claddings and Water Management

ProCoat - January 21, 2020

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Stucco buildings have been around for centuries. Many scientists believe that even the pyramids of Egypt were coated in a white stucco substance made from volcanic ash in the beginning. Though some material has endured over 1000 years, attractive and durable stucco gained substantial prominence in Europe and North America with the development of Portland cement as a binding ingredient in 1843. After that time, stucco coatings gained significant popularity and became a cladding of choice during the first part of the twentieth century.

In addition to stucco’s timeless, attractive appearance, the cladding offers excellent durability with very limited upkeep. Builders of correctly applied stucco surfaces employ both drainage and storage strategies to eliminate the accumulation of moisture in buildings. Minimizing moisture absorption while providing adequate storage beneath to drain or dry is the key to a long-lasting cladding.

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How Does Stucco Keep the Building from Experiencing Moisture Problems? 

In some climates, where moisture levels are minimal and low humidity is the norm, builders do not worry much about moisture accumulation. However, in many parts of the country, precipitation levels can be high, particularly during certain seasons, and special precautions are necessary to prevent moisture damage within any construction.

For masonry walls, a Portland cement-based stucco incorporates vapor permeable paints to resist penetration of rainwater and allow the moisture to dry externally. When water does penetrate the surface, the moisture that enters will reach the interior masonry surfaces and be stored there until it eventually dries.

With wood-framed or steel stud walls sheathed in gypsum or plywood boards, the stucco exterior surface can be separated from the sheathing with a gap or cavity. To accomplish this, building paper and metal lath is placed over the gypsum or plywood subsurface before the stucco is applied. In a short time, the building papers absorb moisture, crinkle, and shrink, thereby creating a perfect drainage gap between the stucco exterior and the interior surface. As a result, moisture that does penetrate the stucco surface reaches the space and eventually drains out of the wall through weep screeds or flashing system. Adequately installed weep screeds also prevent moisture from wicking up into the outside walls while providing continuous drainage.

Contact ProCoat Systems in Denver, Salt Lake City or Ft. Collins

ProCoat Systems specialists are experts in the installation, design, and management of all types of claddings. To understand more about the elimination of moisture problems in stucco and other claddings, contact ProCoat for more information.

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