Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Stucco Story

After 13 years of living in our home, we've weathered many storms. We've had a few leaky windows and a very leaky fireplace which was looked at by our builder, a roofer and a building inspector. 13 years ago our builder sealed the stucco and caulked the windows saying the problem was fixed. A few years later, the leaks were back. We hired a roofer to seal the windows and make several thousand dollars of repairs to our roof near the fireplace. This took care of our leaks...until present day.

In 2012, we thought it was time to have the stucco sealed again and hired a highly recommended company to do the work. Since the company guarantees their work, they performed an inspection prior to starting any work. We also asked them to take a look at a few leaky windows.

Now, mind you - "leaky" means a few water drops on the sill after a heavy rainstorm that I noticed while housecleaning. We did have a musty smell in a front closet and in our basement that was mostly taken care of by a dehumidifier.

With shutters removed.

The company we contracted with said they would not do any further work until we hired an inspector to check things out to be sure there wasn't a bigger, hidden problem. We hired one...then two inspectors and guess what...after looking at our house, there was definitely a bigger problem.

Turns out, our windows were not installed properly and coupled with a shoddy stucco application - the water during rain or snow, was getting trapped behind our stucco - EATING AWAY at the exterior of our home. The original company we hired to seal the stucco stepped out due to inexperience and after MANY inquiries, we found a reputable firm. The repairs will cost us...NOT the insurance company or our original builder, BUT our family, we are buying our house all over again!

Caveat Emptor - Let the Buyer Beware!

We asked around, interviewed companies and found a great one that is making all of the repairs.

And since we are paying to fix everything anyway, we are choosing the colors we want instead of what was originally chosen by our builder.

A word to the wise...this whole stucco issue is running rampant ALL OVER THE COUNTRY! The problems began during the housing boom and even continue to this day. New homes were in such demand that contractors hired subs who may or may not have been properly trained in window or stucco installation. Fast forward to today - when the warranty has run out. Now the problems can really be seen - and felt! Our house is freezing and I pray all of this work brings warmer days ahead.

 If you have some of the same issues...water spots on window sills, musky odor, leaks at windows, fireplace or basement. or black, mustard, red or a variety of other colors growing on or around your windows and on your stucco - be sure to seek out a reputable inspector first and then hire a contractor. And don't fall for the "full service" firms who say they inspect and make repairs...they are looking out for number one, and you are at least 4 or 5.

We have talked with homeowners who made the wrong choice and are now fixing their homes for a second time!

If we all stick together and help each other out...just think how wonderful the world could really be! Have a great weekend!

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