Failure to take a penetrating look at your next stucco home can lead to buyer’s remorse, extensive home repair, and unexpected cost and frustration. Consider these tips before heading out to your next open house or viewing, to better understand how you can protect yourself from making an unfortunate uninformed decision. Let’s look specifically at what you need to keep in mind when considering a home finished with stucco.
Check the bones
There are two varieties of home, wood framed and masonry framed. Like anything else, there are plusses and minuses to each. In the phoenix area, where severe earthquakes are not a concern, block framed homes may be preferable to wood (wood has more give during a tremor). Block is less susceptible to water damage, mold, mildew, and insects.
One downside of a block home is that it becomes a bit more difficult to perform post-build improvements, especially when trying to run wiring or hidden duct work. Ultimately though, you’ll end up pleased with a block home due to its stability, insulating capacity, and low maintenance.
Check the skin
While it all looks the same on the outside, there are two primary systems builders use when applying stucco to a home. The first, traditional stucco, involves a labor intensive process wherein the stucco is applied in three steps. The resulting coating is roughly 1 inch thick. It is weather resistant, impact resistant, and yet breathes well. This type of application lasts years with very few expected difficulties, provided that base weatherproofing was done properly.
The other variety of stucco, EIS (External Insulation System) Stucco, is more aesthetic as a surface finish. This is applied in a simpler 2-step process, and the resulting layer is typically 3/8-inch in thickness. It is inherently less weather resistant, less durable, and often prone to cracking and breakage. When done by an expert, EIS stucco can yield wonderful long-term results, however the sad truth is that it is most often installed by unscrupulous contractors using substandard labor. Understand which variety the home has, and rely on a professional to assess the quality of craftsmanship.
Get it tested
The best way to know what you’re getting into is to have invasive testing performed on the home prior to making any final decisions. Water seepage can lead to rot, mold, and mildew. These can pose structural concerns, and may create unsafe living conditions for the residents of an infested home. Insect damage is another main concern when dealing with a wood-framed home. A professional invasive testing session is the only definite way to know what’s going on beneath the skin of your home. While this process does entail drilling holes in the exterior and interior walls of your home, these holes can easily be plugged and repaired leaving them entirely unnoticeable by the time the contractor leaves.
Like any serious procedure, turn to a qualified, licensed, experienced contractor to provide you with a professional assessment of the condition of the stucco home. A moment’s prudence now can save a major hassle down the road. Your health and peace of mind are well worth it.
The Phoenix and Gilbert areas have many beautiful homes for sale. If you would like to have an honest evaluation of the property you’re considering, including the functionality of important appliances, call me at PrimeSpec at 480-570-5615. We’ll schedule an appointment for a full home inspection that will aid in helping you discover potential risks when purchasing a home.