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A plastic cylinder is fabricated with 7/8” of conventional stucco installed as seen above. Only the edges of the stucco are sealed to prevent water passing in the gap between the stucco and plastic. The Stucco is the same sand and cement blend that is used universally in the industry.
The stucco cylinder is filled with water. If stucco leaks, the water should flow out the bottom of the cylinder. Tests have shown that despite the uninterrupted presence of water, for periods in excess of 18 months, no water passes through the stucco. Stucco does not leak!
Homes in the coastal areas of Florida are built with concrete block stem walls, for two purposes.: One: protection from termite damage and rot, and two: structural support for exposure to hurricanes. A recurring problem in Florida was that many times water was able to penetrate the block through voids and gaps in the system, especially when driven by wind. A test was commissioned by Florida Concrete & Products Association and the NCMA Education and Research Foundation to determine what would happen if the concrete blocks were coated with stucco and how that would impact the penetration of water, especially when driven by strong winds. They expected an improvement, but were pleasantly surprised with the findings.
The purpose was to test for water penetration resistance of concrete masonry walls with varying thicknesses of stucco and various levels of workmanship of both the masonry and the stucco. This involved testing wall samples that were built 4 ft wide and 6 ft tall. The project was broken into two phases utilizing different wind pressures:
Phase I utilizing pressures representative of 62 and 110 mph winds
Phase II utilizing pressures representative of 155 and 180 mph winds
After 28 hours of testing, there was NO penetration of the block walls or dampness on the opposite surfaces of the walls. This was true even with the the block walls that were coated with only 1/8” of stucco.
So if stucco doesn’t leak, why do stucco buildings leak?
Roof Problems and Penetrations can be the cause
Windows Can Leak (even doors sometimes)
Problems caused by design or manufacturing defects in the windows
Penetrations Can be the Source
Penetrating the stucco including structural, plumbing and electrical
The “Gap” Around Windows & Penetrations
the gap may look small and innocuous, but if not sealed, the gap can allow water to flow in, or be driven in by wind and/or capillary action
Does Stucco Leak? What About Cracks In Stucco…… Do They Cause Leaks? Typical Cracking Seen In Virtually All Stucco Applications Do Not Allow Water To Pass. Significant Cracks (Those Large Enough To Allow The Edge Of A Nickel to Fit Inside) May Fully Penetrate The Stucco And Should Be Repaired To Prevent The Possibility Of Water Intrusion