What is the average life expectancy of stucco?
Friday, July 27, 2018
Stucco over concrete block has an estimated lifespan of 60 to 80 years or more, and stucco over a backer board or metal lath on a wood frame wall should last 50 to 60 years. But both estimates are based on doing three maintenance projects regularly: Repaint and caulk every 7 to 10 years. Repair and touchup caulk around doors and windows midway between repainting. Walk along the walls and check for hairline cracks at least once a year, then use a masonry caulk to repair.
“And when you do your caulking, I recommend paying $5 to $7 a tube,” says Jeff Moser, of Southern Style Plastering & Stucco, in Alachua, Florida. “Good caulk is important."
So, how do you know when your stucco is at the end of its lifespan? “Look for areas of de-lamination, blistering, and also stain streaks down the surface—indicating a problem behind it,” according to Jeff. You have probably already seen a simulation of failing stucco at your favorite Italian restaurant as part of the decor: a ragged patch of missing wall surface with brick showing through and a few cracks around it. Call it Old World Charm when Chianti bottles are hanging in front of it, but on your own house that’s a problem. If you see defects developing in your wall surface, an experienced stucco contractor can evaluate them for you to determine whether repairs to the area or total replacement is necessary.
To understand the basis, potential use, and limitations of lifespan ratings, see our blog posts Why is my stucco cracking? and ”How accurate are the average life expectancy ratings of home components? Are they actually useful?”
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To learn more about exterior walls and structures, see these other blog posts:
How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactued and modular homes
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