Waterproofing is a key component of every structure’s exterior. Without a solid water management plan, stucco siding can show serious signs of damage fast. Every building exterior should have some level of protection from moisture in order to keep the structure protected inside and out.
Installing waterproof stucco is possible, but it must be achieved with careful attention to details and a precise technique. Since the stucco installation process is already laborious, some homeowners may find it easier to opt for an alternative siding material that offers easier water management strategies.
Get ready to learn how to waterproof stucco and familiarize yourself with a variety of siding alternatives that can provide waterproofing faster and easier.
The Risks of Water Damage on Siding
Water damage is unsightly and dangerous, but what’s really frightening is that you don’t need to live in a floodplain to experience water damage to your home. Humid weather, heavy snowfalls, regular rainfall, excessive shade, and other environmental conditions can cause the perfect storm for moisture to cause harm.
Water damage appears slightly differently depending on the siding material. For wood and vinyl, it can appear as ugly stains, warped or sagging panels, and rotten beams. For stucco, water damage can appear as holes, flaky pieces, powdery blotches, and cracks. Even worse, significant damage can occur under the surface when water gets trapped behind the layers of stucco. This can lead to hidden rotting that goes unnoticed while weakening the structural components of the building.
Waterproofing stucco correctly is essential to avoid the stylistic and structural damage that built-up moisture can cause.
Is Stucco Waterproof?
Stucco does have some natural resistance to water because of its composition. It is made up of a mix of cement, sand, water, and lime, so stucco is naturally more water resistant than wood, which is considered absorbent by comparison.
However, it’s important to understand that stucco siding is not sufficiently waterproof by default. Differences in installation techniques, backing materials, waterproof stucco paint, and other elements can drastically alter how water resistant a stucco wall can be, and most builders do not take all of the precautions needed to make stucco siding entirely waterproof.
Best Way to Waterproof Stucco
There are a few different ways to make stucco siding more waterproof. The first method is to use a layering technique that relies on multiple applications of materials rather than a basic stucco exterior. The multi-layer approach starts with a weather resistant barrier as the base layer, followed by a plastic drainage matrix or rainscreen, a second weather resistant barrier, metal or fiberglass lath, and a minimum of three layers of stucco. This additional protection underneath the exterior stucco can help block moisture from seeping into the building and causing damage.
The drainage component is essential when it comes to waterproofing stucco. This element allows the moisture a clear path to escape so that it doesn’t become trapped. Condensation, leaks, and humidity can all sneak in even with seams fully sealed, so having a rainscreen that efficiently directs drainage is key.
Another way to enhance the waterproofing on stucco siding is to install metal flashing around all doors and windows to be confident that these access points have a watertight seal. Kick-out flashing should also be installed along the edge of the roof where it meets the stucco. When flashing is installed properly, it can help cut down on the amount of moisture that makes its way behind the outermost layer of siding.
Homeowners should always fix damaged stucco as soon as possible to keep water damage from spreading. In addition, waterproof stucco sealer and waterproof stucco paint can be used as additional reinforcements against moisture.
Alternative Siding Materials May Be Easier to Waterproof
Waterproof stucco siding can certainly be achieved, however it’s no easy task.The correct installation and techniques are critical to help the finished stucco siding have a reliable defense against wet weather, and the entire process takes time.
An alternative to excessive waterproofing is to choose a siding material that already has weather resistant qualities as part of its makeup. Vinyl, steel, and fiber cement are all popular choices that offer better solutions for waterproof siding. Again, proper installation is key with any siding.
Of these, fiber cement is perhaps the most superior choice when it comes to weather resistance. Fiber cement is a durable, long-lasting material that is sold in all sorts of styles, including stucco panels, shake, shingles, lap, and other popular designs. It is much easier to install than traditional stucco, and it can provide a stronger defense against the elements — including moisture.
Ready to explore the possibilities? Contact Allura today to see the wide range of fiber cement siding available.