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Old 10-04-2010, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Tampa
19 posts, read 46,444 times
Reputation: 20
Default Difference between Block/Stucco & Stucco Woodframe home?

Hi!
I am getting ready to purchase my first home hopefully soon.
What is the difference between Stucco/Woodframe and Block/Stucco home? I just saw this on two listings I was looking at on realtor.com. Any idea which is better and what the difference is?

When it says Stucco/Woodframe does that mean it is a Woodframe home with Stucco on the outside?

Thanks
Jamie R.
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Old 10-04-2010, 05:01 PM
 
3,724 posts, read 6,605,735 times
Reputation: 4759
It's just what you think. One is stucco over frame; the other is stucco over block. Not sure where you're located, but in Florida, frame requires extra maintenance because of the weather and termites.
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:32 PM
 
1,173 posts, read 4,285,152 times
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I'll second what TampaKaren said. It's exactly what it says. Which one is better depends a lot on if it was built properly or defectively.

For example, block under the stucco won't deteiorate like wood does if the stucco and weatherproofing is done poorly. Concrete block doesn't rot.

However, if you're in earthquake country, block under the stucco might not be a good idea. Wood framing will give and take with the shaking but masonry, especially unreinforced masonry, will crumble around you and on top of you.

One thing to remember about stucco is that it's porus. It allows water to get under it and it allows water to evaporate from beneath it. That's it's nature. It's not the primary part of the siding that keeps the water out. The primary protection for the house is the building wrap or felt beneath the stucco.

That's why the building wrap needs to be done well on a wood framed house. If there are voids or it's improperly installed, water will soak into the stucco, affect the unprotected or poorly protected wood framing, and you'll get all kinds of nasty problems.

One of the issues that are found way too often are defects in the wrap or felt on houses built during the housing boom, especially in the boom areas of the country. Builders used unqualified workers to side the house or they failed to provide proper oversight and failed to find and demand corrections of defective work. The problems got covered-up.

The consequences are hidden and may not show up for years. That's why it's important to look very very carefully at these wood-framed stucco houses. You don't want to end up trying to fix the rot, mold and moisture-attracted insect infiltrations found when the jobs were done defectively.

Something else to consider is the type of stucco being applied to the house. Traditional stucco is well over 1" thick. It's applied in a three step process that is labor and product intensive.

On the other hand, a newer process has been developed that builders and Realtors also refer to as stucco. It's called "One-Coat" stucco. It's really a two step process, but it results in a stucco layer that's only around 3/8" thick. It's commonly applied over a foamboard layer.

It's not as durable as traditional stucco and water intrusion becomes a bigger issue if the underlayment is done improperly. Just think how quickly water will be able to soak through a 3/8" stucco layer than a 1+" stucco layer. This type of stucco is more commonly found in newer construction where the builders could apply it faster and cheaper than tradional stucco.

Personally, I've had my fill of stucco siding. I don't like it anymore. Cracks form from poor installation and poor curing practices. When the ground settles or the foundations and/or soil were not prepared properly, more cracks form. Again, it's too common in houses built during the boom when the installers were rushed, ill-trained or unqualified and didn't come back to mist the stucco as it was curing.

When these cracks show, it allows an even easier way for water to enter beneath the stucco siding. Then, if there are further defects in the wrap or felt, the consequences grow.

I hope that helps a little.
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Old 10-05-2010, 06:23 AM
 
20,736 posts, read 32,507,164 times
Reputation: 9935
Default Amplifications / clarifications...

What Garth refers to as "new stucco" is more properly called EIS for "exterior insulation system". Whendone properly, with good materials and well trained installers, it can be an excellent why to achieve the look of traditional stucco with increased energy efficiency and reduced labor. When done improperly it can be a nightmare.

A good inspector will be able to find the worst flawed installations, as moisture meters and hints around window / door frames may revel early deterioration, but some problems are harder to spot.

Whether the framing is wood or concrete block the worst EIS installs can lead to moisture mold problems so severe teardown is a real possibility.


Get a really well qualified inspector!
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Old 10-05-2010, 12:38 PM
 
Location: Lead/Deadwood, SD
870 posts, read 1,263,641 times
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I just insulated the above grade exterior foundation walls of my older home with 2" foamboard and then stuccoed it with the acrylic sand mixture. I tested it on a smaller piece and gave it a good wack with a 2x4. Impressive. Minimal damage - traditional stucco I don't think would have fared so well. Downside, it does not breath well so you definitely don't want h20 trapped behind it.

Personally I think there would be less risk with a concrete block frame and stucco than with wood - the concrete isn't nearly as high on mold's food list as wood. Imagine both types of systems failing and then look at the time/extent of the damage that would result. I think the block would hold up better and the wood, well, given the right circumstances it could basically go away in a matter of a few years.

Construction varies from area to area depending on the environment, economy, and tradition - which is better? Most likely that question will be better answered by a local, and even then you will most likely get some varied opinions.
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Old 07-14-2012, 06:50 PM
 
Location: Phoenix AZ
2,900 posts, read 3,343,127 times
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In Phoenix, most new homes are stucco over wood frames. The stucco is applied over styrofoam, not wood sheathing & we have few problems with cracking or moisture intrusion. We have lots of termites, but treating the soil periodically keeps them out. I wouldn't want a block house here, the block walls we use instead of fencing here are invariably crawling with scorpions.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:12 PM
 
1,809 posts, read 1,202,770 times
Reputation: 1232
Default I live in an all block/stucco house

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamierenae View Post
Hi!
I am getting ready to purchase my first home hopefully soon.
What is the difference between Stucco/Woodframe and Block/Stucco home? I just saw this on two listings I was looking at on realtor.com. Any idea which is better and what the difference is?

When it says Stucco/Woodframe does that mean it is a Woodframe home with Stucco on the outside?

Thanks
Jamie R.
Jamie,

We now own a 1920 all terra cotta block and stucco house. It is not a wood frame house in any way whatsoever. (I grew up in a Victorian all wood house.)

There are these large terra cotta blocks that make the frame and exterior walls of the entire house. On top is the original stucco.

One of my neighbors builds houses. He has said so many times how the sill of these houses is fantastic. I don't know if that is so unusual: our Victorian 1890 house was very level all of the time and had no sill issues.

The thing about solid block is that there are still wood studs to some degree but you have to cope with these issues:

To put in our ductless air conditioning system we had to have them do very difficult drilling through the extremely hard terra cotta block walls. In a wood frame house, with stucco on it, you don't have such a problem. You can put electrical wiring through the walls for an outside use in a wood house: Not terraca cotta block!! But then with stucco, which I hate, you have to repair the damaged stucco and make sure it is well sealed, i.e. no water coming in.

Also, the terra cotta block house does not give you the option of blowing in or placing in insulation. There is this: from the inside out: Plaster walls (we do not have wall board but real plaster walls), less than an inch of space and then these large terra cotta blocks and then the stucco on top of the block

To insulate you have to literally wrap insulation around the outside and put some kind of "skin' on top of that, often a form of stucco.

So, it is NOT a good choice for easy insulating.

I hate stucco. It does not breathe like wood does.

Also, here is a GIANT issue: Go the very best masonry contractor you can find and pay him to look at any wood frame house that has stucco. Why? Many, many houses have lousy stucco jobs done on them. Then you have water damage!! You do not want that, trust me! In our block house, there is no water damage because we have all block and stucco.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:17 PM
 
1,809 posts, read 1,202,770 times
Reputation: 1232
Quote:
Originally Posted by chet everett View Post
What Garth refers to as "new stucco" is more properly called EIS for "exterior insulation system". Whendone properly, with good materials and well trained installers, it can be an excellent why to achieve the look of traditional stucco with increased energy efficiency and reduced labor. When done improperly it can be a nightmare.

A good inspector will be able to find the worst flawed installations, as moisture meters and hints around window / door frames may revel early deterioration, but some problems are harder to spot.

Whether the framing is wood or concrete block the worst EIS installs can lead to moisture mold problems so severe teardown is a real possibility.


Get a really well qualified inspector!
Great post.
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Old 07-19-2012, 07:29 PM
 
7,338 posts, read 3,191,960 times
Reputation: 2508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Martha Anne View Post
Great post.
Even easier....having helped a client with a remote sale of a perfectly done EIS home...don't buy an EIS home.

Note that the entire SW is stucco over frame. In a desert climate it is an ideal construction technique. And we really do know how to do stucco...which is mostly a matter of waiting the proper time periods. All stucco cracks...but it is not a problem. You patch when you paint.

Now stucco in Seattle? I wouldn't.

Much of Mexico solves the problem very well with the use of block, poured concrete and stucco. Built to last a very long time in a very harsh climate.
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Old 07-20-2012, 11:44 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles
2 posts, read 14,276 times
Reputation: 12
I am a construction manager, for my personal residence i would stay away from stucco at all costs!
I grew up on the east coast and i love brick homes.
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