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Old 09-23-2013, 09:16 AM
 
3 posts, read 12,133 times
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We recently looked at the homes at Cliffs at Cibolo, by McMillin. They are mostly stucco on the 1st floor + front of the house and fiber-cement sidings on the sides+back of 2nd floor. The sale agent mentioned that is it not synthetic stucco.

Based on the research looks like stucco homes are high maintenance with possibility of water damage and mold.

Any advice or recommendations on stucco homes es-specially by McMillin?
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Old 09-23-2013, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Texas
5,621 posts, read 13,060,025 times
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Stucco is placed on homes in San Antonio by builders that have zero clue about building here. The first thing you need to understand is that San Antonio and the surrounding area has a high PI soil. That means that the soil moves a lot- like the blob. It swells and contracts with rain/drought as much as 16 vertical inches in some areas. To compensate for the soils movement, builders use post tension foundations. These types of foundations will flex with the soils movement and not break. Then they come along and want to apply stucco, which is like a crisp cracker, and it expect it not to break or crack. It ain't happening. I can assure you'll be taking that stucco off and replacing in the first 10 years of ownership.
Now to the maintenance. Depends on how the builder applied the drain plane. If he's depending on a felt substrate, any latex paint is all that's required. If he used a masonry slurry with a water proofing, it must be reapplied about every 10 years. If he used an elastomeric paint, it's subject to abrasion and must be recoated every 10 years. Elastomeric coatings are EXPENSIVE for the home owner. A 5 gallon can will cover about 200 sq ft and cost close to 100 bucks.
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:11 PM
 
Location: the 50s and the 60s
834 posts, read 1,800,857 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrapperL View Post
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Stucco is placed on homes in San Antonio by builders that have zero clue about building here.

********

I can assure you'll be taking that stucco off and replacing in the first 10 years of ownership.

********
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.
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before my Dad died 22 years ago, he and I stuccoed my home.

it's fine to this day.

butt, I certainly have no way to know about the work at Cliffs at Cibolo.
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Texas
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Breakfast bet Mud, yer house isn't on a post tension slab. Makes all the difference in the world when the foundation is designed to flex rather than an old all steel or pier and beam.
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Old 09-24-2013, 12:24 PM
 
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Thanks for the info, TrapperL. Very helpful.

The sale agent mentioned that it is a 4 coat system with elastomeric paint. So does that mean, from maintenance point of view, that we need to repair occasional cracks and apply a fresh elastomeric paint every 10 years? or it means much more maintenance+cost?

What do you mean by replacing the stucco? Do you mean re-apply stucco?

Also, is there a way we (by hiring a professional) could remove stucco and put real bricks?

I see lot of builders(monticello, sitterle, Mcmillin) near TPC parkway are offering stucco homes, any homeowners here from there communities? Are you facing any problems on your stucco homes?

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 09-24-2013, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Texas
5,621 posts, read 13,060,025 times
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I would avoid these homes like they have a major virus waiting for you inside. The elastomeric coating MUST remain monolithic. That means if anything, a tree branch, a lawn mower handle, hail, anything scratches the SOFT coating, you now have a wall leak. Don't fix it immediately you'll have non warrantable structural damage. The coating is the drain plane or water proofing. Yes, you WILL be recoating every 10 years. It's not the fact of every ten years as most homes are repainted about every 10 years anyway. The issue is the cost. A gallon of latex exterior paint on a roller application will cover about 400 square feet PER GALLON. Elastomeric coatings are sold by the 5 GALLON container and only covers 200 square feet PER 5 GALLON CAN. A quality latex paint is about $35.00 a gallon, a 5 gallon can of elastomeric paint is right at $100.00. So it will cost you, round numbers, $200.00 in materials for the same area covered as one gallon of latex paint. Then comes the labor. Most painters hate doing elastomeric paint jobs. The builders coerce their painters to do it with other work. You as a home own don't have that leverage. Expect labor to be at least double.

FWIW, I represented a builder that installed a similar stucco finish on their houses earlier this year. They had tons of warranty claims and wanted to know how to limit them. They are spending just under 3 million to remove and replace their stucco/elastomeric homes siding with a Hardiplank that looks like stucco. From the street I doubt anybody will notice the difference but the home owners will notice a big difference when they go to repaint. And the home owners no longer have to worry about rain water coming thru the coating where they can't see it damaged.
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Old 09-25-2013, 09:01 AM
 
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Thank you, TrapperL for providing such an great insight.

No more looking at the stucco homes....
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Old 09-25-2013, 10:41 AM
 
5,632 posts, read 6,451,437 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by awatts View Post
Thank you, TrapperL for providing such an great insight.

No more looking at the stucco homes....
I know nothing about the durability of stucco, but I can say this: I hate the look of stucco, it is ugly.
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Old 09-27-2013, 10:50 AM
 
1 posts, read 3,867 times
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Awatts,

I wanted to correct some misinformation posted by another user.

Post Tension Slabs

The poster implied that post tension slabs are designed to flex. The truth is actually the opposite. A post tension foundation puts the concrete under compression which makes the foundation stiffer. The strength of concrete as a building material is how well it handles compressive forces. When you combine concrete, steel and post tension in a foundation you are taking full advantage of the materials used to build your foundation. Post tension slabs were originally used in areas of expansive soils because of their additional strength. Since post tension slabs have come down in cost they are used even in areas where they are not necessarily needed because of their superior performance. If you would like to read more about it here are some good links.
Post-Tensioned Slabs - Structure, Construction, Post-Tensioning, Slab, Concrete, High-Strength Concrete, Concrete Strength, Concrete Construction, Prestressed Cement, Hardeners And Densifiers - Concrete Construction
Post-Tensioning Institute - post-tensioning research, code, development and marketing

Plasticity Index (PI)

It is true that some areas of San Antonio have a PI. Those areas are found south and east of the Balcones fault line. Typically on the North and west of the Balcones fault line (Stone Oak, Cibolo Canyons, Rogers Ranch, Timberwood Park Etc.) you would be building a house on rock and PI will not be an issue. Additionally, builders will typically over engineer their foundations for whatever the PI ratings of the soil are. The home builder, foundation engineer and the vendor that builds your foundation don't want you to have warranty issues. If you are worried about the PI you should ask your sales person about it. It doesn't sound like it will be an issue for where you are looking for a home.

Stucco

Stucco has been around for thousands of years. Stucco applied using building best practices is a very nice building material. Architectural features and a beautiful elevations are often the reasons homebuilders and buyers select it as a material for their homes. Stucco is applied in layers over a reinforcing lattice that is tied to the structure of the house. The additional layers help resist cracking and the lattice in combination with the cement make it a very strong, durable and fire resistant building material. My recommendation would be to walk some neighborhoods and look around before you just take someone's advice. I have lived in a home that is 50% stucco for many years without any maintenance issues and love the way it looks.

Good luck in your search for a new home.

Last edited by 93bear; 09-27-2013 at 10:52 AM.. Reason: html tags in post
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Old 09-27-2013, 02:41 PM
 
Location: Boerne, Texas
310 posts, read 465,368 times
Reputation: 240
Very interesting topic and something I will need to research further. I can't think of a single custom home in the Boerne area (at least around me) that has been built in the last 5-10 years that doesn't incorporate stucco in some manner. In some cases, these are multi-million dollar homes. I have stone and stucco on my house, and I haven't experienced any issues with cracking, water infiltration or otherwise.
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