Info on Stucco and Plastering-June, 2018-fifty-third issue
Sloppy stucco in New Mexico
Hi, we just built a home in Ruidoso, New Mexico, up in the mountains.
builder took an awful long time to build our home-almost a year. What
upsets us is that he told us our stucco job would go from 13000 in the
original budget, to 18 or 19000 due to price increases. Well, it increased
because he took so long to build the darn thing. Furthermore, he was trying
to get a crew from El Paso to work on our home, and it didn't work out.
Basically the same crew that was doing everything else on the house ended up
doing the stucco. It is awful. We are embarrassed to even have company over.
Sometimes other folks we have over to give us bids on other things like
landscaping, etc ask us who did our stucco, we tell them, and they just
shake their heads and say it's the worst job they've ever seen, and I'm not
exaggerating. Some of the crew never even worked on stucco before-there are
areas that are bare and the scratchcoat is very visible.
I am trying to get some ammunition, information, whatever I can, to get the
builder to fix this. He is unwilling to do anything at all. We are really
upset about the mess he left us with an area with a railroad tie retaining
wall, and all the scratchcoat and chicken wire is sticking out all over the
place. Is there a problem with this area not being finished? He was going to
leave it like that-he said this was permanent!! Worse yet, there is nothing
but tarpaper and chicken wire under a huge area about 5 by 8 feet that has
dirt just sitting next to it...
Please see the pictures attached. Do you have any suggestions at all?? We
really need the help.
What a horrible mess
The urgent task is to dig out where the dirt is above the level of the wood framing, down to the
concrete, or block or whatever.
Wood framing below the grade is a termite trap. I know this from experience.
Not off the subject, but people planting plants, adding more mulch year after year, etc.,
raise the level of the dirt above the level of the bottom of the wood framing. What usually results is
termites, carpenter ants or other insects eating the wood framing that supports the house. Even with no bugs,
rot can occur.
The dirt at the retaining wall should be dug out below the level of the wood framing immediately.
The framing can then be covered with tarpaper, rubber membrane or whatever. Yes, the bare stucco mesh should be mortared in.
Another bad source of water infiltration is the area below the window, but correcting this
is more complex and probably not quite as urgent.
It seems the building codes in your state don't allow this kind of work, as most of the codes in western states.
The state contractor license board should provide a great source of free legal action against these slops.
Here in Virginia, there are no codes governing stucco. There are codes governing the use of EIFS,
but they are rarely if ever enforced.
Sloppy work and inexperienced people doing stucco is an age old problem. These days there is
a general consensus that anybody that watches a youtube video can stucco a house. One huge source of nasty
work is EIFS contractors that believe they can do stucco.
I was really saddened yesterday when I went to the visitor's center at the Manassas battlefield, here
in Prince William County, Virginia. The stucco looked like the ocean and like a bunch of kids did it.
What was worse is there are vertical plastic expansion joints about every ten feet apart. Talk about
ugly. It is tragic that our national treasures are being desecrated. This is the low price, low bid
system for you.
I don't think I would let the people who built your house sleep until this work was corrected. Damage due to negligence, such
as rot, may be covered by their insurance.