West Vancouver Home Inspection, Stucco Cautions

A West Vancouver home inspection identified pealing and blistering of the stucco exterior finish. Further evaluation by a specialist was recommended as building envelope failure was suspect.

Our recent torrential rains have put many suspect building envelopes under stress. Here’s a post inspired by a recent West Vancouver home inspection.

Many homes on the North Shore in both North and West Vancouver have used stucco as the exterior siding and it is a great material, tough and long lasting. However in the 1980s and 1990s an architectural style was used that had no roof overhang. As a result there was considerably more exposure of the stucco walls to rains and moisture penetration. Two significant sources of water penetration were the metal coping joints (horizontal flashing) along the roof perimeter and missing or inadequate drip flashing above doors and windows.

When stucco is stressed by moisture damage from behind it can discolour and or bubble out. Whenever this condition is discovered by a home inspection, it is reported as a serious building envelope condition that requires further evaluation. Further evaluation in this case means removing the suspect stucco and in most case areas well beyond the damage and examining the condition of the wall behind for the effects of water damage (rot, mold, infestation).

Repairs require a skilled contractor. In some cases, the damage may be severe enough to justify an engineer’s report and design fix.