Insight Into Stucco Problems

December 16, 2013

Greg By Greg O’Sullivan FAMINZ, MNZIBS, MNZIOB, Dip. Bus Studies (Dispute Resolution)BRANZ Accredited Adviser, Registered Building Surveyor, Building Consultancy and Dispute Resolution, AAMINZ Arbitration and Mediation Panel Member, LEADR Panel Member, President of New Zealand Institute of Building Surveyors

Common Problems

An area that is of great interest to ourselves in recent times has been the concerns with solid plaster stucco, particularly the research into sands used for plaster. One common variety of sand has been found to have excessive amounts of chlorides (usually from salt) in the sand, therefore, threatening the durability of the reinforcing mesh of the plaster stucco system. The other event that goes along with this failure in the plaster stucco is the use, commonly, in the industry of plated staple fixings instead of stainless steel fixings, or alternatively hot dipped galvanised fixings. This problem has yet to be acknowledged with Auckland’s housing stock. However, Prendos has found these problems already manifesting themselves in homes that have only been constructed for two to three years.A second common problem relates to poor flashing techniques around windows. It appears that a lot of contractors fail to appreciate, or understand, the need of proper flashing and forming drainage routes for water around windows and particularly, the junction between windows and the cladding. It appears that some rely on subcontractors to get it right, or alternatively use poor sealant techniques. Unfortunately, the result for some home owners has been the development in their dwellings of fungal decay and the resultant dampness adding to the dust mite population and thus adding to the problems for asthma and allergy sufferers.

Remedial Work

Prendos has been employed recently by one of Auckland’s largest body corporate groups to advise them on the correct and proper way of undertaking remedial or fix-it work procedures. The reason for our employ is due to the ‘cover up and squirt’ procedures that have accompanied many of the past attempts at effecting repairs. In many instances these have started to fail again and have left the original property owner facing two bills, one for the original repair, and another for the repair after the first repair has failed. Prendos’ philosophy is that the root or cause of the problem must be understood so that it can be treated, or fixed, not simply covered or bandaged over.With one house, Prendos found a plaster repair that had been undertaken using a high building acrylic with cloth reinforcement. The house now looks like it has had a bandage wrapped around it. In this case, the home owners have a system that it is unlikely to give them long term relief and look somewhat less attractive than the original construction. Therefore, there could be a potential downside with a loss of value.

Prendos always recommends that repairs must be carried out so that the cause and the resultant failings are fixed. Only this approach allows occupiers and owners to have confidence in the building structure.

To contact Greg, email [email protected]

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