water stain at sill plate, rim joist, and floor joist

per08December 1, 2009

I live in north california bay area. The house is 50 years old. Stucco siding. Recently I found there are water stains at sill plate, rim joist, and floor joist:

There are hairline cracks at the stucco. I am not sure if that's the root cause of the water leakage:

My questions are: 1) area they serious? 2) If I need to fix them (the sill plate, joist, and the stucco), what type of contractor should I hire?

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Sorry, here is the image:

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 3:17AM
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It's an indication that the flashing, more than likely the weep screed flashing, has failed as well as the underlayments in the area. A reputable stucco contractor in your area can make the fix. Being 50 years old, That would be what is referred to as a "hard coat" that we now call stucco, but is a cement based application, no stucco top coat. A plaster contractor in your area that has been in business for many years back when hard coats were used would be your best bet, but a decent stucco contractor that is competent and familiar with the old hard coat system would work as well.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:39AM
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How about the wood condition? Should I hire somebody to check it?

For the stucco cracks, can I just use caulking to fix it?

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 10:06PM
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How about the wood condition? Should I hire somebody to check it?

Check it yourself. Get a screwdriver or an awl and jab it into the wood. If the wood falls apart you have problems. More than likely you won't be able to get the screwdriver into the wood and then its no problem.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2009 at 11:34PM
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"For the stucco cracks, can I just use caulking to fix it"

No, it will only slow down the penetration from the cracks. The damaged underlayment/flashings need to be repaired in order to keep the area's framing dry. Stucco, or hard coat in your case, isn't waterproof. It's the underlayment/flashings/drainage plane that keep the wall/floor cavaties dry. It doesn't take physical water,(rain, sprinklers, leaks, etc.), for your framing to get wet. It can be from condensation/ moisture build-up behind the cementious coats. That's why it's important to have what's behind the coats in good working order to keep moisture or physical water out. These days, most underlayments for traditional stucco are double plyed. With single ply underlayments, the scratch coat attached to the undelayment can cause moisture build-up behind. The two ply application is geared for the second ply to catch that moisture and allow it to run down and out the weep screed,( drainage plane). Your best bet is to have it repaired by a reputable, experienced outfit. Another avenue would be to get estimates on an elastomeric or acrylic top coat, but in order for that to tie in right, it would be a whole house application. Someting to consider if you were thinking of re-coating anyhow. Elastomeric top coats remain flexible in temperature changes meaning virtually crack free finishes, and is way more water resistant than traditional stucco or hard coats.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 10:33AM
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I guess repairing the flashing needs to rip off all the old stucco first, right? Sounds like a huge repair.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 12:19AM
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That would be the right way to do it. Again, seek out someone competent for that project. It's not necessarily that huge a deal, especially with hard coating. You want someone who not only can make the repairs to the underlayments/flashings,(lath), but who can match up the texture cosmetically. Get more than one estimate and get referalls. Ask for references and ask to see current/past projects. Dont necessarily go for the lowest bid unless you feel confident that they are capable of making a decent repair and will stand behind their work. A good start would be to ask masonry suppliers in your area who has been around awhile and is reputable. Good luck!

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 10:13AM
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ditto what sierraeast is telling you.
this will only get worse as time goes on,
and cost more later.
best of luck!

    Bookmark   December 6, 2009 at 8:12PM
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