Paint failure at base of stucco walls

Cause

Cladding covered by soil/foliage

Repair

  • lower the soil level so it is clear of the cladding and cut back foliage – the bottom of the cladding must be able to dry completely. Replace large plants that will regrow to repeat the problem

  • check that the failure is limited to the paint and there is no rot in timber behind the stucco. Pushing against timber with a screwdriver is an easy test for rot – if the screwdriver easily pushes into the wood, then there is rot. If there is timber damage, engage a registered building surveyor to report on the extent of the damage and the repair options

  • assuming the problem applies just to the paint, remove all loose paint, clean the stucco surface and allow to dry thoroughly

  • paint with a minimum two coats of good quality acrylic paint

Cause

High sub-floor moisture levels behind the cladding

Repair

  • Engage a registered building surveyor to identify the source and location of the moisture and deal with that first. Owners can:

  • identify and fix leaky pipes. You can fix a broken downpipe that is discharging rainwater under the house yourself, but if the leak is in a waste pipe or drain, under law that must be fixed by a licensed or certifying plumber.

  • if surface water is getting under the house, lower the ground levels around the outside of the building and slope the ground away from the house. Install channels or sub-surface drains and discharge into a stormwater drain or soak pit

  • remove anything that is stored under the house and blocking free movement of air

  • lay polythene sheeting at least 0.25 mm thick to cover the ground under the house. Ensure that the ground is shaped so no water accumulates on top of the polythene. Polythene sheets should be lapped 75 mm, and tightly butted up to foundation walls and piles. Weigh down the sheets with bricks or concrete

  • remove anything outside the house perimeter such as raised garden beds or dense planting that is blocking subfloor ventilation

  • remove paint or stucco that may be restricting air flow through the vents

  • once the source of the moisture has been identified and repairs completed, remove all loose paint, clean the stucco surface and allow to dry thoroughly

  • paint with a minimum two coats of good quality acrylic paint

Cause

Bottom of cladding too close to waterproof deck surface/apron flashing and absorbing moisture

Repair

  • there is no easy repair to this. Engaging a registered building surveyor to report on the building and advise on options is strongly recommended. The applies especially to houses built from the mid 1990s to the mid-late 2000s.