Asked by Lola, Boulder County, CO Thu Apr 2, 2009

We are planning to buy a home, but during the inspection I was told the Dryvit (stucco) was applied wrong. I know this has been a major issue in some states, but don't know for Colorado since it is so dry here. Our biggest concern is that if were the owners and tried to sell, other buyers might have the same concerns we do.

Other than that the house is in great condition- just very nervous that the dryvit being applied wrong could be a big future problem.

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David, , Saratoga, CA
Sun Mar 14, 2010
I installed Dryvit on a new house build the same way Energy and Fc did as they describe below. It was beautiful. But I did run into a number of very long shrinkage cracks over a quarter of the outside wall area. Spme of the walls were not affected at all. Dryvit is advertised as being much less susceptible to this type of cracking than the third layer of hard coat stucco because it is a synthetic. Obviously, this is not accurate. Or maybe we didn't wait long enough to allow the prior layer of stucco to dry, I don't know. I thought we followed the directions. Dryvit company was no help. They said my subcontractor was not one of their qualified installers so they would not help.

The cracks can be very long but are hairline except on at the front entrance. The cracks are clearly shrinkage cracks because they look map like. I would like to try FC's approach to covering these types of Dryvit cracks but I am concerned the texture will be different and apparent. So I am not sure what to do.

I know that stucco experiences the same type of cracking and that is why many people paint the stucco. But the Dryvit is beautiful without painting. Too bad about the cracking.

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Energy, , Boulder, CO
Tue Jun 2, 2009
We installed Dryvit using the method outlined by FC -- replacing cedar siding that lasted 20 years. We will never live in a wood sided house again. Although insulation values are nill with Dryvit over a scratch coat (without added foam board -- that I would run from) air infiltration in our case was wiped out (so much so that we may install an air exchanger).

With your question posed as it is, was dryvit installed over the cement foundation of the home? We carried dryvit very close to the ground in a couple of places on our garage. -- where we wanted cleaner stucco lines. In these cases, mesh was nailed into the cement foundation of that structure. Stucco over cement is no problem in my view.

On the other hand, one stucco contractor (who regularly works on new multimillion dollar homes) said that he could carry foam into the ground around our house to deal with the fact that our exterior walls overhang our foundation. (A timberframe house with exterior panels.) The contractor we hired wrapped the underside of these overhanging and appplied all stucco prep and finish material to the underside of these overhangs.

If Dryvit meets the ground, are there channels behind it for rodents, etc.? I would consider when the project was done and whether you are prepared to fix possible problems. (At this time, a general statement that Dryvit was not applied correctly means little.) I would ask a few more questions and find out why the Dryvit meets the ground level.
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Fc, , Johnstown, CO
Tue Apr 21, 2009
I live east of you near Johnstown CO. I built a new home three years ago and used DryVit with scratch coat (cement) and not the insulating foam boards (EIFS). Based on my experiences:

A. When I selected the stucco contractor, I asked each of them whether to use scratch coat or foam if it was their home. In every case, they each said "scratch coat" with the understanding that it would have little hairline cracks after a year or so. (The fact is that the house will shrink/settle, and since concrete and DryVit are rigid materials they will only flex to a certain degree and then will crack as the house expands and contracts with temperature). Contractors like stucco on insulating foam because it requires significantly less labor and they can bid a lower price.

B. The reason I did not go with the foam boards with DryVit over it is that (a) I have a friend who sells high end $2.5+ milion homes, who said the corporate relo services will not approve a house with insulating foam (EIFS), and (b) a second friend with a $1.5 million dollar home had a buyer who couldn't get mortgage approval because of the stucco/insulating foam finish (another corporate relo)--so they pulled all of the stucco/foam and refinished using scratch coat and the sale was approved--$30,000 to remove and refinish).

The issue with EIFS is the installation process--the DryVit is only a topical coating. Most contractors just slap up the foam and stucco it. The problem is that the wall needs to drain any moisture captured between the insulating foam board and the interior wall--remembering that most houses are insulated with fibreglass batts that have a waterproof membrane facing the interior. This was a significant issue in the deep south (high humidity) that caused a lot of problems and the lawsuits with EIFS and DryVit. I don't know if it is less of an issue in CO due to our much lower humidity year round.

(This is similar to the issue Marvin windows had a few years back, when research showed the windows were not installed or sealed properly. It's easier to sue a big company than a contractor. BTW, I have Marvin Integrity windows, also.)

They installed the stucco and DryVit as follows:

A. Felt paper over the plywood siding, installed in a layered (cascade) fashion (overlapping from bottom-up)
B. Hardware mesh over the felt paper
C. Walls cemented
D. Foam was used to trim the windows and other decorative accents
E. Mesh installed over the decorative foam accents
F. DryVit installed

Three years later:

A. No leaks that we are aware of, or any other issues with the stucco. Small hairline cracks on smaller walls, with more hairline cracks (per 5' X 5' square) on the north wall measuring about 30' X 25'. (this wall get virtually all of the wind/snow/rain). It only has two windows. Most of the other walls have windows/doors, so they appear to be stiffer than the one large wall. No water issues anywhere--as we have an unfinished basement where we would be likely to see any problems.

B. Only one significant crack about 1/16" wide and two feet long on the corner of one window. I fixed this myself by using some of the leftover DryVit from the initial installation using a very stiff scrubbing brush to paint the DryVit on the crack. Did the same with some of the other hairline cracks near the entry areas--more for cosmetic reasons as you could not see them unless you stood within 2 feet of the wall.

C. Other than that the house is very tight, very quiet, and we seldom hear the wind--I contibute this to the high quality windows/doors, the 2X6 construction and the stucco finish. We do not have any drafts, nor air infiltration that is noticeable.

I clean the stucco of cobwebs, bugs and and dirt with a leaf blower--first blowing, and then reverse to vacuum for tougher spots. I don't spray the house with water (just a bad idea from my perspective). I spot wash any bird droppings or other crud, with a broom and bucket of ammonia and water--at the same time I clean the windows..

Would I use DryVit again. Yes. I think it's a good product.
0 votes
Stu Galvis, Agent, Denver, CO
Fri Apr 3, 2009
Not with the DRYVIT - small hairline cracks over time, but nothing structural and nothing that will risk moisture intrusion. The EIFS, on the other hand, is a terrible failure of an exterior cladding that woodpeckers love and can create serious problems.

If you have any further questions or want any more discussion, email me through my website.


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Brian Burke, Agent, Highlands Ranch, CO
Fri Apr 3, 2009
Can you move the soil back and still Keep the Grade so the Water flows away from the home? Also a Roofer can install Kick flashing to divert the Water into the gutters and away from the home. If there is not evidence of Moisture or Mold it should these easy fixes should prevent and issues.
How old is the home???
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Lola, Home Buyer, Boulder County, CO
Thu Apr 2, 2009
In response to the questions- yes it is touching the soil, it goes below the soil, and the gutters do not have kick backs installed. The dryvit appears to be fine, but I know outside appearance isn't an indication of if there is a problem or not. The seller offered us a small credit ($2000) to offset repairs- We are otherwise getting a good purchase price on the house- just concerned about the future liability. The seller will not pay for testing or full repairs.

Thanks for all the feedback
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Brian Burke, Agent, Highlands Ranch, CO
Thu Apr 2, 2009
What do you mean by "wrong" It it touching soil or landscaping? No control Joints? No Tar paper or wire Mesh?? Is is cracking or falling Off? Is there evidence of Moisture? Can it Be fixed by Seller before you buy?
You are correct that if you are Concerned a future Buyer may be as well.
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Neil Kearney, Agent, Boulder, CO
Thu Apr 2, 2009
Hi Lola,
You are right that the dry climate here in Boulder helps with issues like dry-rot and mold, but it doesn't make them any less of an issue. Once moisture gets behind a stucco installation due to poor installation it can cause problems. Unfortunately, it is all too common to find faulty installations especially around windows and trim work. Many of these areas go unaffected because sustained, sideways rain is rare here therefore a mid window would not have much water forcing its way into cracks cracks. It is especially troublesome if an incorrect joint were in an area of frequent moisture, like underneath a gutter etc.

The point is that it can be a real issue and now is the time to take care of it rather than hope the next buyer won't make an issue of it. Worst case scenario it becomes a real problem and the repairs will be much more than $20,000 if you need to start repairing a failed installation.

I have run up against this many times and there are some good testing companies out there, who will perform moisture tests at many points. This way you can see if there is an existing problem or if you are still in the prevention phase.

Neil Kearney
Kearney Realty Co./Metro Brokers
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Lola, Home Buyer, Boulder County, CO
Thu Apr 2, 2009
We did have an inspection - he said it was a primary concern, then my realtor had a stucco person go to the house who said it was about $2000 to fix. I had my builder look at it, he said it should all be taken off and redone properly-- I beginning to think everyone I speak to has a different opinion
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Lori Jeltema, Agent, Suffolk, VA
Thu Apr 2, 2009
Lola, if it concerns you now, odds are that it will concern a future buyer. Did you have a separate inspection by a person certified to inspect the dryvit?
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