The authors have investigated many problematic stucco facades around the United States and have documented a number of disturbing trends in the design and installation of stucco that have compromised its reliability. These trends have led to severe system failure, including stucco cracking, leakage to the building interior, deterioration of structural components, and mold growth on building materials within the wall cavity.
This paper examines the current design basis for stucco-clad walls, which for the most part is established by accepted standards of practice within the industry, with only minimum and, in many cases, inadequate standards set by the governing building codes.
Based upon our review of codes and industry literature, and the lessons learned from case histories, we present recommendations for improving design and installation details for conventional stucco.
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