Bulge in stucco

Buldge in stucco is observed just above the bottom plate the entire lenth of the two exterior walls. Shotty framing? A horizontal crack is also observed above and below the buldge…see photos. The stucco is also very poor quality, basically disintigrates between my fingers, blows off wall in high winds, “stucco pellets” found all over the deck after wind storms…

You have stucco in Manitoba! There’s 90% of the problem.

Very funny…are you referring to our climate?


sounds like it froze before it dried, and might have been painted before it was cured.

Settling of framing.
In multi-story buildings, at each floor structure you have a conjunction of framing members…studs from the floor below meeting top plate, plywood/OSB sub-floor, and a bottom plate meeting studs from the floor above. When they’re framed, there is a small gap between each of these framing members. That’s 4 gaps. As the framing members dry to an in-service condition, they each shrink a little. If they each shrink 1/16 inch, that’s a total of 1/4-inch in about 16 inches. Stucco doesn’t shrink at that rate.

So you have two different material systems that are attached firmly to each other with nails or staples that are moving (or not moving) at different rates and that’s going to cause problems. When you look at the exterior of a multi-story stucco structure, always look at where you estimate the floor structure to be for this problem.

I would say “Yes”.

Stucco was developed and widely used in hot climates. From Wiki:

"In some parts of the United States](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States) (*California](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California), Arizona](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona), New Mexico](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Mexico) and *Florida](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida)), stucco is the predominant exterior for both residential and commercial construction."

First I would determine if the system is “Hardcoat, Traditional Wire Lath”,or is it EIFS or DEFS. The bulge could be caused by more than one action depending on the system. i.e. If it’s EIFS or DEFS, was it meshed across the board, if DEFS was it meshed at the seams How old is the system and when did the bulge appear. It takes more than a surface view to determine the cause, suggestion; “A bulge was noted in the surface of the Stucco system at (where?), unable to determine the cause during a home inspection, suggest a Stucco Moisture-Scan be performed by a qualified Stucco Inspector.”

Mr.Kelly is making good sense here.
#1 your hypothesis on the system.
#2 your hypothesis on the framing.
I see a gutter near by. I would be try to draw a conclusion from the 2 sides, interior and exterior…
Framing and exterior envelope.
A small crack in a hardcoat system would allow moisture in behind the framing.
Did you see evidence of moisture staining on the plaster inside the unit?
If not other conclusions can be drawn.
Good luck.
Not enough to go on.

Nice try, but the stucco was installed in the middle of summer when it was blazing hot. Temperature was around 32C.

98% of all stucco here is hardcoat, and this one is hardcoat. No water penetration or evidence of moisture to interior of home. I believe it is the framing…

Downspout is not leaking. Bulge runs entire length of both walls. No evidence of moisture into interior of home.

Any more photos Mr.Grabowski?
Just a hypothesis.
Vertical load is causing the fasteners to fail and the plywood is coming away from the wall studding. There would have to be several factors at work.
#1: the ply wood laid horizontally. No staggering heights…
#2: fastener’s breaking.
In the first photo it looks like that section of wall is also beginning to budge along a straight line. or is it my and or the photo?
Did you notice and truss uplift? Any door or window frames out of square on the side of the home?
Where the eve square, saw-fitting pulled away or compressed?
Any way to get a bore-scope in a whole?
Any more photos?

Did you see the same problem all the way around the building? Does it rain there during the summer?

Didn’t see the expansion / control joint at the floor line.

Not important why as much as refer to a competent stucco contractor for repair.

Post #11 Kenton.
You seen this before?

Yes. It doesn’t answer my question.
The issue is not moisture in the home now or recently, it’s how much moisture the studs absorbed while they were exposed to weather… and then how much they shrank when they dried out.
I did a building with a similar problem, spent some time hunting down the answer and it was framing compression. That’s why it only happens at the floors.

I guess rain doesn’t really matter. When I was a carpenter, we would sometimes get studs delivered that were so wet they splashed when you drove a nail. Studs are going to shrink, and so are top and bottom plates and rim joist. As Brian mentions, the weight of the building contributes and problems from compression are worse if they don’t load the roof at least a few days before they install the stucco.

Framing compression from weight of upper stories and wood shrinkage from construction moisture can both work at the floor framing levels.

A lot of vinyl siding is used in this temperate and sometimes quite damp climate. Have seen this phenomenom many times and sometiomes to the point that the “hook” on the vinyl siding now does not hold the bottom of the piece in place and it has to be face nailed.

You have mentioned a great hypothesis is Brian.
Would you have any phots for HI’s to download for referencing? :):):slight_smile:
I know your input can be amazing on the pis MB.

OK Kenton, lets take that theory and run a few questions by.
#1: can 2 sides of the building be affected by this deficiency?
Windward sids.
#2: the norm in residential building is that the home is buttoned up water tight before any exterior facade trades and materials are addressed.
Windows, doors, rafters sheting,and VDB all flashing and trades are addressed with the contractor organizing timing.
The roofs secondary or last aplocation is well beyond the 2 week time fram you speek of.
the window instalers doors and all sub tfades do not want the stucco guys messing up the materials they just installed.
I can see compresion fitting into the hypothesis but the damage is between the floor plates.
Again I point to plywood laid horazontally.no stage red heights. No bonding pattern applied.
Sorry for the many spelling errors. New tablet.

Here are shots from the building I inspected. 3 sides of the building. See the last part of post #16. #1 shows a bulge and a repair, #3 shows a bulge that was hard to photograph so that you could see it well. The bulge was approx. 3/4" in 16".
Installing exterior wall sheathing horizontally is good, not bad. What’s normal isn’t always what has happened.

Robert, what are “stage red heights” and “bonding pattern”? What do you mean the home is “buttoned up tight” before the exterior wall materials are installed? A home isn’t “buttoned up tight” if there’s no exterior wall covering.