I tried to help this guy

I got a call yesterday from this guy, saying his house had leaks and asked if I would locate the source. I went to try and do that, but was not able to help much.
This is a 2002 house, he is the original owner. Roof is good, without apparent leaks. No gutters or downspouts.
It is concrete block construction with stucco.
Apparently, since Hurricane Charley in 2004, water has gently seeped out of the walls at the baseboards on the South and East walls. With heavier rain, faster seepage. It’s gotten worse in the last 3 months,and with TS Fay, the water actually formed a “river” in his living room. I also found a water stain about 6-8 feet up on the inside of the East wall, with 20-25% moisture according to my meter.
The stucco shows the outline of the concrete blocks, with fine cracks.
He asked for advice. I wanted to get some ideas to tell him. I did advise him to get an IR scan of the problem, so he would be better informed.
Any ideas?




Over 70% of water intrusion comes from outside the home. How is the terracing/grading? Gutters, downspouts, splash blocks, extensions? Any slope from surrounding ground areas towards the home? Is the lot in a low area? Pictures? Is the home raised up away from ground areas? Top of the blocks should be up higher than ground level. Any ground movements can cause cracks/gaps in concrete block mortar. Opps. just saw the pictures. Check window caulk/flashings. Slope of the lot looks suspect. Perhaps a french drain should have been installed.

He should have cutters and down spouts to run the water away from the home. Does it have a crawl space?

Until they start putting moisture barrier on the blocks and properly install flashings and windows the leaky stucco will persist.

I hope someday they understand.

The slope of the yard is good. The area is low-lying, but the house sits 6"+ above the overall let. The stucco goes to the ground, though.
The doors and windows are actually well-sealed and flashing all looks good. There are no gutters or downspouts installed. And no - no crawlspace. Around here, crawlspaces are commonly referred to as covered inground pools:cool:
It does not appear there is any moisture barrier over the blocks -

If you get on a ladder and look down the wall is the top of the stucco texture painted?

They do not put moisture barrier on the block down there if they did it would solve alot of problems.

The window and caulk look fine but they are not.

A thin coat of stucco and a thin coat of paint.

How much does the second floor stucco over hang the first floor?

Yes, the texture is well-covered. It looks good. Thin, but good.
He said he had talked with one of those paint contractors about an exterior “sealant” paint. Would this be sufficient, or is he in for more than that?
Incidentally, this entire neighborhood of 130+ homes were all completed in 18± months…

Second story hangs over approximately 1 1/2"

130 + homes.

You need an IR camera.

They will al have problems if they do not allready.

1 1/2 with the rain and wind is not enough. imo

Elastomeric paint properly installed could help.

1 coat of primer backrolled and 2 coats of paint back rolled.

The block movement is a problem tho.

Are there any windows in the second story?

Atleast they put in a few control joints in the second story.

Is that a control joint off of the meter can or a line of some kind?

Nope, no 2nd story windows. That is a TV cable running up next to the meter.

This is the only real crack I could find. this is on the corner where all the water intrusion is located, and only 1-2 feet from the interior water stain.


Is the builder still building near by?

It looks like the stucco finish is terminating at grade level in the pictures from what I am seeing. Are there weep screens installed? I know it’s not what is causing the problem, but thought I would mention it since I see that nobody else brought it up.

I don’t see weep screens. And, yes, this is a Mercedes Home. They are all over around here. Interesting that I can pull up the CO for the home and see all the contractors listed. And the Electrical Contractor has a license status REVOKED!:shock:
Anyway, yes the builder has moved on to another subdivision.

Do yourself a favor and go look at a few in different stages. It will help you alot in the future.

If you can take some pictures.

Well I am not an expert in this area but I do believe that the stucco should not be to grade. I know that in Charleston SC they had an EIFS and stucco issue with it being installed down to the grade and water wicking up behind it. It looks to me like this may be happening here as well especially if the moisture readings up high are within spec but down low are elevated.