Stucco exterior and water lines

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Old 04-13-16, 10:45 AM
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Stucco exterior and water lines

I have a ghost that I am chasing, trying desperately to find an explanation and resolution. I have an area at the rear of my stucco finished home that has a mysterious water line. The water line is not static, moving almost daily. I believe that the line is from water wicking up from the ground but I do not know for certain.

In my reading I have stumbled on a metal bead that is installed at the base of the stucco to allow airflow and drying. I do not see that in the trouble spot, or the entire exterior for that matter. I am at a loss and have no clue on next steps. I am wanting to pour a concrete pad in the problem area but hesitate to do so without first knowing what is causing this water line and implementing a fix. I hope the attached picture helps to shed some light and that someone is able to guide me in the right direction

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 04-13-16, 11:00 AM
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Sorry, I'm not getting what you mean by 'water line.' Can you offer more details?
 
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Old 04-13-16, 11:15 AM
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I believe he means a wet streak in the stucco that isn't always in the same place.
The pic is too dark to help much
Is there any plumbing in the area in question? Could you turn off the water for the better part of a day or overnight to see if it affects the area that is wet?
 
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Old 04-15-16, 04:00 PM
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Sorry about the picture, it's the best I had at the time. I will upload a better shot tonight. The water line I'm talking about is the dark area covering the bottom quarter of the wall. It will contract upward and expand downward from day to day but does not disappear entirely. There are no water lines to speak of in that area, inside or outside the home.
 
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Old 04-15-16, 09:29 PM
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The metal bead you refer to is a weep screed. To retrofit a weep screed is not a simple matter.. Does water stand on the slab near the wall? Which side of the house I this. How old is the stucco? How long has this been happening? Could water be getting under th slab from around the edge?
 
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Old 04-15-16, 09:40 PM
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This is what's most confusing. The ground that meets the problem wall is nothing but dirt, no concrete pad. There is no standing water against the house.

To answer your questions, the house was built in 2001. The side of the house faces east and is under a raised deck so it does not see direct light. The problem has been happening since we moved in 5 years ago but it has never been this bad. Usually I see the problem very faintly in the morning then by noon is has dried. Late last year and into this spring the problem has really worsened. I have dug a 1 ft hole next to the problem wall but stopped when I hadn't yet reached the bottom of the stucco. What's really confusing to me is this is a walk out basement. The problem wall is the backside of the house. Where the ground meets the wall is the same height as the exterior door into the basement.

I hope that makes sense.
 
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Old 04-15-16, 10:22 PM
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I have dug a 1 ft hole next to the problem wall but stopped when I hadn't yet reached the bottom of the stucco.
Are you saying the stucco is buried below grade?

As described, it sounds like a condensation problem, with accumulated moisture being trapped behind the stucco with no way to weep out, and it has to dry out the surface.

No moisture problems have been noticed inside? No wet carpet if it is pulled back, etc? Possibly no sill sealer was used under the bottom plate? Just making wild guesses.
 
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Old 04-16-16, 12:36 PM
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What is the construction of this wall? Could it be masonry? or Poured concrete?
Show us a picture of the basement door and maybe if you can the inside of the wall. Are you getting a line of white, fuzzy mineral deposit (effloresence) near the top of the wet spot? It would more likely show up when the surface is dry.
 
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Old 04-17-16, 07:57 AM
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It looks to me like the stucco is indeed below the current grade. Hard to understand how/why because the door is right there. I really appreciate the assistance. I will take a few pictures and upload them shortly.
 
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Old 04-18-16, 10:23 AM
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I managed to take a few detailed pictures of my problem. I'm not certain my "landscaping" is above grade any longer when I look at the proximity of the ground to the door. Also, notice the very straight vertical line of the problem area in the picture with the window. Seems odd that the patter would be this defined. This is really baffling to me and I continue to make zero headway with local companies specializing in stucco. Maybe I'll look for a cheap moisture reader to confirm 100% that is indeed moisture I'm dealing with. I have taped off the problem to monitor it over the next few days. Sure hope someone out there can guide me in a direction.
 
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Old 04-18-16, 10:32 AM
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It sure looks like the stucco is wicking up moisture from below. Do you know if the construction behind the stucco is masonry? or wood framed?
 
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Old 04-18-16, 11:00 AM
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Because it is a walk-out basement I'm 95% sure it's wood construction.

If this is wicking I wonder what next steps would be. I don't know enough about the construction of a home to appreciate what I would be looking for. I can dig a trench for observation purposes but don't know what to observe. If I look around the perimeter of the entire home the soil level is above the parging i.e. I see no bare concrete so to me the problem area looks "normal". We do have a sump pump but with the slope of the walk-out property it doesn't run much. Maybe there's a problem with the weeping tile on the back side of the house?
 
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Old 04-18-16, 11:52 AM
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The definite lines that seem to be 2' on center and the straight hairline cracks in your stucco, as well as the overall thickness of the stucco (as compared to the face of the window) make me think this is an EIFS system that has failed due to unknown reasons. It would seem to me that there needs to be a weep screed about 8" above grade where you have that color change left of the door. EIFS has Styrofoam sheets behind an acrylic stucco mixture. Its usually a 2 coat process... a base coat and a finish coat. Those cracks and the wet areas are surely following the perimeter of a sheet of styrofoam. I would guess that since moisture can't get out in any way, it has caused the styrofoam joints to fail as the water tries to find its own way to get out.
 
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Old 04-18-16, 12:06 PM
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I appreciate the detailed response. Would you ever see this styrofoam system using traditional masonry stucco? That is what I have, not acrylic. Since moving in I have been talking about having the house painted with an acrylic paint to deal with the many hairline cracks.
 
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Old 04-18-16, 04:52 PM
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Latex acrylic paint alone will not hide the cracks but an elastomeric paint often does.

Most of the foam I've seen used with stucco [not EIFS] was just to provide decorative details but I assume they could use it for added insulation.
 
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Old 04-18-16, 07:42 PM
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Yes Portland cement plaster is used over styrofoam continuous stucco coats are usually in t
he 1/4, to 3/8" range rather than 3/4". Why such a drastic color difference at the bottom of the bottom picture? Check again to see if you have masonry or concrete construction below that bottom line. I think you do not have EIFS but you might have foam insulation. Do not paint until you identify and correct the problem. Is it possible that you have stair step constructin with a poured or masonry bottom that is higher then steps down? There would be wood stud construction above wth more insulation. Maybe you are seeing condensation. Look inside and out. Try tapping with a light hammer or screwdriver handle and see if different areas sound different.
 
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Old 04-20-16, 10:13 AM
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Regarding the drastic color difference, are you referring to the transition from the salmonish color to grey? That is just a style choice by the previous owner; pretty common around here. As far as the material goes they are identical.

"Check again to see if you have masonry or concrete construction below that bottom line"
When you refer to the bottom line, are you referring to the salmon to grey transition? Definitely confirmed that the two materials are identical.

"it possible that you have stair step constructin with a poured or masonry bottom that is higher then steps down? There would be wood stud construction above wth more insulation"
I'm not sure what step construction or step downs are, sorry. One of the walls that meets the problem wall at 90 degrees is in an unfinished part of the basement. There is a definite transition that looks like what you are describing. About 10 feet from the corner that the two walls meet there is a difference in wall thickness. I suspect this is where the wall transitions from wood stud top to bottom to concrete foundation. I had forgotten that I recently ripped the carpet out of the room that neighbors this problem wall. I will take pictures of the bottom of the interior wall; there is a wooden base plate sitting directly on top of the concrete slab. That would suggest/confirm that the wall in question is wood stud top to bottom correct?

I suppose it is possible that this is condensation but similarly I'm not sure how to confirm or rule that theory out. Not sure if it's worth mentioning; on the other side of the door I have very large planter that has the dirt resting directly against the stucco. Yes, silly but that's how the house came. That wall suffers from a similar condition with the difference being it is not covered by a deck and therefore gets some sun mid-morning. The water line is much more faint and with our current dry condition, seems to be slowly disappearing.

I will try the tap test tonight and look closer to see if I can find anything else out about the construction. I do have an outlet on the problem wall beside the door. I could pop that out and see if it reveals anything. Come to think of it, I also have a small chunk of stucco that has cracked and fallen completely off at the front door. I'll poke around in the hole to see if it shows anything.

Hypothetically speaking, if it does turn out to be plaster over Styrofoam and a failure of the system has occurred, what is my recourse? Am I looking at scraping the finish off and redoing?
 
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Old 04-20-16, 10:23 AM
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It looks to me like the top salmon portion of the stucco is painted [or colored] while the grey bottom portion is not.

Stair step construction on a foundation wall means that the poured masonry wall or laid block changes elevation as the ground does. Since it's impractical to have a foundation wall on an angle they'll 'stairstep' it to make the height changes. With block these increments are normally at 8" [or 16"] You always want masonry below grade but some will switch to wood frame a foot or so above ground in an effort to save on construction costs.
 
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Old 04-20-16, 11:13 AM
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You're exactly right, the bottom grey portion is not painted while the rest is. A common design choice around these parts.

Thank you for the explanation. Based on the wooden base plate that I can see on the interior side of the wall, there is no masonry in the problem wall. What is obvious is that the ground level is a few inches higher than the base of the stud wall. I'm not sure if a few inches is enough to cause this problem. Perhaps I should be digging a trench along the wall, below the point where the wall meets the concrete pad, and leave it for a few days to see if things dry out.

As part of my photography tonight I'll try to take a picture splitting the interior and exterior sides of the door frame.
 
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Old 04-20-16, 11:32 AM
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Perhaps I should be digging a trench along the wall, below the point where the wall meets the concrete pad, and leave it for a few days to see if things dry out.
Yep, the bottom of the stucco shouldn't be buried below grade. That would be a good plan / first thing to rule out.
 
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Old 04-20-16, 12:16 PM
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I guess tonight's activities are now planned. I'll report back my findings.
 
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Old 04-20-16, 08:45 PM
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I don't think a competent plasterer would stucco over frame constructin below grade. A competent builder would not build something like ths either, though I guess I have heard of wood basements in the north country.
What did th tapping tell you? What did you learn about the construction from the inside? Is there efflorescence anywhere in the wet area? Is the paint peeling in the wet area?
 
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Old 04-21-16, 04:12 AM
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When I was in fla where most houses are built on a slab I've seen multiple times where the landscaper would come in and build up the soil, add mulch and effectively raise the grade above the bottom plate - then I'd go back a few years down the road to paint the repairs from the termite damage. I guess the landscapers couldn't tell the difference between stucco over block and wood framed stucco Is it possible the grade around your house was raised?
 
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Old 04-21-16, 10:39 AM
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To me the texture looks different on the bottom grey area from the upper salmon area. The texture difference could be due to different suction which is due to different substrates behind the stucco. Suction is the term for how quickly the base, whatever it is draws the moisture from the stucco when it is applied.
Does the grey area below the salmon area show signs of wetness too?
Do you know if there is foam behind the stucco? is it typical to insulate basements with foam in your area? Can you dig deeper to see if you can find the bottom of the stucco? Stucco can wick but this much wicking seems like way more than normal. Tap on the walls and see if it sounds different in different areas. A ringing sound probably means there is masonry or concrete behind the stucco. More of a hard thud probably means wood framing. A higher pitched hollow sound might mean there is foam behind the stucco. A visual inspection at an outlet as you suggest might confirm this. Then move around horizontally to see if there is a different thud every 16" over the stud. This will be harder to discern.
If you stand with your feet firmly planted and push with the heel of your hand really hard on the wall is there any give? Try this especially on either side of a crack.
This really intrigues me. Does or has ever snow piled up against the wall?
Where in Canada are you and what are the different seasons like there? Degrees Fahrenheit mean more to most of us that Celsius. Yes we can convert but we don't think metrically.

marksr might be onto something. It looks like your 4 X 6 posts are set in the ground or at least the bottom is covered. Are they set on a concrete pier? Maybe in cold country you can get away with things that would rot a post in short order around here.
 

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Old 04-22-16, 09:21 AM
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First off thank you to all those jumping in to help me with my situation. I have tried to contact no fewer than 12 stucco repair and/or installation companies in my area and 3 have returned my call. After chatting and sending pictures to said 3, none have followed up.

Let me start by trying to answer any outstanding questions:

1.) Does the grey area below the salmon area show signs of wetness too?
Yes, the grey area is showing signs of moisture.

2.) Do you know if there is foam behind the stucco?
I did a lot of investigating last night but stopped short of being able to pull the exterior outlet. I will be doing that this evening.

3.) is it typical to insulate basements with foam in your area?
No, at least not to my knowledge.

4.) Can you dig deeper to see if you can find the bottom of the stucco?
I was able to dig a couple of holes, here are my findings. In picture 1 you can see highlighted the top of a concrete mass. I believe this is a piling. Based on the house plans there are roughly 60 around the perimeter of the house. Picture 2 highlights what I believe to be the end of the stucco. Picture 3 is a closer shot of the same hole and picture 4 is wider shot of the same hole. Notice the white line on the stucco, I suspect that is calcium deposit and ultimately the source of my problem?

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4.) I have gone through the tap test and believe that the back wall is wood construction although I have not confirmed that definitively yet. I plan to open the plug to look and if need be I will cut out a piece of drywall from the interior and work my way out; have to know for sure. A couple of pictures that lead me to believe it is wood. Picture 1 is a shot from inside showing the wall adjacent to the problem wall. I believe what this shows is the step down that was described; there is a definite change in width. Picture 2 shows the same adjacent wall from the outside. Notice the metal bead that runs vertically. I suspect this is the transition from concrete to wood?

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5.) Does or has ever snow piled up against the wall
No, in the 5 years I have been in the house there has never been a pile of snow against the house. Some snow certainly but not a lot.

6.) Where in Canada are you and what are the different seasons like there.
I am in Edmonton Alberta. Seasons swing quite a bit here from points in the summer reaching as high as 95 to points in the winter reach as low as -31. It is worth noting that I live at the end of crescent with a walk-out basement. I would guess that the property drops 20 - 30 feet from the front to back. Roughly 90 feet from the back of the house and the problem wall is a creek. The creek is relatively dry this year with the unusually low amount of snow we received this winter. What that equates to is a fairly high water table.

7.) marksr might be onto something. It looks like your 4 X 6 posts are set in the ground or at least the bottom is covered. Are they set on a concrete pier? Maybe in cold country you can get away with things that would rot a post in short order around here.
Are you referring to the posts supporting the deck? Those are 6x6's. The two outer posts are set on 12' deep by 18" wide concrete pilings. The center post is set on a helical screw piling. The coverage you are seeing in the picture is just rock, the dirt line is below the wood post.

One last photo that might help. I took a measurement on the interior of the problem wall from the concrete slab to the bottom of the window; it measure 28". I then took a measurement on the exterior, from the bottom of the window into a hole. I know with the angle it is difficult to see but the white calcium? is essentially right where the slab measures to be which in turn is roughly 3" below the dirt. Is the calcium the key to all of this? Is it the indication that water is wicking up from the baseplate of the wall? What is quite puzzling is the fact that the stucco clearly extends well below the baseplate as seen in one of the first pictures.

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I lied, 1 last picture splitting the interior and exterior of the door. It's a better shot of my wife's boots then the split of the door but it does show the relative levelness (is that a word?) of the interior slab to exterior dirt. There is a 2" drop from the sill of the door to the interior slab which would equate to the 3" difference I measured under the window.

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Thank you again for hanging in there an helping me through this.
 
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Old 04-22-16, 11:31 AM
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We might be learning more. Any difference in the tap on the left and right of that metal expansion bead? Stick a thin blade in the groove of that joint. Make sure it is clean all the way back where you insert th blade, How deep is that groove?
Now do I understand you that the house sits on piers (auto fill makes me use piling so so I use piers) and there is no continuous footing. Before the advent of weep screeds it was usual to stucco all the way to the ground on the rough grade. This to make sure the stucco went down far enough. Now here is something else t look for. Do you see anything like this elsewhere in your neighborhood? Some exploratory surgery on the inside might be called for. Before you make a cut check and see what you can learn by removing outlet covers.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 12:52 PM
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I thought of something else that may be relevant. What is the difference in elevation between the average height of the creek and your basement floor? Is there any sign on the inside of the house anywhere of a moisture problem?
What is the covering on the basement floor? On a good warm day put a fan or two blowing on the wet area. Mark the level of the wet spot before and after. Maybe, just maybe you have a leak around the window and door and it is hitting styrofoam insulation and finding its way out. The way this kind of construction is done here is the house is sheathed then by code two layers of moisture resistant paper then the styrofoam then usually 20 ga chicken wire and the stucco. I'll have to check, maybe with this system one layer of paper then the foam. But anyway if there is a leak between the window and the stucco it could run down and find the joint in the foam and then out. This much moisture still seems excessive, especially since this wall is protected. I am mostly thinking outloud here and the thoughts are just flying through my fingers.
Answer all our questions and heed all our suggestions then we will probably have more of both.
 
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Old 04-23-16, 01:08 PM
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Thank you. As long as you're willing to stick with me I will provide all of the information you ask!

Today is a miserable day so I doubt I'll be able to run through the last bit of testing. I like the way you're thinking but I may have ruled out styrofoam. I have a small 2"x2" chunk of stucco that has lifted at my front steps; the paper is exposed. I have pushed as hard as I could with my finger and there was zero give. That would tell me it's straight sheething, I think.

Regarding the creek, I would guess the elevation of the proble wall is around 10 feet to the average high mark of the water and the wall is roughly 90 feet away, could be farther.

Once the weather lifts I'll run through the final testing suggested and complete digging the trench the full span of the problem wall.
 
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Old 04-30-16, 03:33 PM
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You all have been great in helping me out so I wanted to give you a quick update. I haven't had a chance to run through the final few tests and validations due to circumstances at work. I should be through things this weekend freeing up time to get back to my problem, and replace my broken, unbreakable fiberglass shovel.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 08:44 AM
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So, first let me apologize for the ridiculous delay. I am thankful for the assistance but had to focus on pressing priorities at the office. With that fire somewhat behind me I am back at it.

I did the tap test left and right of the expansion joint and can definitely notice a difference in tone beside the window. This leads me to believe that everything right of the expansion joint as seen in the picture is wood. What is concerning is the fact that the grade on that side of the house is well above the slab; you can see in the picture that the grade is near the bottom of the window. To get a further, definitive answer at least for that side of the house, I plan to dig under the window and repeat the tap test.

It was at about this time that my wife yelled at me telling me the sink wouldn't drain. No problem, a quick cleanout of the trap and I'd be back at it. Unfortunately not the case. One of the two main drains is plugged back beyond the cleanout in the basement. So, 2 hours later back out I went to at least accomplish something. I managed to dig a trench the length of the problem wall. I then rented a commercial fan and let it run 2 feet from the wall for 48 hours, here are my findings.

I don't believe the fan did a thing. Thankfully I do see a noticeable difference in the saturated stucco. Here are some pictures because you know, they speak a thousand works. First picture is the original picture from above before the trench. The second picture is from last night, 1 week after the trench was dug. The third picture is from last night, just a different spot on the wall.

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What might be telling is the white line that runs the length of the wall. It looks like the line is right about where the wall would meet the slab.

So, that is where I am at. I still need to remove the outlet and investigate but I couldn't do that with the fan running. Also, I have not been able to tell from the house blueprints whether or not the slab sits right on the pilings. I am assuming that the concrete I ran into digging my trench is piling but can't be certain without digging deeper. What sent me down this journey was to find a resolution to my problem before pouring a concrete pad. I think I am going to go ahead and rent the machinery to dig the 12" for my pad anyway. Perhaps that will expedite the drying and provide me even more insight.

Again, I appreciate the assistance and look forward to you thoughts.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 01:46 PM
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Is the middle picture of the same spot as th top one, the before the trench picture? Is there any plumbing embedded in the floor slap of th basement? Ether water or sewer? It just seems like th wetness is too much to be coming from outside surface wicking alone. What is your average annual precipitation? Has the top f the water line receded? By how many inches? As you start about three feet above the ground and work your way down the all at what point if any does the sound of the tapping change?
.This still intrigues me.
The white line is efflorescence. It is the deposit of minerals leached out of the cement. The moisture dissolves some and leaves it behind when it evaporates off the surface. The problem s finding the source of the moisture.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 03:00 PM
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Ok, let's go back to the very first picture you posted... there is a deck above this area. Are you only noticing these wet areas below the deck? If so, tell us how the ledger is attached, if there is any flashing over it, if thr ledger is on top of the stucco, or if the stucco has been applied around the ledger, etc. Post pics from above and below the ledger or anything noteworthy around the base of that door/window that is on the deck.

And refresh our memory... are these wet areas ever in the sun? Or always in the shade?
 
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Old 05-17-16, 03:48 PM
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X sleeper,

Good observation. You might be onto something.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 04:00 PM
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Well, I'm somewhat astonished that there is no weep screed anywhere. If there is any condensation or moisture behind the stucco, where is it supposed to go? It's trapped! Whatever the source of this moisture is, it looks like it is building up behind the stucco, forcing it to dry out the front.

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Generally, don't you want to see a weep screed above grade?
 
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  #35  
Old 05-17-16, 04:09 PM
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I don't know the answer but I have painted 100s of stucco'd houses that didn't have a weep screed.
 
  #36  
Old 05-17-16, 04:16 PM
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Part of the problem might lie in the way the stucco was applied... if you have wood framing on top of a short concrete wall, I could see them stop the felt paper/stucco wrap at the bottom of the plywood sheathing... and then apply the mortar directly to the concrete where there isnt any felt... where it would bond tight to the wall with no air space. I would think this would create a dam where water could not weep downward.

Just guessing. But there could be a leak from above letting in a lot of water for all we know.
 
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Old 05-17-16, 05:14 PM
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You guys are great, I appreciate the collaboration!

To answer your questions as best I can:

1.) Regarding the ledger, I just so happened to replace the entire deck last summer so have intimate knowledge of how it has been built. It is worth noting that the problem was there before the deck was re-built. The ledger was installed over top of the stucco. Instead of using deck boards they went with a system uses plywood and some sort of cloth/vinyl coating. Very water tight as the plywood was bone dry after roughly 10 years. What was quite puzzling about the install is they cut the stucco out about 3 inches above the finished deck "floor" and installed a plastic trim of sorts. Pictures, pictures, pictures.

First picture is of the old decking material. The white trim I'm talking about can be seen where the decking meets the house with the old flashing that was in place. Again, they cut out a strip of stucco then inserted a flashing under the stucco and covered the whole thing with this plastic trim complete with a ton of white caulking.

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Second picture is the old decking material for reference.

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Third picture is the new flashing. I essentially duplicated what had been done previously, inserting the flashing in behind the stucco then covered the entire opening and vertical piece of the flashing with that water proof, sticky as all hell tape. Can't remember the name of the Butyl or something like that. The finished product then has a trim board over the flashing with caulking. I don't have a picture for some reason but will get one tonight.

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Again from reference, the fourth picture shows what the brown plastic between the joists is. It's a water drainage system that sends the water from between the deck boards down to a gutter.

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And for final reference, here is a picture from last year showing the notorious water line.

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2.) Is the middle picture of the same spot as th top one, the before the trench picture?
Yes. On the left of the pictures you can make out a faint straight vertical line. This can be used as a reference point for the two pictures.

3.) Is there any plumbing embedded in the floor slap of th basement? Ether water or sewer?
Not at that end of the house. Any water/sewer lines are about 20ft back from the problem wall. There is in floor heating but the water that supplies the closed loop is drawn from a separate reservoir. I do loose some water but less than 1/2 liter a month.

4.) It just seems like the wetness is too much to be coming from outside surface wicking alone. What is your average annual precipitation? Has the top f the water line receded? By how many inches?

I completely agree but am at a loss. Our average rainfall during the peak summer months is about 3 inches. This year has been especially dry with VERY little rain this spring and we had an unusually dry winter as well i.e., very little snowfall.

5.) As you start about three feet above the ground and work your way down the all at what point if any does the sound of the tapping change?

I will get this info tonight.

6.) And refresh our memory... are these wet areas ever in the sun? Or always in the shade?

Yes, there is a faint water line to the right of the door on the problem wall that I am blaming on the ill placed flower bed. The difference with this area is it gets sun. The problem wall under the deck does not get any sun. Here is a picture.

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Here is a closer look at the flower bed. The wide view shots definitely make the water mark look darker.

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7.) Has the top f the water line receded?

Not that I can tell. The area definitely seems to be drying out but it is drying from the bottom up. Back to the deck quickly, I can confirm without a doubt, there is no water running down. The intent is to finish the underside of the deck so water proofing was essential.

Lots of pictures and a ton of info. Can't thank you all enough for your help.
 
  #38  
Old 05-18-16, 01:21 PM
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X,
You asked about stucco over the foundation without weep screed. Not so very many years ago that is exactly the way it was done around here. The paper goes a bit below the sill and the wire lath below that by a couple mesh spaces and then the stucco is bonded to the foundation.
It goes bad at about the sill. My theory is as you suggest only I have not figured out how that much moisture gets behind the stucco. Stucco is not exactly waterproof but more water should run down the outside than gets behind. I have a friend, an engineer who teaches concrete, mix design and related subjects at the University and he says we have a lot of sulfates or is it sulfites, in our soil and that causes concrete to deteriorate and that also the minerals leached out of the stucco are hydrophilic, that is attract moisture so the problem becomes self perpetuating. A lady pointed out to me that old, old stucco does not have the problem but newer stucco before we started using weep screeds. I have a theory about that too. When stucco was applied by hand it was compressed and densified more. Now when it is applied by a pump the plasterers who don't like to squat or kneel take a pass or two over the bottom with a darby and get it straight but then it is not compressed and densified at the bottom so is more pervious. Add to that that even here in our dry climate that water from sprinklers tends to hit the bottoms of the walls not the tops.
I have not studied the most recent pictures the OP has put up to see about a water penetration from the deck above. Since the problem also exists away from the deck I think it is something else. I can't figure it out. I sure would like to know where the foundation truly is in relationship to the wetness.

Now for yo Gouie, do I see sprinker heads in the flower bed? where to they aim?
I see in the flower bed that the wetness is higher nearer the window. Check again and see if any water can get behind the stucco at the head and jambs. Even if the installation does not let water leak into the house it could be running down the jamb and finding its way out at the bottom. This would mean that the underlayment fof the stucco is doing its job keeping your house dry but there is still a leak. Unless you have some bad installation of the underlayment and water is getting behind it somehow and saturating your OSB sheathing. If this is the case, and I don't want to frighten you but if it is the case you have a serious problem.
Does the floor of the deck drain well away from the wall or does water ever pool close to the wall?
Think like water and start from the roof gutter down and examine any place where there could be a way for water to get in. Look for wall penetrations, water traps and the like. check out that exhaust vent above the light fixture.

I still don't think you can be getting that much water behind the stucco but I can't figure out where else it can be coming from
 
  #39  
Old 05-18-16, 07:30 PM
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Okay, first to answer your questions. There are no sprinklers in the flower bed. I wish there were so that my wife would stop reminding me what a PITA it is to stretch the hos around the house! I have look at the jamb of the windows closely and the stucco is very tight to it, even covering the jamb in places. Finally, the deck to house is very tight as well, I go into detail above.

I was able to get to the further investigation tonight.

1.) I pulled the outlet and can confirm without a doubt, the wall right down to the slab is wood sheathing.

2.) I dug a hole about a foot deeper into the trench and can also confirm that there is a concrete foundation wall, duh right?

3.) I stopped digging when I hit pea gravel. I assume this is the gravel filling the trench that the weeping tile sits in. What is interesting is that as soon as I hit the gravel a small amount of water appeared. If the weep is working as designed should there be any water visible?

Pictures
Wide view of the new hole
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Close up of the new hole
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Lastly, a new shot of the problem. I think it's drying but at this point, honestly, after staring at it for days I can't tell.

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Stumped. Thanks for listening

Cory
 
  #40  
Old 05-18-16, 08:31 PM
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That is interesting... where does the weep tile lead to? Is there an outlet anywhere that you know of? A french drain should have an outlet.. otherwise it's just an underground pond. Capillary action could be drawing that water up via evaporation.

I would definitely investigate that further!
 
 

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