Release of stucco on porch ceiling!

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Old 09-08-16, 09:47 PM
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Release of stucco on porch ceiling!

Details:
1. Building constructed in 1920's. Have never had any problems with the stucco.
2. Roof leaked for a period prior to 2011. Not sure about this area. Entire building was re-roofed using tar method in 2011.
3. There is no attic in between this ceiling and the roof. Because there is a lamp which hangs down from the porch ceiling I am assuming there is a small crawl space. But the crawl space if it exists is much more narrow than that for the rest of the building as the height of the porch roof is lower than the roof for the rest of the building.
4. Any other details which might help you please let me know.

I am attaching two pics of the ceiling on a porch area where the stucco has collapsed. Before getting it repaired I would like to find out the root cause. The dirty spots seem like termite feces? I am not sure. Did this happen do to termites, prior to 2011 water damage, current water damage or age of building? This is a duplex and the other units porch ceiling remains intact. If you know anything about stucco or anything related to this issue, please chime in an give me some feedback. Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 09-08-16, 09:56 PM
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Termites eat tunnels in the wood and build crusty mud tunnels because they don't like the light. Can't tell anything about termites for the pic, but they do love to get behind stucco since it's dark and they can stay completely hidden.

Call a termite inspector to treat the house and the soil surrounding the house if you suspect termites.
 
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Old 09-09-16, 12:45 AM
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What is the black stuff in the pic?
 
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Old 09-09-16, 12:53 AM
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We need pictures RIGHT in the ceiling.
What black stuff ?

That sure looks like water damage to me.
That paint has gotten wet and has been peeling for a while.

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Old 09-09-16, 02:27 AM
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Bottom right.

I touched the wood and it was not dry to the touch. But it has not rained for months and months. Could this be moisture left over from pre 2011 when the roof was redone or do you think is more current? I have a warranty on the roof. But want to get to the root cause of the leak.
 
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Old 09-09-16, 06:37 AM
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Anything black is likely dormant mold spores from when it was wet.
 
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Old 09-09-16, 10:19 AM
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I doubt it's left over from 2011 which means you may have a possible leak now.
You could try flooding the roof with water or wait for the next rain storm.

I would remove a few small pieces of lath to be able to see up to the roof deck/sheathing.
 
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Old 09-09-16, 12:52 PM
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Pull off that part hanging down and tell us about it. Is it quite brittle? Can you crumble it in your hand? Can you crush a piece of it under foot on a concrete surface? In some cases gypsum plaster is used on soffits on exterior work. It is easier to hang gypsum plaster on wood lath than Portland cement plaster. The process of repair is about the same. When you get ready to do that we can tell you how step by step. But for now are you sure the lath are wet? If you struck a strike anywhere match on the lath would the match light? If so the lath are dry. If not maybe they are wet and maybe you just don't have the touch to light the match. The cause of the fallen stucco is gravity and moisture. The timing is unknown. What happened is the lath got wet, they twisted and buckled and broke the keys, the blades of material that squoze between the lath. When they broke the plaster or stucco let go. The loose area may be larger than what actually came down. So tell us what is above the lath. Is there any sign that water has come through the new roof? The repair is not too difficult. You want to use compatible material with what is there and you don't want to repair the stucco until you are sure the moisture problem is solved. We need to know where you are.
 
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Old 09-09-16, 01:00 PM
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I thought of something else. Has there been anything on the roof that could have made an impact and dislodged the loose plaster or stucco? Did something heavy get dropped on the roof when it was redone? It is possible that the ceiling has been loose for a long time and let go more recently because of vibration or impact above or below. Also when you get ready to fix it be sure to remove any of the surrounding ceiling that is loose. If you pry it off it can go on for ever. What I do is pull off by hand what comes off by hand. When it does not come off by hand I quit. I usually get a mental idea of how big the patch will be and try to make it no larger. Sometimes it is a little bigger on one side and sometimes not quite as large. I can usually tell when it is loose by looking. That area where the stucco or plaster is still there but the paint has peeled is suspect.
 
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Old 09-10-16, 02:33 PM
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Thanks everyone for a so many helpful responses so far. Keep them coming. I will be able to check it out again this coming week. I did touch the lathe and to me it seemed moist. I would have thought it should be dry. But the color of the lathe made it look almost new which is interesting considering it was put up so long ago.
 
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Old 09-10-16, 02:39 PM
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Don't forget.... you're looking at the side that was buried in plaster. The top will look much different.
 
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Old 09-10-16, 03:33 PM
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Yes the top of the lath will have 90 years' worth or dust and insulation on it.
That is is moist bothers me. It should not be.
In fact after the plaster is set and dry the lath become as dry as a bone and it is the buckling and twisting of those bone dry lath caused by getting wet that loosens the plaster. If this is gypsum plaster it cannot stand staying wet. It will eventually disintegrate. Getting wet once will not ruin it but it might cause it to come loose. If it is Portland cement plaster the actual stucco will not be softened or damaged by the water it will simply release from the lath

The repair is not too difficult or complicated. Solving the moisture problem is crucial.
 
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Old 09-21-16, 05:57 PM
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If I were to contract this out what would be the approx cost per sq foot? For a complete tear down and redo to original condition with paint. Thanks.
 
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Old 09-21-16, 06:12 PM
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No one here will touch that question. Do you have answers to my first post?
From the pictures we can't tell how much larger the patch will be. What about the possible moisture problem? A skilled plasterer will give you a good job and probably charge more than a hack who may or may not know what he is doing.
We can tell you how to do this. Can you butter bread? Then you can plaster. But can you butter it on the bottom side?
There are spells and incantations we perform to defy gravity. In the end, gravity always wins as you can see.

And where are you?
 
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Old 09-21-16, 08:13 PM
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There are spells and incantations we perform to defy gravity. In the end, gravity always wins as you can see.
How very true.

I'm a pretty well versed handyman and DIY'er and that is not something I'd even consider.
Maybe the patch job but not a complete ceiling.
 
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Old 09-22-16, 04:26 AM
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If replacing the entire ceiling I would consider using a different material, maybe beadboard or even plywood. I'd let the condition of the rest of the ceiling determine if entire replacement or patching is best.

The best way to figure how much it costs would be to get several estimates. Labor prices can vary a lot in the different locales.
 
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Old 09-22-16, 03:55 PM
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Looks like when you pull the rest of the loose stucco off you will have a patch less than four feet square. What portion of the entire ceiling is that? How hard is the stucco? Can you get screws through it? If so it is certainly possible to install a new material on the whole lid. Shim the void where the stucco is missing to keep the new ceiling flat. You might screw furring strips to the ceiling and attach a new ceiling to those or you might screw right through what you have. If you use furring strips you can do some straightening with shims to get a flat surface.
I would patch the stucco. For me that is less work than putting up a new ceiling. If this were half of the ceiling I might think differently.
DON'T CHOP OR PRY THE OLD CEILING LOOSE IF YOU ARE GOING TO PATCH. Just pull off what you can pull of with your fiongers. If you chop and or pry you can remove the whole ceiling. If that is not what you want to do then pull only by hand. Stand in the clear. You never know how large a piece will come down when you pull on it.
 
 

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