In our personal opinion, stucco has been dealt a huge injustice here in the Northwest and elsewhere. We get asked many questions regarding stucco in wet climates. Such as, Why do so many stucco projects fail in the northwest? Is stucco a good system in wet climates? The answer to the first question is: Flashings, flashings, flashings. The stucco system within it self, when correctly installed did not fail. The total disregard towards flashing/waterproofing and sealant details has cause many an exterior cladding to fail. In our opinion every exterior envelope contractor should have to take and pass a course in flashing/waterproofing when it intersects with their system. Before one starts to install an exterior system on any building, they need to take the time and inspect the installed flashing details. you will be doing the client, yourself and every other contractor associated with the project a huge justice. If you don't like the details, notify the appropiate people, if corrections are not made, don't start the project. By protecting yourself you are protecting everyone involved. The systems that failed were installed incorrectly from day one. Whether from lack of skill, professional oversight, caring, under bid, greed or all of the above. I don't know, though what I do know is the stucco system itself took the blunt of the blame. Some professions attached to the construction industry also need to be educated as to what happened and why. These include Realtors, architects, designers, consultants and city/county inspectors.
To answer the second question,
Stucco has been the chosen cladding in wetter climates than the Northwest for over a century. Some of the oldest buildings and structures in the world are still clad in their original stucco system. With correct installation and maintenance, stucco will out perform most other claddings. When exposed to severe weather, which product do you think will last longer? Wood or cement?
Everything written in this blog has been based on our personal experiences.