Reuben Saltzman

Minnesota Stucco Repairs: Case Study #3, Full-Tear Off and Redo

In the first two blog posts of this three-part series on stucco repairs, I covered a home that had minimal stucco repairs performed for the most cost effective solution. In part two, I covered a home that had a partial stucco tear off and redo, often referred to as a “wall-to-wall” repair. The walls that were intact were left alone for the repair; only the walls with damage were opened up. For this third part, I’ll be discussing a home that had the stucco completely torn off, and the entire house re-sided with fiber cement siding.


As is standard practice when buying a newer stucco home in Minnesota, the folks buying this stucco-clad home had invasive moisture testing performed as part of their purchase agreement. Despite the fact that there was no visible evidence of moisture damage inside or outside the home, the moisture testing report showed high levels of moisture in many locations throughout the home.

The home seller contacted Sunset Construction Group (SunsetCG) to verify the results of the moisture testing, and the results were confirmed by cutting exploratory holes into the stucco; this helped to confirm the problem and determine the extent of the water damage.

Exploratory hole in stucco

Side note: If you ever happen to see a stucco home with caulked squares of stucco, you’re probably looking at a home that has had exploratory holes cut. The photo below shows what these exploratory holes look like after they’re patched.

Stucco Patch

After the home sellers were shown the extent of the moisture damage inside the walls, they decided to have the stucco completely torn off and the home resided with a different product. They decided to go with James Hardie® fiber cement siding, which is a popular product on new homes throughout Minnesota.


The photos below show the home before the stucco was torn off, while it was being repaired, as well as the finished product.

Stucco home with concealed moisture damage

stucco water damage

stucco water damage repairs

window flashing

Re-sided home


Benefits of a Full Tear-off and Redo

While a full tear-off and redo is the most expensive option when it comes to stucco repairs, there are plenty of benefits to this method. Instead of having only the areas with damage / water intrusion repaired, everything is opened up and redone. For example, pan flashing gets installed at all of the windows, proper kickout flashing gets installed at all of the roof ends, and the deck is completely re-flashed at the ledgerboard. At-grade or low wall plate lines that are too close to grade can be exposed and re-designed at the same time. All of the siding is now covered under a full 10-year warranty per MN Statute 327A, which can be a very attractive feature for potential home buyers. Finally, the stigma associated with newer stucco homes is removed.

For a full stucco tear-off and re-do, the cost can go into the six-figure realm, but of course this price involves all of the stuff that happens under the siding; it’s not just about replacing existing siding. It’s also about figuring out and repairing all of the items that caused water damage in the first place. That concludes this three-part series on stucco repairs.

Special thanks to Matt Roach of SunsetCG for providing the photos and information about the repair process.

Author: Reuben SaltzmanStructure Tech Home Inspections