772-878-1972 bens@benspest.biz

Hello, Ben here. And it’s time for another one of our Ben’s pest control podcasts. And today I want to do a show or an episode about stucco on frame below grade. And for a lot of people who don’t realize, in Florida, we have what I consider be really two kinds of construction. As far as houses go, you have concrete and you have wood. And then every once awhile, you get a two storey house that might be concrete on the first floor and wood on the second floor. But most of the structures either fall into the concrete category of the wood category, and the wood category is the one we want to discuss. The wood of course, is a lot more susceptible to termites, it does not mean that a concrete house cannot get termites, but wood houses have a lot more susceptibility and a lot more possibility for damage and even structural damage. So one of the things that we have seen in my years over pest control is that there is a condition that is extremely conducive to termites in a wood frame structure. And we refer to that as stucco below grade. Now, in Florida, a lot of wood houses when they originally built were built with siding, and or things like paneling. As far as the the coating on the outside of the house goes. But a lot of the concrete block homes, stucco was the coating on the outside of choice. Well, of course a lot of people in Florida like the stucco, it’s it’s nice, it can be painted, it looks good for a longer period of time, it doesn’t rot out. So it became common that people with wood frame houses would then have siding put on as an exterior coating for their house. And stucco is fine. But stucco does not bond to wood, stucco with cement. So they have to go through a process where they they have the wood paneling on the side of the house. And then they usually put in like a water membrane. They put in some kind of foam or system that is designed to weather coat or even insulate the walls. And then they apply a metal lathe and then the stucco is applied to the lathe. Now what we’ve discovered over the years is that a lot of houses, they would dig the ground away from the outside of the house, so they could put the stucco down. And then they would apply the stucco and after the stucco had set long enough, they would paint it and then they would put the grade back up against the stucco. But we learned that was a problem. So what happens is, the stucco can actually either get too much moisture, or absolutely wick the moisture up from the ground into the wall behind it. And in some cases, the the membrane that’s back there, the waterproofing will fail, and it will actually start to rot out. So one way or another the stucco allows moisture to get in behind the wall and gets the wood wet. And that can become a problem for pests in general. But especially for termites. Some of the foam insulation, the termites really don’t mind just boring through it. And then as the wood is wet, they can just start going to town on eating the wood. So having been in pest control since 1994, one of the things I like to tell people is that when this condition became evident that it was a problem, it was not uncommon for companies to not even offer what they call repair guarantees on houses that were stuck on frame below grade. So what happened was you might have termites in the house and you would want a treatment and they would be more than happy to sell you a treatment. But they wouldn’t offer you a guarantee for any damages unless you hired a contractor and had them come in and cut the stucco.
And cutting the stucco what that entailed was they would measure from inside the house in my experience from the window sill down to the floor. And then they would go on the outside of the house they would measure from the window sill down to the floor and they would figure Okay, now we’re at the slab at the base of the house and they would go We’ll see an inch or two lower than that. And they would take a saw and they would cut the stucco all across the bottom. And then what would happen is they would move the grade away from the house, so you could see the foundation. And that was usually a very expensive and time consuming process. That was not cheap. So it became a bit of an issue because homeowners couldn’t get a full guarantee on their house for termites without doing this. And then what you ended up with is you ended up with companies who are treating, but not necessarily guaranteeing other than possibly retreating for the termites. And because you couldn’t see the foundation, sometimes you weren’t even always sure if you got rid of the termites to know if the treatment worked properly. So it was kind of a big, big deal. And we still run into houses to this day that are stuck on frame below grade. And those houses can end up with very serious, serious problems as far as termites go. So one of the easiest things I can tell you is if you’re not sure how to tell if you have stucco, on frame below grade, or maybe if what I’m saying doesn’t register, because I’m talking in pest control terms that I understand. I try to explain to people if you have a wood frame house, go outside, look at your house, if it’s stucco, which is a cement coating on the house, and you look down to the ground, you should see an area where the stucco ends. And usually the are going to have an indent that goes into the foundation and the foundation will be exposed. If you’re still not understanding what I’m saying, if you have a neighbor or somebody in your neighborhood who has wood siding, usually you can look at the wood siding houses. And if you look at the bottom of the wood siding houses, it’s very evident where the siding ends. And the foundation is they usually will keep the siding about four to five, maybe even six inches off the ground. And what you’ll see is you’ll see the foundation, so whether it’s a wood siding house, or it’s a stucco house, you want to be able to see that foundation, that gives you the opportunity to see the possibility of termites, especially before hopefully they do a lot of damage. Because where they’re hidden, they can get get in and they can go for quite a period of time without being discovered. And that whole time they’re eating and eating and eating and causing all sorts of damage. So one of the reasons I’m doing this video is I inspected a house this week. And they had it and I was trying to explain to the gentleman that if you have this condition where you have stuck on frame below grade, it is important, important important that you at least consider treating your house preventatively you want to do everything in your power to prevent the termites from getting established and causing serious damage. And if you can do that by a preventative treatment, that’s always better. Now, I’m not going to tell anybody that they’ll necessarily qualify for a damage guarantee on a stock one frame house, a lot of companies are going to base that off of their inspection and what they see. And in some cases, they may even say, well, we can offer you a damage guarantee. If you cut the stucco later, they just need to come out and visually inspect that the stucco has been cut. So again, I hope that answers any questions that you might have about stuck on frame. If not, please feel free to contact us via our website at or give our office a call at 772-878-1972. You can even ask for me, Ben, I’ll be happy to answer any questions or even we’d be happy to set up a one of our free 58 Point pest evaluations and let you know what we see and what we find that your house said that you may need to have addressed. All right, thank you and I hope you have a great week.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Call Now ButtonTap Here To Call Ben Now!