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I live in one of millions of older homes that have stucco applied right to the ground, like so:

Stucco to ground

There's really no way to retrofit a conventional weep screed here. Lowering grade is not feasible except in spots. Are there alternative designs?

Note that this is not as bad as it looks: the skip sheathing allows a lot of drying to the inside and except for two areas with overt leaks above, the wood is in good shape. In the leaking areas the sill rots as shown.

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I would take an angle grinder and cut a 1" channel in the stucco right where it meets the concrete foundation. Then you can slip some new tar paper into the gap underneath the existing (probably deteriorating) layer. Should help a bit. It's also enough of a capillary break to stop the rising damp and will allow you to inspect for termites.

Long-term, the best solutions would be removing and re-applying the stucco (possibly not as expensive as it sounds) or applying a new layer of stucco over the existing layer, with a few inches of rigid foam between old and new.

  • You may need a lot more than an angle grinder. I've tried cutting old stucco before. That stuff is seriously dense! Might have to go the concrete saw method. – DA01 Feb 25 '16 at 23:07
  • The rule of thumb I've heard is concrete takes 100 years to cure, 100 years to disintegrate. The stucco of a 1930's house is at maximum strength. – Bryce Dec 15 '17 at 15:30

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