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dubone

Why is fake stucco bad for urban developments?

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I have often heard negative comments about fake stucco on urban developments. I have generally just accepted the comments, because it sounds like a low cost/low quality material. What are some examples of fake stucco, and what makes them so bad?

I'm not totally sure I know the difference between fake stucco and real stucco. Is it only where chicken wire shows through holes? I notice that City View Towers at 5th and Graham is getting stucco siding, does anyone know whether it is fake or real?

In future developments, such as trademark and 230 S Tryon (where the rendering does not appear like stone/block/brick masonry, glass, or other typical building material) is it assumed to be stucco? (e.g. are the white sections of Trademark painted concrete, or stucco or something else?)

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From what I have heard, it just doesn't hold up well at all. I'm no expert on the subject, but if you get up close to it, you can tell it's fake. The apartments I lived in while I was in Charlotte are fake stucco. It looks nice from a distance, but when you get a closer look, and actually feel it, you can definitely tell.

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There were also serious moisture problems with the fake stucco when they first started doing it around here about 10 years ago...Huge lawsuit....I don't know if the technique has improved or the technology...but it definately is not desireable.

Fake stucco is like a boob job...bottom line is that it's fake and just not as good as the real thing.

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Do you know if the stucco they are putting on the city view towers is fake?

Is its negative association just a matter of the problems it causes in the building, or a matter of the appearance of the building?

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Do you know if the stucco they are putting on the city view towers is fake? 

Is its negative association just a matter of the problems it causes in the building, or a matter of the appearance of the building?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I thought that the bad reputation of fake stucco was just a hangover from the big lawsuit days and that they'd actually fixed all the problems.

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Can't you kick a hole right through some fake stucco walls? To my knowledge usually fake stucco is a thin coat of stucco spread out over styrofoam boards. I know one bad thing about it is that after a few years many times you can see the styrofoam or plywood behind the stucco as it starts to fade. It usually just doesn't hold up well. Real stucco is also very attractive and when I see a building that is fake stucco I always imagine how much better it would look if the stucco were real.

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Can't you kick a hole right through some fake stucco walls?  To my knowledge usually fake stucco is a thin coat of stucco spread out over styrofoam boards.  I know one bad thing about it is that after a few years many times you can see the styrofoam or plywood behind the stucco as it starts to fade.  It usually just doesn't hold up well.  Real stucco is also very attractive and when I see a building that is fake stucco I always imagine how much better it would look if the stucco were real.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Sounds like the discussion is turning to poor manufacturing and construction methods, not necessarily the inherent properties of stucco itself. Is it that the "fake" stucco can't be applied thickly enough, or just isn't because it is part of a typically low-cost construction technique?

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Sounds like the discussion is turning to poor manufacturing and construction methods, not necessarily the inherent properties of stucco itself.  Is it that the "fake" stucco can't be applied thickly enough, or just isn't because it is part of a typically low-cost construction technique?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

This might help us understand:

http://www.insurancejournal.com/magazines/...tures/19241.htm

It was a learning experience for me. Looks like it isn't really made of fake materials, just not as much cement as old style stucco.

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that crap is being applied to a 5 story luxury condo building in downtown raleigh called the dawson. you can even see in the renderings that there is more brick and now its got that crap.

its really bad at street level because anytime something hits it, like handtrucks from a delivery guy, it goes right through it and leaves it mangled.

I know the hilton/hampton complex in downtown charlotte has it. those are the tallest buildings i know of in charlotte that use it.

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Thanks for your comments. I think i have noticed how some stucco looks moldy, and then others have the chicken wire hanging out when they get a whole. The stucco they are applying to City View Towers seems to be applied directly to the yellow insulation board, but i am still not sure i know if it is fake or real.

I am beginning to think that as far as urban design, stucco is probably okay except where it is used to appear like something other than stucco, or it is applied in the lower levels where pedestrians can clearly tell that it is junk (and where holes happen easily.

I think in the applications where it is flimsy and easily punctures are the biggest problems, because developments that are made to be disposible or are more characteristic of sprawl and are not suited to the more permanent urban context.

Fake stucco is like a boob job...bottom line is that it's fake and just not as good as the real thing.

I wonder if this is what the Raliegh CIAA article was talking about. :).

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This is not meant to be a defense of "fake stucco" (EIFS... Exterior Insulating Finishing System), but from an architectural perspective this is the story:

Stucco is a 1/4 inch of cementitious coating adhered to a wall with mesh.

Historically "real stucco"was spread over walls that were made out of an inexpensive material (way back when... it was brick or block) in order to make them look better.

Today "fake stucco" is the extact same 1/4 inch of cemetitious coating. The only difference is that today, the cheapest material we have is styrofoam.

The reason it often times looks funny, is that it is inappropriately detailed. Architects design mountains of classical ornamentation, built all out of styrofoam, without proper consideration of proportions, and then cover it all with stucco and paint.

"Real stucco" looks good to most people mainly because the walls that it is adhered to are made out of a heavy materials that must, inheirently, respect laws of gravity, and subsequently the classical proportions that the public is accustomed to seeing.

As for fake stucco having problems with rot, mildew, termites, and a whole host of other things.... those are more a factor of the design and detailing of the backup material system (styrofoam, sheathing board material, stud wall material, etc....) than the stucco itself.

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I tell you what though, I would still take fake stucco 100 times faster then vinyl siding. But in an urban environment, I don't think anything easily damaged is a good idea.

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