If you ask too many questions about how to install stucco right, you will eventually hear some discouraging anecdotes of what amounts to a conspiracy—builders knowingly installing stucco poorly to save money and hedging their bets against callbacks, warranty claims, and extensive repair work. While it may make for interesting investigative journalism and potentially protect some home buyers, that story is not what we need here to teach builders who really don’t know how to install stucco right.
Cost, however, is an important part of this story. John Koester, Founder of Masonry Technology Incorporated (MTI) told me that he believes that the residential building industry will move away from manufactured products for stucco installation—products like his company’s Sure Cavity rainscreen drainage matt—and adopt site-built assemblies using furring strips. John said he simply cannot price his product at a cost that builders are willing to pay. And it’s not the cost to manufacture the product that is the problem.
“It costs more to market and sell the product than it does to make it,” John said, “Early on I had a potential investor who asked me how much it would cost to notify the entire building industry about our products. I told him that if I had that much money, I’d retire.” John told me that he thinks builders would be willing to pay as much as $.20 per square foot for a rainscreen product to use with stucco. Though the price range varies widely for these products, none of them meet John’s guesstimated $.20 per square foot threshold.
John’s commentary is interesting for a few reasons. Like the rumor of builders knowingly installing stucco wrong, it’s another peek inside the building industry. And it’s interesting because before builders can move away from rainscreen drainage…