drdiy

Dryvit Siding & Color Matching Mortar

In Drivit Siding & Color Matching Mortar on September 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm

Dryvit Siding:

Q:

I found a home I am interested in purchasing. It was built in 2000, has a flat roof and sided with white brick and a Dryvit-looking material, which is also on the façade and parapet with PVC-looking pipes sticking out of the Dryvit for drainage from the flat roof. The roof also has two roof levels and the Dryvit-type of siding on the second floor wall abuts the roof surface.

I have been reading up on Dryvit-type of surfaces and learned that they can be a problem with moisture retention that can also cause mold or rot the underlying wood structure and because of this, regulations changed in 2000. I also read it is difficult to insure.

If this house was coincidentally listed as being built in 2000 and has this type of façade surface near or at the roof line, am I better off to walk away and continue house shopping?

I hope soon we will find the right home to have you fully inspect, we just don’t want to waste unnecessary time and resource if this is a red flag that is obvious to you and that we are better off avoiding purchasing.

A:
Exterior Insulation Finish System (E.I.F.S.) siding, Dryvit is one brand and has a terrible history of problems if not installed absolutely perfectly. I have, on occasion, seen it done properly, but that does not seem to be the norm. One key component is a drainage system installed within the system. Using a small mirror, look for plastic channels at the very bottom of the walls. You should see holes in the plastic to allow moisture/condensation to exit. If they are not there, it was installed wrong. There are numerous other clues to look for, which you can find on the internet.

The flat roof doesn’t bother me since single membrane roofing materials (if installed properly) hold up just fine. They are not like the older tar and gravel roofs that needed constant maintenance.

I don’t know if “walking away” is the right decision at this time. But, before you call to set up an inspection, walk around the exterior again. Look for cracks in the Dryvit. Even hairline cracks are significant and are indicative of a problem.

Color-matching mortar:
Q:
I did some tuck-pointing on my brick house but the mortar is a different color. Can I color the mortar for the balance of the job?

A:
You know why the three little pigs were safe from the big bad wolf? Good, clean, brickwork.

If you are planning on re-pointing old brick walls, don’t go colorblind. I’ve been asked numerous times if it’s possible to dye the new mortar to match the older mortar in a brick wall. Well, for all intents and purposes, I guess the bottom line is it’s not too likely or even possible.

Those old, brick houses, left outdoors in the heat, humidity, cold, environmental debris, as well as acids, have weathered your mortar that can’t be matched outside a laboratory.

Even if the old mortar were matched exactly in composition, the new mortar would look radically different if only because it’s clean. Here, the only answer is patience. Just let the toll of time and nature, blend the old and new. If you insist you can resort to some temporary form of surface tinting. At all costs avoid using color within the mortar itself. A colored mortar will provide a match, but only for a moment. The aging process will soon emphasize the inherent color differences that have existed between the old and new. Instead of matching colors, you have actually placed side-by-side two substances of inherently different color characteristics, which age will only emphasize.

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