Every time it rained, water would soak the carpet under the windows of an acquaintance's Southern California condominium. Built about 20 years ago, this former apartment complex had a standard three-coat stucco and lath finish applied over building paper stapled directly to framing; 2x6 rough-sawn wood trim was nailed through the stucco around the windows and horizontally around the entire building. Because the window, trim, and surrounding stucco appeared to be undamaged on the exterior, I suspected that water was probably following the trim's nails right through the stucco and into the walls.

When we went inside the house and opened up the gypsum wallboard underneath the window to expose the wood framing and the building paper, we found an enormous amount of damage. Not only were the framing members water-stained and starting to rot, they were also damaged and infested with termites. The king, trimmer, and cripple studs underneath...

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