As a contractor specializing in remediation and repairs, I've been concentrating for years on fixing failed applications of EIFS and traditional stucco. I've learned from experience that most stucco failures result from improper flashing and drainage details behind the stucco. Typically, houses that end up with rotten sheathing and framing under the stucco don't have properly installed building papers and flashings. In recent years, I've been finding more and more cases of leaking and rot behind another material that is very similar to stucco: cementitious manufactured-stone veneer, or "cast stone," as it is sometimes called. The problems we are finding with cast stone are just like the problems we've seen with incorrectly applied stucco. But the weather detailing flaws we identify in artificial-stone jobs often cause even greater problems than the errors made with stucco. With cast-stone veneer, leaks and rot often show up sooner, progress more quickly, and cause more severe damage inside the wall.

After investigating and repairing at least a hundred examples, I've concluded that the problems with cast stone go back to a misunderstanding of the material. Installers as well as building inspectors have gotten used to thinking of cast stone as a masonry material, and they expect walls to get the kind of weather detailing behind the stone that...

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