Volume 53, Issue 8

Back in March, I introduced you to this house in my neighborhood and let you know that a young fellow in Minnesota was arrested for not finishing his siding installation. Well, I’m happy to reveal that the siding installation at Annunciation and General Taylor is complete! Is the structure ready for occupancy? That, I don’t know. Without stairs to the front door, I’m guessing the answer is no. But I digress.

The real reason I bring this up again is not on account of siding but, rather, cladding in general. We’ve been talking a bit about stucco in our office and it reminded me that I wanted to elaborate on my previous “Monthly Spectator” article. I wanted to raise an issue that was loosely referenced in a news article about the young man’s arrest that I had not adequately illuminated: It wasn’t so much that siding installation was incomplete. A warrant for the young man’s arrest was issued after he installed stucco on his house (which was cheaper than fi nishing the siding, presumably). An excerpt from another news article on the subject goes like this:

“… he was instructed in no uncertain terms: Finish the siding or go to jail. In order to comply, Faber and his wife spent $12,000 to put a stucco facade over their house’s plywood exterior. It wasn’t enough: Last November, Faber was arrested after city inspectors concluded the work wasn’t up to code.”

Shortly before I moved to New Orleans, there was a suburb of the Twin Cities that had more or less issued a moratorium on building homes with stucco: A study had revealed that roughly 60% of homes with stucco cladding built since the late 1980’s (during a building boom) had evidence of rot, repairs for which were so costly that the municipality decided to enforce a strict policy about building with stucco in order to prevent future homeowners from incurring costs they couldn’t bear. It wasn’t long before we were all detailing fiber-cement board panel siding in lieu of stucco! So, as usual, I’m curious: will the trend of stucco installation in new construction in New Orleans follow suit? Stay tuned to your Monthly Spectator…

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