Condominium Project Solves Water Intrusion Problems

The Edgewater Condominiums, with 260 units near the Atlantic Ocean in North Myrtle Beach, S.C., were built over a period of five years and completed 10 years ago. The Edgewater COA Board of Directors voted to replace the stucco on all buildings. A Level 4 Remove and Reclad was called for, and Jason Smith, AIA, senior architect of Construction Science and Engineering (CSE), knew what to specify for the 10-building condo project.    

The stucco on the 10 buildings at Edgewater Condominiums needs to be replaced.
The stucco on the 10 buildings at Edgewater Condominiums is replaced.

“I’m the most comfortable when specifying Sto systems,” says Smith. “I started working with Sto products in the late 1970’s, and if I have an opportunity to work with their drainable EIFS, I will. I can always count on their great technical and field support and I’ve never had a post-installation moisture intrusion issue utilizing their products.”

Smith specified approximately 250,000 square feet of StoTherm ci Lotusan, a continuous insulation wall system. The wall cladding integrates components including StoGuard, waterproof air barrier, StoTherm insulated cladding and drainage, and StoLit Lotusan, a textured finish with self-cleaning properties that mimics the self-cleaning capabilities of the lotus leaf. This project also used StoGuard Fabric, Sto TurboStick, Sto Primer-Adhesive B, and StoMesh.

“We assembled a strong team, with general contractor, Prime South, and applicator, Premier Exteriors,” says Smith. “It was a real team effort, including the Edgewater board, who was engaged and involved in the project from start to finish. The continuous, open communication between all the team members has been critical to our project’s success.”

Before CSE was involved, the project originally had been specified with a new hard coat stucco. Al Best of Prime South, for one, was relieved that the Sto system was decided upon. “Stucco would have been messy, and it would have taken a lot longer – at least another six months.” Best should know, he has been using Sto products since 1990 and was averaging 50 projects a year at one point.

The stucco is replaced with a Sto system.
The original stucco is replaced with a Sto system.

Smith agrees, “We’ve torn off so much stucco over the years.  Hard coat stucco requires nailing lath to the exterior sheathing, creating more of an opportunity for moisture to get in through the waterproofing if not installed properly.  By using the Sto system with a fluid-applied membrane and an adhered, drainable system, the continuous membrane serves as the first line of defense to prevent moisture intrusion issues from the beginning, and the lack of fasteners prohibits potential moisture intrusion issues into the substrate.”

The Edgewater Condominiums removal and re-clad project has had its share of challenges. “The condos have low-slope membrane and clay tile roofs and there was a lot of roof-to-wall work to be done,” says Best.  “Because of local guidelines we needed to leave the existing windows in their openings. If we replaced the windows, they needed to be high impact glass, which would have been a cost-prohibitive endeavor for the condo community.  We found a solution to that challenge with the Sto system.”

In order to avoid total removal of the existing windows from their respective openings, the team used a multi-step sequencing system by tilting the windows in and out to flash the rough openings properly. The window units were carefully cut from the interior side, flashing installed and openings wrapped with StoGuard Fabric, a non-woven cloth reinforcement which is part of the StoGuard assembly. After all of the exterior elements were properly installed, they came inside to do any necessary repairs to the existing window frame and finishes.

“There was a lot to be done in our community,” states Chris Rush, president of the Edgewater COA Board of Directors. “We were here during the entire renovation project, as were many of our neighbors, and the communication from the team was incredible.”

Monthly meetings were held with board members and the construction team, and for much of the 30-month project, Best lived on-site. “Al is the best general contractor I’ve ever worked with,” says Rush. “He and his crew were outstanding and the entire team was on top of things every step of the way. They even put notices up on buildings when work would be done. And they kept everything so clean and tidy, we didn’t even know when our own personal windows were worked on.”

To keep communication strong, monthly meetings took place with board members and the construction team during the 30-month project.
To keep communication strong, monthly meetings took place with board members and the construction team during the 30-month project.

According to Rush, the renovations had been discussed for a while before the project started. The board had been tasked to look at utility bills to find ways to lower them, including LED lighting which they had replaced. With this system from Sto they have already noticed reductions in their utility bills. “Community-wide, this year our utility bills have been significantly lower, maybe as low as a 20 percent reduction,” says Rush. “They have not completed all of the buildings yet and we had a really hot summer, so we expect next year’s bills to be even lower. We like the trend we’re seeing so far.”

Another challenge during the 30-month project was three named hurricanes; Florence, Michael and Dorian. Living on the coast, this is always a concern and luckily none were a direct hit to Myrtle Beach, however the team needed to shore up the in-progress construction, taking in anything that might blow away and making sure everything was covered. “Prime South did an excellent job making sure everything stayed secure during the two hurricane seasons,” says Rush. “Even with high winds up to 75 miles per hour and scaffolding in place, we didn’t experience any damage or water intrusion.”

The team is thrilled with the results and as they complete the tenth building, Rush says, “The StoLit Lotusan finish does a remarkable job keeping the building looking clean and new. The buildings completed over a year ago look just as good as the building they are just finishing. We’re very pleased with the end product, as well as the support, communication and the work of the entire team.” The team effort of Prime South, Construction Science and Engineering, Premier Exteriors, Capitol Materials Coastal, the Edgewater COA Board of Directors, and Sto Corp. was so successful it attracted the attention of a neighboring community in which they will soon be starting to work on. The condo community will also be using the same Sto system on its five buildings.

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