One of the more common architectural home styles in Arizona is the “Santa Fe.” While it is beautiful and reflects the feeling of our historical American Southwest, it comes with certain features that when not cared for properly, can become a big headache to the homeowner.
Santa Fe style homes need to have their roofs and parapet walls checked at least annually. Water damage from cracks can lead to leaking, stucco failing and in the worst case; mold issues.
When we do a Santa Fe style home or any home with parapet walls, we thoroughly check for cracks on the tops of the parapet walls and down the inside of the parapet wall. Normally we find that there are cracks every one to two feet apart. Some of our worst case homes have had cracks every six inches all the way around. And usually these are newer homes. Most of these cracks developed in the first year or two of the homes existence. Most people don’t climb up on their roof so it is a case of out of sight, out of mind.
If you have cracks on the side walls of your Santa Fe style home, it will be worse on the top of the parapet walls. When you have cracks on the top of the wall and water gets in those cracks, it needs to get out. It will either drain out of other cracks, leaks into your home or in a worst case, cause bubbling if you currently have an elastomeric coating on your home.
Elastomerics were designed to keep moisture vapor out in high humidity climates. These are necessary coatings in Florida or Houston where mold is a major problem. Not here in Prescott. Certainly if Elastomerics are applied correctly they will do their job. I have never seen an elastomeric applied according to spec here in Prescott. It needs to be applied very heavy to maintain elasticity. If not, it fails when cracks develop and then it can hold water inside like a water balloon.
To wrap it up this issue… if you call on Pinon Painting care for your Santa Fe style home, we will come back the next year to check for cracking on the parapet walls. Usually we find nothing. But if we do, I will caulk it up and you will be good to go for another year.
By the way, your flat roof should also be checked annually. I can recommend a roofer if you need it.