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Moulton Project Summary

House with trees
A Valuable Survivor
The John Moulton homestead stands out among the many vernacular log structures in Grand Teton National Park for its near total preservation as built in 1938. Among its character defining features is its distinctive: a pink-painted cement stucco exterior.
The exterior likely dates to the construction of the building in 1938. This choice for the exterior, while common for the period in urban and suburban America, was unusual in this rural Mormon community where its choice expressed the meager success of a late homesteading family in the Jackson Hole Valley. Given its high historical value, the current condition of the exterior stucco is cause for concern as it exhibits cracking, loss at the foundation, displacement, and detachment of the whole system from the wooden sheathing underneath.
Comparing Nails

An image from 1929 PCA literature exhibiting acceptable furring devices as well as nail sizes for furring out lath. The device (boxed in purple) matches that found at the Moulton homestead. (from “Plasterer’s Manual for Applying Portland Cement Stucco and Plaster.”)
The National Park Service contacted the Center for Architectural Conservation (CAC) at the University of Pennsylvania to document and record the condition of the exterior stucco at the Moulton homestead, to analyze the cause of the cracking as well as the extent of damage, and produce a treatment plan to ensure both the longevity of the structure and the stucco exterior. In the first phase of this project, a full study of the exterior was carried out including baseline condition recording, annotated drawings, and material characterization of the cement stucco to outline the extent of damage. With this information, in the second phase a series of treatments will be tested to consolidate the remaining pink paint and to stabilize the cement stucco.
A Field Sketch
Cracks were first traced onto CAD drawings from rectified photos and then  confirmed in the field. The width of the crack was noted alongside the drawing, categorized from hairline to large and displaced. 
In order to better consider the many possible causes of failure, this study explored the use of non-destructive digital tools as a method to investigate the extent, patterns, and correlation of stucco failure to associated intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Non-Destructive Tools A View in Section
Cross section of the exterior wall assembly, based on field observations and contemporary product literature. The attachment system for the stucco at the Moulton Homestead appears to have closely followed standard practice, despite a lack of construction resources in rural Wyoming. 

First, the stucco and its attachment system was analyzed through the findings of a field-based condition survey and a compositional analysis of the stucco; this research mirrors that of a traditional conditions assessment and materials characterization methodology. The study then considers the use of three different digital techniques to analyze the spatial distribution of conditions data, which builds upon the information collected during the conditions assessment. These tools provide complementary information that ultimately renders a more thorough assessment, while minimizing the use of invasive physical techniques that conflict with good preservation practice.
Comparing Data
In the first phase of the project, the principal goal for the Moulton property was to determine the cause of the cracking in the exterior stucco as well as the extent of post construction detachment. Geographic information system (GIS) software, infrared radiation thermography (IRT), and Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry are tools which have the potential to supplement more traditional modes of documentation by furthering spatial understandings and three dimensional characteristics that are difficult to calculate or record by hand. Patterns based on the comparison of the resulting graphics suggest that unseen or misunderstood conditions could be more extensive than what is observed in the field or can be communicated through typical conditions drawings. Each of these techniques provides a different and unique approach of enhancing the typical methods of condition survey. The goal of this study is to test if the findings from these methods can enhance visible phenomena. The success of this experiment hinges on the degree to which these techniques can clarify the evidence of deterioration conditions beyond traditional documentation, ultimately rendering the analysis more robust.