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  • Writer's picturePetru Luchita

Why Stucco Fails and Stucco Cracks ?

Updated: May 7



Looking Beyond the Surface

Stucco has been a popular choice for home exteriors for years, known for its aesthetic appeal and durability. However, even the most robust materials can fail, and stucco is no exception. The irony is that stucco itself often reveals the problem last. The real trouble begins where you can't see it—when water penetrates behind the concrete stucco, absorbing into the sheathing and framing. This can cause extensive hidden damage, risking the integrity of the building's structure.


The Hidden Culprit: Water Damage

At first glance, a well-applied stucco finish might seem impeccable. For instance, consider the chimney shown in accompanying photos. It features a chimney cap, the correct flashings, and a proper stucco to stone transition. Yet, upon closer inspection, there's significant water damage and dry rot. Why stucco cracks?


Understanding Stucco Failure

Stucco problems often stem from a failure in application or from using inadequate construction materials and techniques. One critical element is an efficient drainage system that allows stucco to expel moisture. Homes constructed between 1993 and 2006 are particularly at risk due to outdated building codes that were in place during that period.


Not Just a Simple Stucco Cracks

Cracks in stucco can occur for various reasons—house settling, shrinking, missing control joints over large areas, or simply poor stucco installation. In this chimney's case, though, the cracks and resultant dry rot arose from a chimney cap that was poorly installed without sufficient overhang and a drip edge. It's a subtle but significant oversight that can lead to major damage.


Conclusion

Stucco failures and stucco cracks are preventable with proper installation and materials. It's important for homeowners to understand that issues may not always be visible on the surface. Regular inspections by professionals can help spot early signs of failure, preventing costly repairs in the future.

Stucco cracks, Dray rot, stucco damage
Why stucco fails and stucco crack

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Going Beyond
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