When to Repair Stucco Cracks
Stucco is pretty durable, but with them, cracks are a way of life. Most of the cracks are not serious and do not cause any structural damage. With these cracks showing up now and then, homeowners always question when they should repair stucco cracks.
The answer is: immediately. You need to repair the stucco cracks as soon as possible every time you see one. While the crack isn’t the problem in itself, moisture seepage through the crack is an issue that can later lead to mold and dampness, resulting in serious health issues.
While hairline cracks seem small, they can spread further and create issues after a while. If you handle them now with a simple caulk, you are arresting the further spread of the crack.
Your stucco cracking can happen due to any number of reasons:
- Seismic events
- Wrong proportion
- Inadequate mixing
- Poor quality
- Shrinkage induced stress
While the last option occurs during the drying period, the rest can happen at any time.
How Serious Is the Crack?
Most of the cracks in stucco aren’t serious, like hairline cracks. However, the issue comes when these lay paths for moisture to seep inside. Once water gets into the wall, it will cause untold damage to the structure.
The seeping water softens the stucco from inside, causing it to break away from the structure. Peeing paints, wood rot, mold, swollen drywall, etc., are some of the problems you would have to face down the line.
Unlike hairline cracks, deeper and larger cracks are a thing of concern and should be dealt with at once. The more severe cracks are those whose edges have moved and not in relation to the other end. This means foundational damage, which you might want to attend to first.
What Are the Different Types of Stucco Cracks?
Though all the cracks look similar when it comes to stucco, there are quite a few different varieties. Each of them occurs due to various factors and hence should be handled accordingly.
Here are the different cracks you will find in your stucco.
- Hairline Cracks: They are the most common of the cracks and are usually harmless. Usually thin, these cracks happen when the plaster settles and also due to the construction work.
- Spider Cracking: If spiderweb-like cracks appear in your stucco, it is because your base coat did not cure properly. It may also be due to a wet mix or improper temperature setting.
- Diagonal Cracking: As the name indicates, these cracks are seen around windows and doors diagonally in nature. They happen due to shifting foundations and seismic changes in the foundations. You may want to investigate and attend to these cracks first.
- Foam Trim Cracks: Foam trim cracks indicate that your contractor did not use fiberglass mesh tape when constructing the foam trim on the stucco. This can lead to breakage over time.
- Pattern Cracking: If the cracking follows a distinct pattern (horizontal and vertical lines), then the lath is the issue. When it is not installed correctly, you may see this type of crack.
How long should stucco last before cracking?
Hairline cracks are always expected with stucco; they appear on a newly applied stucco after a couple of weeks. But excessive shrinkage cracking is not acceptable, and covering them with finish coating doesn’t work for a long time. A properly applied stucco can last as long as 50 years before needing any repair job.
How much should stucco repair cost?
A stucco repair should cost between $40 – $50 per hour. The cost depends on the time taken and also the complexity of the issue at hand. The contractors also wait between each layer for the curing process to complete, which accounts for the price.
Should you power wash stucco?
Stucco is an excellent alternative to the run-of-the-mill brick and stone walls. But its textured surface is notorious for attracting dust over a long period. However, a power wash should help you get rid of the accumulated dirt and stains.
Stucco walls are beautiful to look at. However, they are prone to cracks caused by shrinkage (hairline cracks) and other installation problems. They do not cause as much a problem at first but can lead to water damage if left unchecked.
With minor hairline cracks, you can fill them yourself and arrest the spread. But for more extensive damages like diagonal cracks, you might want to consult an expert in this matter. In short, any issues with the stucco should be handled with an urgency to help preserve the beauty.
At Wild West Painting, we have been providing professional residential and commercial painting and stucco repairs for over 25 years! Our painters provide Commercial and House painting services in Tucson, which includes Green Valley, Marana, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, and Vail. If you or someone you know would like help painting and/or repairing the stucco on your house or office building, please contact us for your free quote today.