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Thread: Cracking Stucco

  1. #1
    Mark Garbutt's Avatar
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    Default Cracking Stucco

    My house is 1 year and 10 months old. The concrete stucco on the rear of our home is cracking in several places on the exterior of the patio area. No cracking is seen on the interior side of the stucco around the patio area. Can someone tell me what is going on with this?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    Concrete takes a year or more to completely cure, so there is a bit of shrinkage, although it should be minimal. The wood framing dries out and shrinks a bit. Stucco can't shrink, so it cracks.
    We need to know more about the type of construction and the type of stucco. Best for a local inspector familiar with normal building practices for your area take a closer look. Then you will have a report to take back to the builder.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    looks like eifs to me but would have to be poked to know for sure
    if you can poke an ice pick type tool through it with a firm push it's eifs.
    If it's impermeable, it's some type of cementios siding.
    As John said, get someone out there to check it.
    You don't want water penetrating behind EIFS
    Google it


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    You don't want water intruding behind anything (especially without provisions for drainage).

    Yes there is cracking, but very little can be determined from the photos. As previously stated, get someone that understands building envelopes to look at the whole picture.

    Steven Turetsky, UID #16000002314
    homeinspectionsnewyork.com
    eifsinspectionsnewyork.com

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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    Doesn't really look like EIFS to me but can't be sure from the photos (OK, from looking at the columns it may be).
    Wayne, is that how you identify EIFS !!!
    Either way, cracks as shown may mean moisture behind the stucco that needs to be dealt with.
    Find a good stucco guy in your area to take a look before it gets worse.

    Last edited by Benjamin Thompson; 09-06-2012 at 10:34 PM.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    I agree, this doesn't look like EIFS. Some easy ways to tell is 1)knock on the siding with your knuckle. If it sounds like hollow wood, most likely EIFS. If it sounds like a dull thud, then probably stucco. 2) Look at exterior penetrations for circular boring to accommodate faucets for example (typically found on EIFS system). 3) This may be a single or two coat system (paint). Look around exterior doors and windows for the greyish color of the cement (stucco).

    These do appear to be settling cracks. You can call the builder or the contractor to seal this area with a water resistant sealer. There should be flashing behind this system. At the bottom edge, you should be able to see/feel a metal lip (weep screed) that will have holes for the water drainage from the flashing behind the stucco system. These should not be covered or plugged to properly drain water.

    The rule of thumb in the desert SW is a major crack is, if you can insert a nickel or quarter in the crack. Keep in mind, we have 2.5 inches of rainfall per year. Stucco will inherently have hairline cracks, particularly around doors and windows. Your area may be quite different depending on the humidity and storms. This does look like Vegas or possibly AZ from the photo background.

    Depending on the temperature and weather as to when the stucco was applied and the framing expansion/contraction, and the drying, this could also cause some cracking.

    Last edited by Lee Taylor; 09-07-2012 at 09:57 AM. Reason: Correct mis-spelled word

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    It's a Louisiana hacienda with pillars. Would they apply expensive insulation to a row of pillars? If not, then it is not EIFS.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    Ben, Sometimes you just have to poke it.
    Typically No, I can tell by looking at it.
    But for a homeowner on his own house, to determine what it is for sure.
    Why not. small hole can be sealed very easily.


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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    And if the icepick comes out wet, you know you have problems
    Just push on it with your thumb, if it flexes it's EIFS.

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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    Quote Originally Posted by Lee Taylor View Post
    ...you should be able to see/feel a metal lip (weep screed) that will have holes for the water drainage from the flashing behind the stucco system. These should not be covered or plugged to properly drain water...
    I believe those holes are there for the stucco to key into, not for water drainage. The weep screed is there for water drainage, yes, but not through the holes.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    Quote Originally Posted by John Arnold View Post
    I believe those holes are there for the stucco to key into, not for water drainage. The weep screed is there for water drainage, yes, but not through the holes.
    Correct.

    Weep screed is available perforated or non-perforated, both are weep screeds and both have the sloping bottom that weep screeds have.

    The perforated weep screed is, as you said, John, perforated to allow the stucco to key into the holes. The holes have nothing to do with the ability to weep water out.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    Correct.

    Weep screed is available perforated or non-perforated, both are weep screeds and both have the sloping bottom that weep screeds have.

    The perforated weep screed is, as you said, John, perforated to allow the stucco to key into the holes. The holes have nothing to do with the ability to weep water out.
    And my main reason for pointing this out is that we don't want home inspectors flagging weep screeds that have those holes filled with stucco, on the grounds that this will block proper drainage.

    "There is no exception to the rule that every rule has an exception." -James Thurber, writer and cartoonist (1894-1961)
    www.ArnoldHomeInspections.com

  13. #13
    Ken Santell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cracking Stucco

    The cracking is in the 1-2" corner gaurds so it is definitely stucco. The other cracking is where the headder or joists meat the column support. All the signs point to ground settling and the foundation shifting. Make sure the builder got a soil report prior to building and hopefully he set the piers deep enough to stabilize the foundation. For now the best solution would be to remove the finish coat, seal the cracks with elastomeric caulk, grind smooth then re-coat the finish coat with the integral color.
    If it cracks again, repeat the steps then sell.


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