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Does Your Stucco Need Help? Here’s How to TellMarch 25th, 2016 by
Made with lime, silica sand, and cement, stucco is a common siding material for buildings and homes. It’s a durable product; in fact, a great stucco installation job can last for decades. Unfortunately, as the material ages, it will show signs of stress—particularly in the form of hairline cracks. These cracks should be treated swiftly, as delays in stucco crack repairs can lead to larger problems.
The Dangers of Stucco Cracks
Cracks in stucco siding are not only bad for curb appeal, but they can also negatively impact the home. If left unattended, hairline cracks can grow larger, which can lead to further structural problems. Cracks can allow in moisture, leading to water damage, and larger cracks can give bugs an entrance point into the home. Stucco cracks can also damage paintwork and become a breeding spot for mold and wood rot. To avoid these dangers, it is important to discover the causes of their stucco problems and make repairs.
Common Causes of Stucco Problems
Stucco structural problems can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including man-made disturbances, weather issues, and natural wear and tear. The following are some of the most likely culprits:
Foundation settlement. When the soil beneath the house compresses or is washed away by floods or heavy rainstorms, it can lead to foundation settlement. This can cause vertical cracks in foundation walls and exterior stucco.
Water infiltration. If water permeates the home’s structure (such as through excessive water around the home’s foundation), it can gradually deteriorate the lath and other material behind the stucco, resulting in cracks.
Weather circumstances. While stucco is considered a weather-repellent siding, wind, heavy rains, and humidity can weaken the material over time.
Vibrations. The external vibrations from nearby construction sites or heavy traffic can lead to cracks in stucco siding as well.
3 Stucco Crack Repair Tips
Prep accordingly. If possible, homeowners should address the causes of cracks before making repairs; otherwise, the cracks will likely return. For instance, if water-damaged stucco is found around the foundation, it was probably caused by water pooling at the base. By adding gutters before making the stucco repairs or talking to a foundation repair specialist, you can help ensure that the problem does not reoccur.
Be sure the conditions are right. Temperatures that are too cold, hot, dry, or windy can cause damage to new stuccowork, so it’s important to do the job when the conditions are just right. You should also make sure that the stucco mixture is the precise consistency, or else faults will show when the stucco dries.
Be precise and quick. Before getting started, the damaged area should be cleared of the old stuccowork. Next, any exposed lath should be covered, additional mesh should be added, and new stucco should be applied. The stucco mixture dries rather quickly (30 to 90 minutes), so it’s important to mix the stucco and work swiftly and efficiently.
If a home has more than just a few cracks, it may be time to call a local professional who will offer great advice and service for stucco repair work.