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Orange County Home Inspector talks about stucco cracking

 What do you say about stucco cracks? Well, it depends; first you have to consider where the cracks are. Are they at the coroners of the widows and at the corners of the doorframes and do they move in a diagonal direction or are they horizontal? How wide are they? Often times, most of the cracks appear on the side facing the sun. The reason for cracking on this side is that the sun heats up the stucco and at night is cools back down. The expansion and contraction contributes to this tendency and especially does so if the stucco was originally applied wet in the morning and dried in the sun in the afternoon.


Stucco application is similar to roofing installation in the sense that the cement stucco is there to prevent the underlying building paper from getting damaged or dried out. The tar-paper building envelope is what keeps the water from reaching the framing just as the roof tiles or shingles protect the roofing underlayment from being dried out or damaged. The paper keeps the water out, not the shingles.


There are cases when stucco cracking is an indication of foundation failure and this has to be considered. By using a licensed B contractor as your home inspector you are more likely to get professional opinion on the status of the foundation.


To some extent, the stucco cracking is a cosmetic issue. If the cracking is excessive I would consider speaking with a C-35 lathing and plastering contractor to evaluate the damage. If the cracking is not excessive I would hesitate patching it because often times the patching is more visible than the cracking itself.



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