When it comes to exterior finishes, it cannot be denied that stucco is a popular choice. This is due to its durability and aesthetic appeal. Note that it is prone to certain issues though, just like any other building materials, and the development of cracks is among the many problems you may face. Understanding why stucco cracks occur can help building owners and builders take preventive measures.

Structural Settlement

Structural settlement is a common cause of stucco cracks. As a new house settles into its foundation, natural shifts in the structure can lead to cracks. This is particularly noticeable in the first few years after construction.

The severity of these cracks depends on the extent of the settlement. Minor settling can cause hairline cracks, while significant movement may lead to larger fractures. Monitoring these changes early can prevent major structural issues.

Thermal Expansion and Contraction

Temperature changes can cause stucco expansion and contraction. This thermal cycling puts stress on the stucco, often resulting in cracks. The problem is exacerbated in climates with extreme temperature variations.

To mitigate this, the use of flexible acrylic finishes over the stucco can reduce the risk of cracking. These finishes allow the stucco to adjust to temperature changes more gracefully.

Improper Installation

Improper installation of stucco can lead to early and extensive cracking. If the stucco mix is incorrect or if it is applied too thinly, it is less able to withstand environmental stresses. Additionally, inadequate curing times before painting or sealing can also lead to cracks.

Ensuring that stucco is applied correctly is crucial. Hiring experienced contractors who adhere to industry standards can prevent various issues associated with poor installation.

Moisture Intrusion

Water is a significant enemy of stucco. If moisture penetrates the stucco layer, it can cause the underlying material to swell and contract, leading to cracks. Poor drainage and flashing contribute to this problem.

To prevent moisture intrusion, it is important to ensure that all water diversion systems such as gutters and downspouts are installed and maintained properly. Regular building inspections can identify potential moisture issues before they cause significant damage.

External Forces

External forces such as wind or seismic activity can also cause stucco to crack. These forces can stress the building’s frame, and stucco, being rigid, may crack under this pressure. Buildings in high wind zones or seismic areas are particularly at risk.

Construction techniques that include flexible joint compounds and enhanced framing methods can help buildings better absorb these forces. This reduces the likelihood of cracking due to external stresses.

Material Aging

Over time, stucco can deteriorate naturally due to aging. Environmental pollutants, continuous exposure to UV light, and general wear can degrade stucco. As it ages, it becomes more brittle and more likely to crack.

Regular maintenance, including proper cleaning and periodic resealing, can extend the life of stucco. This not only keeps the building looking fresh but also helps in preventing cracks due to aging.

Premier Building Restoration has the Best Services for Stucco Cracks

At Premier Building Restoration, we understand the frustration that stucco cracks can cause to building owners. We specialize in both stucco and EIFS repair services. Our team is equipped with the expertise to diagnose the underlying causes of cracks and implement effective repair solutions that not only address the cosmetic issues but also fortify the structural integrity of your buildings

If you are facing issues with stucco cracks, contact Premier Building Restoration today to see how we can help restore the beauty and durability of your building’s exterior.