Stucco is a popular exterior finish for homes and commercial buildings, known for its durability and attractive appearance. It’s classic yet modern, all at the same time. However, many homeowners don’t know that stucco is very brittle, despite its good looks, and can be prone to cracking. So why does stucco crack in the first place? Many variables cause it to crack, the most common is poor installation. If your home’s stucco is cracking due to poor installation, you may be able to file a claim and recover damages. Reach out today to get started.
Stucco is a fragile material when it’s not installed correctly. If your home has water or wind damage due to defective construction, you might be able to file a claim and seek damages. Often, stucco damage is caused by contractors not mixing or installing the it correctly. If you think you are dealing with a construction defect, here are a few tips:
Take Pictures of the Damage
Take pictures of the damage caused and the cracks themselves.
Ask the Contractor to Repair Everything
A lot of contractors will come back and happily repair everything. Give them a chance to make things right, and bring up their warranties.
Contact a Construction Defect Lawyer
If your contractor does not work with you, it’s time to call our office. Contractors have a legal obligation to warranty their work and should be held accountable for poor stucco installation. We offer our services on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t pay anything until we’ve reached a settlement in or out of court.
Let us put our knowledge and experience to work for you.
Why Does Stucco Crack?
There are many reasons stucco can crack. Let’s review some of the most common.
1. Temperature Fluctuations
Anyone who has seen a cracked wall knows it is not a pretty sight. Breaks can mar the beauty of an otherwise perfect finish and cause problems, from drafts to water damage. But why does it crack in the first place? Temperature fluctuation is a major cause. As the temperature changes, the stucco expands and contracts. Repeated expansion and contraction can eventually cause issues to arise. Maintaining consistent temperatures in and around your home or building is essential to help prevent any defects.
2. Poorly Mixed Stucco
Stucco can become defective if it’s not applied correctly. The stucco will be too weak to withstand expansion and contraction forces if the proportions of Portland cement, sand, and water are not properly blended. As a result, breaks can form as it dries and shrinks. We call this a construction defect. Mixing stucco is like baking a cake – if the ingredients aren’t properly combined, the final product will be a disaster. e.
If your stucco wasn’t properly mixed and your home has damage, you may be able to file a claim against the stucco contractor. Reach out to our law firm today to learn more.
Any building, from a home to a high-rise, can experience vibrations due to several factors, such as heavy traffic, earthquakes, or even construction work nearby. While most buildings are designed to withstand these vibrations, stucco is susceptible to defects. The flexible nature of stucco means that it can absorb vibrations, and over time these vibrations can cause the stucco to weaken.
In some cases, the breaks may be visible on the surface of the stucco, while in other cases, they may be behind the plaster. Either way, they can weaken the structure of the stucco and lead to further damage. Therefore, if you’ve got cracks in your stucco, it is essential to have them repaired as soon as possible.
4. Poorly Supported Stucco
Stucco must have proper support to avoid cracking when applied to a surface. Stucco is a heavy material; if it is not adequately supported, it can stress the underlying structure, leading to breaking. In addition, poorly supported stucco is more likely to be damaged by wind and rain.
As a result, it’s essential to ensure that your stucco is adequately supported before applying it to avoid breaks in your finished product. If the frame or structure that stucco is applied to is not strong enough, it can crack under the weight of the material.
5. Improper Application
Stucco is a popular choice for commercial and residential buildings because of its durability and aesthetic appeal. One of the significant causes is improper application. When stucco is not applied correctly, it can stress the material, causing it to break down over time. In addition, stucco that is applied to surfaces that are not adequately prepared can also be more susceptible to cracking.
To avoid cracking, it is critical to ensure the surface is clean and debris-free before applying stucco. Stucco should be applied in two or three coats, each about 1/8-inch thick. It is more likely to crack if applied in one thick coat as it dries and cures. In addition, if stucco is not allowed to cure correctly between coats, this can also lead to cracking. Following the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when applying stucco is essential to avoid these problems.
Stucco is extremely durable and can last for many years with proper care. However, it is not immune to cracking. Settlement is a significant and common cause of stucco cracks. As a building settles, the stucco begins to crack. That is particularly common in newly constructed buildings as the foundation settles into the ground and in areas with high clay content in the soil. Settlement can be caused by several factors, including the shifting of the foundation or poor construction.
In some cases, cracks caused by the settlement can be minor and cause little damage. However, they can be more significant in other cases and lead to structural problems. As a result, it is crucial to be aware of the potential for the stucco to crack and to have cracks repaired as soon as possible. Doing so will help prevent further damage and maintain the appearance of your home or building.
7. Poor Preparation of Substrate
When stucco is applied to a wall, it must have a solid foundation to adhere to. The stucco will likely crack if the wall is not prepared correctly before the stucco is applied. For example, if the substrate is not level or contains voids, the stucco may crack as it settles.
8. Shrinkage During Drying
As stucco dries, it shrinks slightly. This shrinkage can cause cracking if the stucco is not applied correctly. For example, if too much stucco is on the wall, it will break as it dries and shrinks. Applying the stucco in thin layers is vital so it can dry evenly without issue. Otherwise, shrinkage during drying can cause unsightly cracks in the finish.
9. Excess Moisture
Water and moisture are the big enemies of stucco. The stucco can soften and disintegrate if exposed to too much water. In addition, the resulting breaks can allow water to seep into the wall, causing even more damage. Therefore, using a quality stucco mix is essential and keeping the area well-ventilated during application.
Additionally, if water can’t drain away from the material, it can cause it to deteriorate over time. That’s why it is crucial to ensure your home has good drainage before applying stucco. Improper drainage is one of the most common reasons why stucco cracks. These precautions will help ensure that your stucco finish will be smooth.
10. Poor Workmanship
Stucco is a delicate material that needs to be applied correctly to achieve a smooth, even finish. If the stucco mixture is too thick or thin, it can cause the material to break. In addition, if the stucco is not cured correctly (allowed to dry slowly), it will be more likely to crack. Improper curing often results from using too much water when mixing the stucco, which can cause the material to set too quickly. As a result, hiring a qualified contractor with experience working with stucco is essential to avoid this problem.
Contact Wilson Reeder & Zudar Law
Stucco is a versatile and durable material with several advantages. However, it is not immune to defects. Defects can occur due to several factors, including poor installation, settlement, and thermal expansion. While some breaks are purely cosmetic, others can result in structural damage. If you need help recovering damages, contact our office today.