Stucco is favored in home construction around the country, providing a durable alternative to traditional siding. When installed properly, stucco is long-lasting and largely weather resistant, providing you with a simple, high quality surface that does not rust, rot, or burn.
Despite the benefits of stucco, however, there is always a potential for problems, especially when installation isn’t properly performed. Unfortunately, many problems with stucco are not immediately apparent, creating hugely expensive repairs down the road. By taking the time to learn what’s behind your stucco, it may be possible to identify problem areas before they cause lasting damage, saving you substantial amounts of money should trouble come to call.
Cracks in Stucco
All stucco, even the highest quality options, can crack over time, even when installation has handled properly. As is the case with most concrete products, a little cracking is inevitable, no matter how hard you try to prevent it.
Cracks in stucco come in numerous different forms. Hairline cracks, or cracks smaller than 1/16th of an inch in diameter, are fairly normal in stucco properties and may not require immediate attention. Spider cracking, on the other hand, can be a sign that the base coat did not properly cure, and patterns in a wall can indicate that the wire, or lath, underneath the stucco was not properly adhered. These kinds of cracks are more urgent, and can require immediate repairs.
While cracks are a fairly obvious problem that can signify improperly installed stucco, mold may have no warning signs. Since stucco is porous, water can penetrate the surface, creating mold problems behind what appears to be a pristine wall. Synthetic forms of stucco can be more susceptible to this kind of damage.
Mold behind stucco is not easy to detect, and generally requires a professional to do so. Home construction and renovation experts know how to recognize water damage, and can often identify mold problems with help from an infrared camera. When damage gets too bad, stucco may need to be either partially or fully replaced.
Excess water penetrating your stucco can cause mold damage, but it can also cause the building materials behind the stucco to rot. These issues can be even harder to diagnose than mold, especially when there are no visible signs of water damage.
Wood rot is a very serious issue, and one that can lead to massive structural damages within a home. While other stucco problems can often be repaired, severe wood rot can require removing a wall’s exterior in order to replace the rotting wood inside. This kind of work can costs thousands of dollars, creating an expensive problem you never saw coming.
Although stucco holds many advantages for homeowners, it also can put you at risk for serious and expensive problems that could entail a complete renovation of your walls. Facing the issues involved with stucco walls may not be easy, but with the right team of professionals, you can identify damage, make necessary repairs, and take the steps needed to elevate the look, feel, and function of your home.