How Can You Tell If A Stucco Crack Is Structural?

If you’ve got cracks in your stucco, you may be wondering if they’re serious enough to warrant repairs. But how can you tell if a stucco crack is structural?

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at some of the signs that indicate a stucco crack is more than just cosmetic. If you’re concerned about the state of your stucco, read on to learn more!

What is Stucco?

Stucco is a type of plaster that is commonly used as an exterior wall covering. It is made up of a combination of cement, sand, and lime, along with various other materials such as fibers or acrylics to create textures. It can also be applied in layers over concrete or masonry walls to give them a finished look.

Stucco is usually painted after it has been applied and is highly durable. Stucco is a great choice for exterior walls because it is resistant to moisture, rot, and insect damage.

It also provides excellent insulation from heat and cold, making it an energy-efficient option. A stucco wall will last for many years if properly maintained. Stucco or render is also used as a decorative element in architecture.

But, even with its durability and protective qualities, stucco can still develop cracks over time. While some of these cracks are minor and harmless, others could be indications of structural issues that could lead to significant damage if not addressed quickly.

Signs of a Structural Crack in Stucco

If your stucco has sustained a crack in its surface, it can be difficult to tell if the crack is structural or simply cosmetic. However, there are certain signs that you can look for to determine whether the crack is more serious and require more serious attention. Here are some of the things you should watch out for:

1. Horizontal and zig-zag-shaped cracks
Horizontal and zig-zag-shaped stucco cracks are typically caused by movement in the building structure. This can be due to several causes, including weather, temperature changes, settling, and foundation movement.

These types of cracks can indicate that the underlying structure is failing and needs attention. It’s best to investigate these problems early on before they become more serious issues. If you find these types of cracks, contact a professional for an inspection.

2. Vertical and stair-step-shaped cracks
Vertical and stair-step-shaped stucco cracks may indicate a problem with the wall itself rather than the building structure or foundation. These types of cracking can be caused by thermal expansion, water infiltration, poor installation of the stucco, or a weak base substrate. If these cracks are found, it’s important to identify the cause and address it as soon as possible.

3. Diagonal or stair-step cracks
Diagonal or stair-step cracks indicate a structural issue and should not be ignored. These types of cracks usually form when the foundation shifts or settles below the stucco. This causes the stucco to separate from the wall, leading to small diagonal or stair-step cracks along the walls.

If left unrepaired, these cracks can worsen into larger gaps, leading to more extensive damage. Regardless of the severity of the crack, it is important to have a professional inspect your home for structural damage.

4. Separation of the stucco from the wall
If you notice that the stucco has separated from the wall, this could be a sign of structural damage. This is especially true if there are other signs of movement such as cracks in the drywall. These separations can lead to further deterioration and will require professional repair.

Separation could be caused by drooping, cracking, or shifting of the underlying structure. To repair the separation, a professional will use an adhesive to hold the stucco in place and then patch and paint it accordingly.

5. Cracks around doors, windows, or corners
The corners of your home are the most vulnerable areas to cracks. If you see any signs of cracking around windows, doors, or corners then it is likely a structural issue and may require immediate repair.

Additionally, open joints near doors and windows can be a sign of settling foundations as well as stucco movement due to seismic activity. The best way to determine if the cracks are structural is to consult with a qualified stucco professional.

6. Cracks 1/8 of an inch or larger
A crack in stucco that is 1/8 of an inch wide or larger should be inspected right away as it could indicate a structural issue. It’s important to look at the size, shape, and location of the crack to assess how serious it might be.

Cracks that are wider than 1/8 of an inch may be a result of movement in the structure of your home or building, as well as pressure or stress on the stucco. If you notice any cracks that are over 1/8th of an inch wide, it’s best to have a professional look at them right away.

Overall, it’s important to be aware of the different types of stucco cracks and their potential causes. If you notice any signs of structural issues, such as horizontal or zig-zag shaped cracks, vertical or stair-step-shaped cracks, separation of the stucco from the wall, or cracks that are 1/8th of an inch or larger, it’s important to contact a stucco professional immediately.

Contact us and get a free estimate for our stucco repair services today. We will inspect your property, identify the source of the problem and provide you with a comprehensive solution that is tailored to meet your needs.

Causes of Structural Cracks in Stucco

The most common causes of structural cracking in stucco include:

  • Foundation movement – Over time, natural soil shifting and settling can cause the underlying structure of your home to move and settle, leading to cracks in your stucco walls.
  • Exterior water damage – If you have an improperly installed roof or gutters, exterior water can seep into the walls and cause them to expand and contract, which can lead to cracks.
  • Wind damage – Strong winds can also cause cracks in stucco, especially if the walls are not strong enough to withstand the pressure.
  • Heavy loads – If you have heavy items stored on the roof or your home’s exterior, the walls can become stressed and crack.
  • Age – Over time, stucco can break down and become brittle, leading to structural cracks as well.
  • Poor drainage design – If water is unable to properly drain away from your home, it can create buildup and cause cracks in the stucco.

These are just a few of the common causes of structural cracking in stucco walls. If you notice any of these issues on your home’s exterior, it is important to address them right away to prevent further damage. It is also important to be aware of the signs of a structural crack in stucco, so you can determine if it’s serious enough to require a professional repair.

Contact Old Pueblo Stucco for Help

If you have any suspicion that the crack in your stucco is structural, it’s important to act quickly and hire a professional inspector or contractor. Don’t hesitate to contact an experienced expert who can properly assess the damage before it becomes worse, leading to more expensive repairs down the road. Furthermore, getting a timely assessment may even help you save money on your insurance premium!

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