Stucco is one of the most commonly found materials on the exterior of buildings, especially houses. Its cheap and long-lasting qualities make it highly sought after. Eventually, it can begin to wear down, once you know what to use to repair stucco cracks, the labor itself is quite simple.
What is Stucco?
Stucco is a cement-based siding mixture used to texture or finish exterior surfaces. It is commonly used for home exteriors because it is cheap and relatively durable. With time, stucco can begin to crack. Some cracks can be ignored, but there are certain situations where stucco cracks can be incredibly damaging to your home.
There are a few different types of stucco cracks. Some can be repaired easily by the homeowner, and others may require professional assistance. Either way, it is wise to know when stucco needs to be repaired and how to identify signs of cracking.
If you live in or are thinking of moving to an area with a rainy climate, this may be especially important. Sinkhole Maps Florida is a great resource for which areas are more susceptible to climate issues that affect housing exteriors.
If stucco is applied to a home with a concrete block surface, it is directly applied as a wet liquid mixture and dries in place right on the siding.
For wood-framed homes, an underlayment is attached to the wood frame. Above this layer is a metal netting onto which the stucco is applied, which allows it to stick to the wood frame. Understanding these differences can help identify how to repair damage to your stucco, and what to use to repair stucco cracks.
Identifying the Issue
If there are stucco cracks on concrete block homes, water can enter underneath. Water is absorbed by the concrete, just as rain soaks into your driveway or sidewalk. This can potentially lead to water damage in your home.
For wood-frame houses, water can enter through the cracks in stucco and rust the metal netting. This could result in stucco popping off entirely because the adhesive will wear down. If stucco peels away, you will likely need it completely removed and replaced.
There are a few different types of stucco cracks, some more severe than others. Below is a list of the four most commonly found stucco cracks as identified by Waypoint Inspection and how to spot them:
- Hairline cracks: Hairline cracks are less than one-eighth of an inch thick and can typically be repaired by the homeowner. They are identifiable by regularly observing the exterior siding of a home and noticing any cracks in the surface.
- Spider cracks: Spider cracks take the shape of a spider web and are generally larger than hairline cracks. They typically result from poor stucco application.
- Pattern cracks: Pattern cracks take the shape of a pattern and are usually a sign that the metal netting on top of the wood frame was installed improperly.
- Diagonal cracks: Diagonal cracks are usually larger than one-eighth of an inch thick and generally result from the structural shifting of a home. If not addressed promptly, they can affect the structural integrity of a house.
Fixing stucco cracks can be a tedious process, but we’ve outlined everything you need to know from the necessary tools to basic steps you can take to make reparations. After understanding what to use to replace stucco cracks, you’ll realize that you’re more than capable of taking care of small chips.
If you’re wondering what to use to repair stucco cracks, you can use these common tools:
- A bucket of water to mix your stucco patch with.
- A scraper to clear debris away from the surface.
- A rubber float (a small flat tool with a handle that allows you to press the stucco patch onto the surface and spread it around. These can be found at any hardware store or online at Amazon).
- Caulk and a caulking gun.
How to Repair a Stucco Crack
You can repair hairline stucco cracks in a few steps with common tools.
First, you’ll want to use a scraper to rid the cracked area of any dirt or debris. Once the section is cleaned off, create the stucco mixture. Mix a stucco patch with water in a large container (the portions will vary depending on the size of the crack you are trying to repair).
When the mixture is created use a rubber float to apply the patching material onto the cracked area. The stucco layer should be no more than a quarter-inch thick.
After application, allow the stucco to set in. Continue applying quarter-inch thick layers until the cracked area blends in with the rest of the surface.
Fill small cracks with a paintable caulking material before applying the stucco patch. Using a caulking tube, gently squeeze the caulk through the nozzle onto the crack.
Before the outermost coating of the stucco patch dries, remove any excess solution with a clean rubber float. Blend the damaged area into the existing surface and allow it to dry. Lastly, clear any remaining debris from the area.
Preventing Stucco Cracks
There are some preventative measures to minimize your risk of negative consequences from stucco cracks like water damage in your home.
The best way to prevent this is by having stucco applied by a professional to ensure quality. Unwanted plant growth that is in direct contact with the exterior of your home can keep it wet and prone to cracking.
Paint over-worn down areas when necessary and regularly check the exterior of your home for hairline stucco cracks so you can repair them before they spread or lead to damage.
Stucco is a material found on the exterior of lots of homes. By knowing how to identify cracks that need repair, you will be better able to keep your home structurally intact and prevent water damage. The first step is to understand your home’s surroundings.
Repair hairline cracks at home in a few short steps with a caulking gun and stucco patch. Taking good care of your home and checking for cracks is the best way to keep your house safe.