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Old 10-27-2009, 02:10 PM
 
16 posts, read 70,249 times
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Default Are these stucco cracks caused by structrual problems?

I'm a first home owner and don't know much about the house maintainance stuff. About half year ago, I found some stucco cracks around my house, which was built in 2006 and I bought it last year. The cracks under one window is pretty bad and I was really surprised/shocked that neither the house inspector nor I even noticed that when we did the house inspection. I searched internet and also asked friends for advices trying to understand whether these cracks could be caused by structrual problems. Surely I asked builder first but their reply is that these cracks are just normal... I sincerely hope some experts here would give me some ideas about how serious they are. Great thanks in advance for your help.
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Are these stucco cracks caused by structrual problems?-crackabovefamilyroomdoor.jpg   Are these stucco cracks caused by structrual problems?-crackabovegaragesidedoor.jpg   Are these stucco cracks caused by structrual problems?-crackabovevault.jpg   Are these stucco cracks caused by structrual problems?-crackunderwindow.jpg  
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Northern California
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Try the House forum.

But it is normal for new houses to settle a little bit. Don't worry about it.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:24 PM
 
Location: Mountain Ranch, CA The heart of Calaveras County
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Definitely this falls into the normal category, but you probably should go ahead and seal them up either with mortar (if you're talented with that material) or with a silicone based caulk (Ask the homestore folks which one is appropriate). There is also a product known as "pick-proof" caulk which has some fine grains of sand in it that they use for places like jails.

You may have some matching paint to use to cover the repair or the builder may still have some.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:31 PM
 
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Where are you living? (On a hill, flat land, etc.) Do you know what type of soil you have under your house? (granite, sand, etc.)

What town do you live in or what part of California?
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:28 PM
 
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Great thanks for all the inputs. HumboldTrat, could you please give me any info about the house forum? When I googled the answers for "stucco crack issues", I got a couple of posts from city-data. That's why I posted my questions here. Anyway, thank you so much for your suggestion. UB50, I'm living in San Diego. I have no idea what the soil udner my house...;-((( What I know is the foundation is concrete slab...
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Old 10-27-2009, 03:47 PM
 
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The reason I asked is because we have tons of tiny earthquakes in parts of the state and they can cause those small cracks too. Cracks like that are pretty common.
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Old 10-27-2009, 04:11 PM
 
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UB50, Thank you so much for your info. There was a mild earth quake close to SD around April 09. I felt that tremble...Maybe that is the culprit...;-))
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:03 PM
 
Location: NC
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Do you have hard coat stucco or the kind that is stucco with a thorolastic coating over the foam? You should have expansion joints above & below the windows. I would worry more about water seepng in the cracks than the aesthetics since wood is underneath.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Mountain Ranch, CA The heart of Calaveras County
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The basic cause of cracks in stucco (not the hairline types) is that wood continues to move until it reaches it's absolute dry state. If one is building a house, one doesn't want to use wood in it's ultimate dry state because it's very hard to drive nails into it, and while in it's "wet" state it's much straighter. Nailing the framing members tends to keep them straight as they dry, but they still move just a bit. Since the exterior sheathing, building paper, wire lath, and stucco is attached to the wood, if the wood moves a bit the other materials are bound to travel in formation. The stucco layer is the most solid and when push comes to shove, the part that provides evidence of what's happening underneath.

Because windows have wood structures that run both vertically and horizontally, the wood moves in different directions at the corners. This is why you see cracks form at those locations. In a perfect world, the time between framing the house and placing the stucco would be months, not days. This is obviously impractical as a building method. As Goodgal suggests, the important thing to do is to keep water from intruding into the subsurface.
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Old 10-27-2009, 05:52 PM
 
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DMenscha, thanks for your very enlightening analysis. With all these great inputs, I feel much relieved now. As long as it's not a problem caused by foundation or structural issues, I'm okay with it. I ever followed some instructions from internet to put some cauk (latex with silicone, Clear color) into the crack under the window. The crack is still visible and somehow I could not clean the cauk very well. So now from a distance I could see the dirt-like "patches" on the wall. I'm trying to find some stucco paint to cover it. Is this the right way to do that? Thanks again for your help.
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