Material Conditions Series Part 20: Stucco Conditions

Each week we’re bringing you an in-depth look at one of the standard conditions we encounter and document during inspections of buildings and civil structures. 

Part 20: Stucco Conditions

Stucco is a cementitious coating applied to masonry, wood, or metal lath as a watertight exterior finish. Historically, stucco was sometimes colored and scored to imitate stone.

Cracks through stucco scored to imitate stone masonry

Cracks through stucco scored to imitate stone masonry

Stucco conditions include cracks; sound and failed coatings; ferrous embedments; failed sealant; prior patch, crack, and replacement repairs; various types of soiling; and areas of unsecured or hollow stucco.

Unsecured stucco separating from the brick substrate

Unsecured stucco separating from the brick substrate

Stucco is particularly susceptible to water damage; historically, stucco was often whitewashed or coated with other protective finishes to prevent water infiltration. Water damage from improper detailing, poor foundation drainage, or other sources can lead to rotten wood lath or corroded metal lath and fasteners, causing stucco to separate from the substrate. Cracking due to settlement is another common stucco condition.

Failed crack and patch repairs in stucco

Failed crack and patch repairs in stucco

Click here to see all posts in this series.

Click here for an index of all posts in this series, or download a pdf of the complete series.

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