If you’re a homeowner in Miami, FL who is considering having stucco installed on your home, it’s important to be aware of the potential problems that can occur with a stucco installation. Let’s discuss some of the most common problems that can happen when installing stucco and what you can do to avoid them. By knowing what to look for, you can make an informed decision about whether or not stucco is the right choice for your home.
Stucco Cracking and Types of Cracks
There are several reasons that cracks can occur in stucco. Most cracks in the finish coat are aesthetic in nature and do not damage the integrity of the building structure. Craze cracks are one type of aesthetic crack that looks like fine, short cracks. These can be caused by an excessive amount of water in the stucco mix or rapid drying of the stucco wall.
Shrinkage cracks are another type of crack that is mostly aesthetic in nature unless the cracks are more than ¼” wide. Shrinkage cracks are caused by different thicknesses of stucco on the wall, improper stucco curing, application during hot, dry windy weather, or insufficient control joints.
Stud cracks are straight-line vertical fractures, which appear over or near framing studs. These can be caused by warping or twisting of studs, shrinking studs, vibrations from heavy traffic, vibrations from machinery, and severe blows from swinging doors. Stud cracks can be aesthetic in nature if they are smaller than ¼” in width. Cracks that are larger than ¼” may indicate more serious problems. An inspector or engineer needs to review the building to look for other problems.
How Cracks in Stucco Are Repaired
If cracks are very thin they may be brushed with a resin and overlaid with a thin application of patching material. If the crack is wide enough a paste-type patching material can be inserted into the opening.
Prepare the wall for patching by:
- Dry scrub along the edges of the cracks with a stiff-bristle brush
- Brushing should remove all loose stucco as well as collected debris
- A hose may be used to clean out debris from the opening
- The wall must be allowed to drain and dry prior to patching
- An acrylic resin and a patching material can be purchased from a building supply store
- The acrylic resin should be brushed along the crack opening
- Immediately afterward insert the patching material into the crack to just above the level of the stucco
- Keep the filled crack moist for two or three days after with an occasional gentle spray of water
- If the finish is acrylic stucco does not keep moist until the day after application, as the liquid acrylic needs to convert to its solid-state first.
- If the finish is cement stucco a patch that matches the existing color may be difficult to achieve. Fog coating is suggested to fix this problem.
Stucco’s Color Problems
Variations in color on stucco walls are a problem that does occur. The variation may appear as a difference in color from one wall to the next or as blotchiness over the entire surface.
The reasons these variations can occur include:
- Very hot or very cold weather, problems with mixing the stucco, or using different batches of stucco or pigment from the manufacturer.
- In cement stucco, it is very difficult to achieve dark colors, and mixes often end up lighter than the chosen color. Manufacturers warn against darker colors for several reasons. It is wise to have your contractor make a sample of the color before applying it to your home.
- Acrylic stucco needs to be applied at temperatures above 4 degrees Celsius. The acrylic will not harden normally if temperatures go below 4 degrees for a 48-hour period after application.
Addressing Color Problems in Stucco
Cement stucco can be Fog coated to fix a variety of color problems. The Fog coating will even out the existing color or can be used to change the color of the building.
Although acrylic stucco cannot be Fog coated, in severe cases another layer of acrylic may be applied to the finish. Another option is painting the acrylic.
Efflorescence is a deposit, usually white in color that may form on the surface of masonry or concrete construction. It usually emerges just after the completion of a structure.
Even though it is unappealing and usually harmless, these deposits can occur within the material’s surface pores, leading to expansion that may
disturb the surface.
What Causes Efflorescence?
Efflorescence is caused by a combination of circumstances. First, soluble salts must exist in the material. Second, moisture must be present in order to dissolve the soluble salts.
Third, evaporation or hydrostatic pressure must cause the solution to move toward the surface. And fourth, in order to leave the salts behind as efflorescence, the solution must evaporate. In particular, efflorescence is affected by temperature, humidity, and wind. In most cases, salts that cause efflorescence come from beneath the surface, but chemicals in the materials can react with chemicals in the atmosphere to form efflorescence.
The soil in contact with the basement and retaining walls is another basis of salts. It is difficult to anticipate efflorescence and when it will appear, due to the many issues that influence its formation.
However, efflorescence will not occur if:
- soluble salts are eliminated
- moisture is eliminated
- water passage thorough the mass is prevented
Interested in Stucco Installation in Miami, Fl?
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