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The Inspector's Journal

Old Stucco Cracks and No Flashing


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This 90+ year home had vertical cracks below many windows but the stucco does not appear to be loose. Is caulking the best maintenance advice?

Also, the old stucco homes I see rarely have any visible flashings or weep screeds and appear to be doing just fine. Comments?

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It's an entirely different mix and system for the old places; no weep screeds, no nothing.

Is it wood or metal lath? The wood stuff sucks, and it's everywhere. The old metal lath stuff (think River Forest) is about 1 1/2 inches thick and laid on a multi-tiered substrate system.

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Why are the cracks so straight? I assume they must be following a joint in the substrate. In my neck of the woods a house that old the substrate would be horizontally applied boards, which wouldn't have a vertical joint like that.

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Hi,

Around here there're pretty much the same until you get into the crawlspace and find out that was is backing up and overflowing the mudsill into the crawl and is rotting the mudsill because there's noplace for the water to go when it gets to the bottom of the wall.

I wouldn't be too concerned about the vertical cracks, they're all appearing in places where you'd be required to install an expansion joint under today's rules. If you caulk them with a polyurethane it'll crack out. A stretchable acrylic like Big Stretch would work better. I'd still leave them open a little at the bottom to allow any water to seep out of that lamina though.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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