New Stucco House Has Cracks, What Should I Do?

Q and A

Stucco cracks are normal and they do happen but a lot of questions I get seem to revolve around how many cracks are too many? This question was sent from Kim and the following question was asked:

Our 2-month-old home has cracks in the stucco on all sides. I’ve marked them with tape. There are more higher up, but I couldn’t reach. Most are hairline with a few credit card size. 

We looked at the house next door, same builder done at same time and they have none! Other houses by the same builder a few blocks away have none we could see from the sidewalk. What should we do? I know they rushed to finish by the end of 2023.

Kims Hairline Cracks 1
Kims Hairline Cracks 2
Kims Hairline Cracks 3
A Closeup of the Cracks

I want to start out by stating that stucco will usually crack and hairline cracks are the most common. With this said, there will be a few cracks here and there on a house, especially a new house that hasn't finished settling into its final resting spot.

What Is Wrong With These Cracks?

The number of cracks: The main thing I want to point out in this example is how many cracks there are on many different walls. If I did the stucco myself on this house, I would consider this an unsatisfactory final product, as there are too many cracks, in my opinion.

Something happened that made the cracking worse than it should have been. These can be a wide range of things from too much water in the base or finish coats, the walls dried out too quickly, the base coats or finish coat froze, the finish was applied too soon and a couple of other reasons that could have had a negative impact on the finished product which resulted in more cracks than what is typical.

The Age of the Home: Since this is a new home, you could request to have the cracks fixed and more than likely, a warranty of some sort will likely be provided. This is not the case in every circumstance, but it is worth mentioning, especially if the surrounding homes don't have cracking issues like this one.

One thing to note is that a new house will settle for a while and more cracks may appear over time, even if the previous ones were fixed, so if it is possible to wait a couple more months, it would be better so any new cracks that appeared will get fixed as well.

Keep Records: Be sure to keep an email trail of communication for yourself so you can provide details on when you first reached out and noticed the problem and the answers you received. Photos with the tape in all areas is also a good idea to show how many are on each wall too.

What To Do About The Cracks Now?

There is only one thing to do now and that would be to have the problem fixed because cracks can let in more water than you want and can potentially wear down the water-resistant barrier prematurely, which I have seen happen many times on walls with excessive cracking.

Fixing the Individual Cracks: When I see issues like these, especially on houses that are part of a subdivision, where many homes are built almost at the same time, the stucco company will send someone out and fix the individual cracks, as it is the cheapest and fastest way they can remedy the problem.

I want to be clear that this is a valid method to fixing these cracks and it is in no way a shortcut approach, but at this stage, it is the most likely path forward to fixing these cracks, since they appeared.

Applying a Recoat on Some Walls: If I was bidding a job that had many cracks in the wall, I would opt to have an entirely new coat of stucco finish applied to those walls because there are simply too many cracks to address them individually.

This might be an option for you, if you can get the company who originally applied the stucco to agree to do it by explaining to them that it would be faster and more cost-effective to just apply a new finish coat on the wall.

This would work as long as there weren't any major issues contributing to the amount of cracks that were appearing. If there was an underlying issue that did not get addressed and a new finish coat was applied, the cracks could reappear later on.

About the author

The Stucco Guy

My name is Ryan and I have been a licensed stucco contractor for many years and I feel that there is a huge "knowledge gap" when it comes to stucco, in particular. I hope you find the information here useful, and if you have a question for me fill out this Q & A form, so I can answer those questions better. Thanks for stopping by!

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