Stucco Crack Keeps Reappearing, What Should I Do?

Q and A

Today's question comes from Dan and the question is regarding a crack that is on an inside corner that has been repaired using caulking but keeps reappearing. This is not too common of an issue but does happen from time to time.

Stucco Crack on Inside Corner

Question from Dan:"Will installing an expansion joint at the corner resolve repeated cracking, or should I open the corner and leave it separated completely? Multiple repair attempts by the stucco company, including caulking, have failed and left the corner unsightly."

Hey Dan,

From what I can tell in the image, the crack seems to be pretty big and I can see slight separation, as well. This (in my opinion) would signify movement of some sort and might be why the caulking is not working.

It is hard to diagnose without looking at the entire wall and seeing what else in the area or what materials were used on the house. I also am not sure what type of caulking was being used or how exactly it was being applied, but I think adding a control joint like you asked, is a good idea, as long as there aren't any underlying issues.

A Proper Fix with Control Joints: Since the crack is forming vertically on the inside corner, a control joint made for inside corners would do the trick nicely. I've installed these myself and I think they might help you with your problem, if it is just minor movement.

These are different from your "standard" control joint, which are made for flat walls. These will have a bend to them and fit nicely in a corner. They also provide the gap right in the center of the corner, which will allow for some minor expansion and contraction but shouldn't crack the stucco.

Overview of the Installation Process:

  1. Remove the existing stucco at the corner, about 4–6 inches on both sides, making sure you do not damage the paper and wire underneath.
  2. Cut the wire and fold it back and place the control joint over the corner, spanning both walls, and secure it, on top of the building paper.
  3. Butt the wire mesh against the edges of the control joint and fasten it back into place.
  4. Reapply the stucco up to the edges of the control joint, blending it seamlessly with the existing surface.

Final Thoughts: After the install is complete, I would recommend periodically inspecting the joint, especially after heavy rains or hot weather, to ensure that it remains in good shape and continues to perform its function effectively.

Be sure to keep an eye on the rest of the building for signs of movement. If you see similar cracking elsewhere, or if the new joint doesn’t resolve the issue, it might indicate a more serious problem that requires a professional assessment.

Remember, stucco is a rigid material that doesn’t tolerate movement well, so while control joints are designed to manage typical expansion and contraction, they can’t compensate for significant structural shifts. If you have any doubts about the nature of the cracking, I recommend consulting a structural engineer to rule out any serious issues that could be causing the movement.

Hope this helps!

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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