Can stucco cracks found in a home inspection leak?
Can stucco cracks found in a home inspection leak? Absolutely. Case in point. As a water intrusion specialist and testing agency, we’re asked to test all sorts of things. Items such as stucco walls, windows, decks roofs… the list is quite long actually. For Santa Clarita home inspectors, we find that their job isn’t to determine whether cracks in stucco walls leak. Actually, its really as a generalist. This is to say, they’ll simply identify a stucco crack for you. So, what’s the real deal with Stucco Cracks and Water Leaks?
As a Santa Clarita home buyer, this identifying a stucco wall crack isn’t enough. As a matter of fact, one of the most common questions asked during a Santa Clarita home inspection is whether or not stucco cracks leak. Let’s face it… I’d ask too if I wasn’t a professional water intrusion specialist. Furthermore, you cannot rely on a realtor to help here. Understandably, it’s not their place to comment on cracks in stucco walls. Although they might call them common, they really have no place in making such comments.
What do most home inspectors say about Stucco Cracks?
Regrettably, I feel as if the home inspection business has rendered itself useless in providing home buyers with genuine building analysis. Mostly because of realtors and their role in the Santa Clarita home inspection business. Nevertheless, inspectors are not required to be Santa Clarita water intrusion specialists. Still, you as a buyer are almost guaranteed to leave your inspection scratching your head. Afterward, you must now call a specialist to water test cracks thought to be of issue. In other words, this means you shell out a few more bucks for yet another inspection.
How can the Santa Clarita Home Inspector be of better use to the buyer? Easy, become more knowledgeable in stucco, building envelopes and what makes water leak through a building. Essentially, the cracks we tested in this video were thought (documented) to be superficial. Nothing was further from the truth. Moreover, the cracks were even considered structural.
Thermography is useful tool in spotting wall leaks, however, there must be water applied to the exterior for this equipment to render any useful results.
Santa Clarita homes and stucco cracks issues
First, the homes in Santa Clarita are by-n-large clad in stucco. Are all the cracks we see structural or stucco cracks that leak? Of course not. That said, however, you really never know. As a matter of fact, as a testing agency, we’ve tested cracks as small as 3/16″ that leaked. & We’ve even tested walls without cracks that leak. Of course, one needs to use discernment when evaluating stucco walls.
In fairness, stucco walls will crack. It’s just a fact. When you have a rigid material, applied to another substrate like wall framing, there’s bound to be movement. Movement of a building will come in the form of expansion and contraction of the different building materials. Not to mention settlement.
By the same token, older homes with older stucco systems and building protective barriers are subject to age and thus deterioation. Grandfathering is a term I hear quite often, however, it has little to do with stucco and stucco cracks that leak water. I think most home buyers assume because the wall is built to an older code or whatever… its not subject to improvement? Not quite sure. But I can tell you I’ve witnessed first hand complete walls where the building paper has all but rotted away.
As Santa Clarita home inspectors, these guys should not be using a one-size-fits-all approach in diagnosing stucco wall cracks. However, as “generalists” what more can a home buyer expect? My advice based on our testing of walls, windows, roof’s and deck’s is just cautious when drawing a difinative conclusion as to whether or not stucco cracking leaks or does not leak. Always inspect the inside of the building and never just the exterior. When in doubt test.
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