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Stucco Damage

 Stucco Damage in Earthquake

Stucco is an extremely brittle material and is not as resilient as wood siding or plywood so stucco damage is quite commonly seen after an earthquake. When stucco reaches the point beyond which it can resist the earthquake, it crumbles at which point it loses much of its earthquake resistance.

While not related to earthquake damage, even minimal foundation settling in expansive soils can cause very noticeable stucco cracking which then requires sealing with elastametric caulk that can expand and contract with the stucco crack as the ground expands and contracts.  While unsightly these cracks pose no structural hazard except the possibility of water penetration.  Water penetration problems caused by the stucco damage can be corrected with inexpensive painter’s caulk.

Stucco is part of the existing earthquake bracing system on an existing house (shear walls can be made with stucco, they just don’t perform very well,) and usually performs as an effective bracing material unless it is used to brace a cripple wall.  Below is a house where the stucco cripple wall failed.

 

Stucco Damage caused this shear wall to fail

Catastrophic Stucco Collapse in Earthquake

 

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