Asked on Mar 23, 2018

Cracks in stucco - what to do?

by Jason
Good Morning,

My wife and I purchased our very first home in June of 2008 in Dade City, FL. It was our dream home and we planned on growing old together in it.

Very soon after purchasing we started noticing cracks in the stucco beginning to form. Everyone that we talked to at the builders, Maronda Homes, we were told they were just ”cosmetic”.

As the years went by the cracks became very large and we even developed “stair step“ cracks, where (on the garage) side, we have matching through and through cracks in the block wall in the garage. We have had water intrusion and have had a constant battle with mold and mildew in that wall.

We have the same exact “stair step“ cracks on the opposite side of the house. Unlike the garage, however, we cannot see what is behind the kitchen wall. Common sense would say there would be water intrusion and mold just like the garage.

We have another horizontal crack on the back of the house where water intrusion is obvious. In the internal wall, opposite the crack, we have had water damage to the baseboard and carpet.

Every window upper and lower have cracks coming from the corners. The first floor windows have cracks in the sills. To be clear, there are cracks everywhere you look on the house.

We obtained a law firm approximately 2 years ago. They sent inspectors and specialists to our home. They took roughly eight 2-inch core samples of the stucco on every wall and level. All 8 of these holes were filled and are STILL filled with white shrunken silicon. When the report came out, there was not a single thing about the stucco that passed the inspection. Every core sample was not up to code. It was also noted that no “beading” was found around any of the windows or sliding glass doors. We were also told that the separator between the lower and upper level was not up to code. We’ve already tried mediation but the builder, Maronda Homes, was not willing to budge. They offered to “patch and paint”, which our counsel advised against because the inspection shows that eventually the stucco will start sloughing off. Our lawyers have yet been able to get Maronda Homes to either 1.) Remove the stucco, windows, door, and redo UP TO CODE, nor 2.) Make an offer and cut a check so that we can have our home repaired.

So we are stuck. I developed an undiagnosed lung mass since moving into the home. The doctors cannot pinpoint what it is or what caused it. The cancer center would like to remove my entire middle lobe to diagnose but for quality of life, my wife and I decided not to proceed. Infectious Disease specialists tried to “kill” the mass and I had a severe reaction to the antibiotics and developed Steven Johnson Syndrome and I almost died. I have since been deemed permanently disabled and I have no immune system and I have to have 4-hour infusions once a month to keep me alive. Having no immune system means that my body cannot fight off any infection caused by mold or mildew spores.

So as you can see, we are stuck in quite the dilemma and we do not know what to do. It’s not like anyone will be willing to fix it pro bono Being disabled we are now in a very fixed income and can not afford to even attempt to fix what is supposed to be our dream home.

We are hoping to get your advice.

Thank you in advance!

Mr. & Mrs. Jason & Randi Kinney

[Examples of cracking attached]

  5 answers
  • Oh my goodness! I feel so bad for you! Your health is the most important thing. Typically when mediation fails, you start the trial process. Did you sign anything that would prevent that? What you have are construction defects and they need to be remedied - I would also think about shopping for new attorneys. You should be kept apprised of every step through the legal process, have you been receiving correspondence explaining everything? What have the attorneys told you about how to proceed. Frankly I am not surprised, every homebuilder does the same thing, hence an entire segment of the legal field is dedicated to coverage and/or construction defect practice.

    • See 5 previous
    • Stay with it and demand written progress reports. Keep us posted! Praying for you! 🤗

  • Hummingbird Hummingbird on Mar 24, 2018

    Product for repair depends on whether it is "real" stucco or "synthetic" stucco coating. (Note: Your photo looks synthetic. The process is about the same for both.) I built an adobe/stucco home in Arizona using real stucco (Combo of concrete mortar, lime). Let's face it, the earth moves, concrete does not. You may even have little earth shifts that you do not feel, depending on where you live. Weather changes also will cause the stucco to expand and contract, causing cracks. So you will get cracks no matter what type stucco home you have. I repaired them myself. 1) If bad, cut out the old stucco 2) If just cracks, fill them with stucco repair caulk (Note: If real stucco, the stuff with polyurathane shows where the repair was made. Therefore, use concrete crack repair only in that situation. Allow the crack repair to cure overnight. Then mix your mortar, sand & water (Formulas online for ratios). My stucco had colorant in it vs painted. So I added colorant to my formula as well. Use a trowel to apply a light coat. Allow to dry overnight. Lightly spray the applied stucco with water to avoid drying too quickly (esp in dry climates), apply a second coat the next day. Repeat a third day depending on the depth of stucco needed. Use rubber gloves as it is rough on the hands. This is really important: SPEND THE MONEY TO ADD SOME CONCRETE GLUE TO THE MIX. IT IS THE ONLY THING THAT WILL KEEP THAT REPAIR FROM CRACKING FOR A FEW YEARS. Good rule of thumb: 4 parts sand, 1 part portland, 1/2 part lime. Add water SLOWLY until it is lake cake batter. I am a female, age 64 and if I can do it, so can you!!! Note: If synthetic stucco, you buy the packaged stuff at a big box store. Instructions are on the bag. NOTE: Hose your wall down lightly for about a week to keep it from drying too quickly. Hope I helped!! Note: In Arizona, I someones got help if I had a bunch of cracks. Hispanic folks are extremely talented with stucco. It is in their blood. And they are the nicest, hardest working people in the world.

    • Jason Jason on Mar 24, 2018

      Thank you for your reply. My stucco is real stucco, not synthetic. The inspectors told me that. Secondly, as much as I appreciate your abilities at 64 (that is wonderful!) I am not sure that I mentioned that I am permanently disabled. My body is 71% impaired. Not to mention, my condition does not allow me to be in the sunlight for more than a few minutes or I blister. I am a Steven Johnson Syndrome survivor. Google it and it should be self explanator. That being said I will continue the legal process to get it fixed.

  • Hummingbird Hummingbird on Mar 24, 2018

    Sorry. I failed to read your entire question. As a retired claim manager my feelings are the only ones who win in these cases are the attorneys. In this case the defense attorney would not want to put you on the stand due to your severe disability -- thus if your attorney is willing to actually go to trial for you, you would have a better than usual chance of prevailing. I genuinely wish you better health and success in your endeavor.

    • Jason Jason on Mar 24, 2018

      Thank you for your kind words! As I stated in one of my earlier replies, I am just going to have to stay on them (law firm) like flies until they get results. Best wishes to you.

  • Jason Jason on Mar 25, 2018

    Dear, Hummingbird.

    I also like to spread awareness about my rare illness. If you have the time we would love it if you would check it out and possibly share. Thank you!

  • Trudi Trudi on Mar 25, 2018

    What your contractor did is deplorable, and I would tell your attorney to go after them. Also go to the contractors board, and social media. Make enough bad publicity for them and they will pay you off. I really feel bad, as I know not all contractors take the cheep rout, but this is not only poor workmanship, but causing health hazards. I Pray for you, and hope your attorney steps up to the plate.