Adding expansions joints to an older home

Would you ever recommend adding expansion joints to 60+ year old masonry or stucco walls in good condition that doesn’t have them?

Or would that be overkill because most of the settlement that will happen has already occurred, along with many changes of the seasons and there apparently wouldn’t be much benefit to them?

Usually, I did not make recommendations specific like that, (cutting in expansion joints.). I let the qualified professional, that I referred out, make his plan of attack.

I mean, what would happen if adding expansion joints made it worse?


Yea, that’s essentially what I’m thinking.

And I generally try not to prescribe repairs, but it has seemed to me that some defects necessitate it. Like if an exterior window isn’t caulked, it feels like I’m qualified to say “you should put some caulk there”. Or at least, more generally, “seal” it.

In the context of expansion joints, I know if a new construction masonry home was missing expansion joints, I’d mention that. But something about recommending that they cut a line down the exterior of an old house seems weird.

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No, it’s been performing for 60 years, why fix something that is not broken?


60 year old construction techniques were different than today. Just because todays building need something to function properly, doesn’t mean an older structure needs the same, in fact, I would warn against it without an engineers review of the situation. If something is necessary, an engineer should make and prescribe that correction.


thank you for the confirmation. its funny because I remember this topic from my coursework, but sometimes my mind insists on connecting the dots again in real time.

much appreciated!

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There are engineers that specialize in the area of masonry expansion joints design. I drew plans for a project in Chicago once, big custom home, and remember had those guys reviewing plans and locating the expansion joints.
Interesting stuff but definitely not in HI sop.