Cement Plaster cracking around windows

I’m not familiar with cement plaster. I presume that’s the finish on the house, it doesn’t appear to be stucco and it isn’t EIFS. I noticed cracks down the length of the windows but couldn’t determine a cause. Has anyone else seen anything like this? I didn’t see any other signs to indicate foundation problems so I presume it’s something specific to the plaster.

Thanks for any info you can provide!

Anthony, there are two different materials, brick and plaster/mortar, that expand and contract at different rates. Hence the cracking.

The should have left a space between them and installed backer rod (foam coils) and caulked on top of that to keep the moisture out.

At least that is what I see… :smile:

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Hey Larry, Thanks a bunch for the info. I’ve searched all over for “cement plaster” and brick trying to find some information. I saw plenty of stucco and EIFS, but very little that matched what I was looking at. I appreciate it!

That looks like the brown coat for hard coat stucco. What they did is fill in the gap that was there before the brown coat was applied, since it is thicker in the gap, it shrinks due to the dry coat on the sheathing.
As Larry said, that needs to be filled with backer rod and caulked once the L-bead is installed and the finish coat.
As messy as the application looks, I would not let that applicator continue. LOL

are we looking at a finished product?

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Thanks Marcel! Yes, we are looking at the finished product. The house is 12 years old and has this brick with the plaster/mortar all over.

Looks nice from afar, sloppy work from upclose.


It seems to be a style choice I guess. I’ve seen it on plenty of homes here in the Birmingham area. Here’s a closer look.

It still looks like a sloppy brown coat unfinished. Fire the guy. LOL

I wasn’t even talking about the mortar coat, rather the sloppy brick work and its joints/pointing and bits and pieces everywhere. Some style! :laughing:

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My pleasure, Anthony… :smile:

portland cement plaster (stucco) is often applied over brick veneer seen telegraphing thru to mask prior brick failure and/or structural movement cracking
advise client to consult the agents & owner for the engineer records for foundation repairs & repair recurring cracks as needed, watch their facial expressions for flinching due to non-disclosure, seen it way too often
neither brick or stucco are considered a water barrier & both absorb & release impact water be it naturally occurring or man-made from improper irrigation (i tell clients their home & assets won’t grow from watering)
therefore backer rod & caulk have nothing to do with keeping water out but can control & lessen the cracking at all dissimilar material intersections & is advised, at least in my report

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I use to call that Santa Fe style. If it looks like a 10 year old built it, it will go for high dollar in Santa Fe.

It seems to be missing the mud stop at the windows and probably at the door also.

I thought they changed their mind after having the veneer put on :slight_smile: people with money do crazy things, right!

I agree with Barry, that coating would make me very, very curious.

SR maybe right
my bet is masking disclosed or undisclosed prior damage
bama does have regions of expansive clay
i’d write it hard as a hi or stucco specialist
thanx DW
10k+ eifs mañana if shitty as expected based on client concerns i’ll post pix

“Cement plaster” is just a general term. “Cement” means that it contains cement and “plaster” means that it’s applied soft and cures to a hard condition. It describes a lot of different systems/materials.

It looks like they parge-coated most of the exterior. They often use mortar for parge coats, but you never know what material someone will use. Parge coats are often used to hide problems or as a sacrificial covering for a deteriorating exterior wall cladding. Some of these are pretty brittle and that’s when you get thermal cracking, especially at the intersection of materials, like Larry mentioned . Some include polymers that provide better flexibility and durability.

If the home is 12 years old, the application of that material is almost certainly not original or it would be in much worse condition. I don’t think anyone would apply that to a nice brick exterior on an expensive home unless there was a problem of some sort so, what Barry said.

Also, it could be a stucco brown coat like Marcel suggested but covering brick with stucco would still be a response to a problem.

To evaluate the risk associated with whatever-it-is, it would have to be identified. I think the only way to ID it is lab testing.

Appears to be Rendered Exterior Masonry Walls.
The brick window trim should have been separated from the rendering with a J flashing to prevent render chipping.
Refer to licensed masonry contractor.

Wow, a plethora of information! Thanks everyone for boosting my education and thoroughly describing what it is I’m dealing with. I greatly appreciate it!