Stucco siding questions

Hello friends, an aspiring home inspector here.

Firstly I would like to ask a general question about stucco. I live in SW Florida where masonry is commonly used along with two or three coat traditional stucco for residential buildings. Stucco is water wicking, assuming its not polymer based, and so is masonry (in particular, CMU). So wouldn’t water wick into the stucco, into the concrete block, and into the interior? Or is a moisture barrier placed behind the concrete block here in this SW Florida region?

My next question pertains to the pictures attached. Under this large window are lots of step cracks and the stucco continues all the way to the ground. Could all this damage be a result of the stucco being in contact with the ground? As far as i can tell this is a hardcoat stucco system, based on the fact that the stucco does not give to thumb pressure and sounds solid when tapped. The second picture shows some damage above the window. I included it to give a better look at the interior wall system. Looks like two coats and a CMU right behind.

Additionally, there are no weep holes of any sort visible. Shouldn’t a hardcoat system have a way to drain trapped water?

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My recommendation is to read this. All of it, especially if in FL where you will see multiple types of stucco systems.


that looks like painted cmu from Ohio…

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The typical CMU/stucco detail in your area is a light coating, enough for a knock-down texture effect on the block. Almost always applied incorrectly and too thin, that’s why you can see the block.


Looks like mortar parging with a coat of paint.

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You will see that to some effect on at least half the block homes you look at. Sometimes I see it at the 1 yr warranty inspections.
That one is a little more extreme, likely applied too thin, like Dom said, but not a structural issue.
Typically all you do is recommend caulking and painting to prevent moisture intrusion into the block.

Some builders will paint a layer of water seal on the block first, others will apply it only under the openings, and most will apply nothing. That’s why it’s imperative to keep up with paint and maintenance on these homes. If the paint is peeling, or getting chalky when you run your hand over it, it needs to be painted again.

I don’t call out a structural concern unless the crack is growing in size, wraps around a corner, or is diagnol above the openings.

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Looks the same fro N. MI

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Thanks Daniel. the stucco going all the way to grade is fine?

Yes, very typical. The footing/monoslab extends 6"or so above grade, then block on top.
The stucco isn’t typical stucco that requires weep holes… there are no layers, other than usually just a base coat, and a finish coat/ texture.
It covers the block, and extends down over the footing, to grade.
If you see stucco over wood frame, usually at the second floor, then it should always have weep holes, or a weep screed.


Appreciate it!