stucco cracks

Help! My 18 month old stuuco is cracking. Cracks are horizontal at about 2 feet on center and general alligator cracking all over, especially at corners. Stucco is on galv. mesh on wood frame structure. Mason (#$$!!!**^!!) used only 2 coats of stuuco (instead of 3) and topped it off with 2 coats of masonry paint. I had another mason look at it and he said it was "horrendous". He thinks either wrong sand was used (brick sand?) or mesh was stretched wrong. He suggested elastomeric paint. I don't want to use the elastomeric paint on the painted stucco because we have water problems in area as well and I want stucco to breathe. I have been monitoring the cracks and they seem to have slowed down. Should I patch the bad ones with stucco patch and repaint or will cracks below just come right through? Remesh and restucco with 3 coats???
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Robin wrote:

Can't address the basic cracking problem, only covering. We have stucco on concrete block, Florida. 40 yr. old building. We had quite a few hairline cracks prior to painting by good prof. contractor. They used a brushable caulk on cracks prior to priming and painting. None of the cracks have reappeared, and the caulk doesn't telegraph through the paint. We were told, for this climate, acryllic paint better than oil for the breathability; have also read about the same. Our condo chose to go with one coat of paint rather than two. Our old paint job was horrible - didn't caulk around windows, probably didn't prime or clean prior to painting. The old paint job had lots of blistering, with mildew under the coat of paint, and lots of peeling. The "new" paint job was done in 2001 and still looks great.
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You could have major structural issues with your stucco. Stucco is not waterproof and as water gets behind it must have an avenue of escape (drainage). This has become a bigger and bigger problem in the past 10 or 15 years as homes have become more efficient and sealed tighter with house wraps etc. Water used to dry to the inside of older homes but on new homes it can't. As a result it will destroy stucco.
Start at this website to get the basics of stucco problems / solutions. Good Luck
www.badstucco.com
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thanks for the website info. I'll try to email them.
snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

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thanks for the website. I'll contact them.
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Parlallel cracks at two feet sounds like the mesh was not put up correctly. Water behind the stucco suggests flashing problems. Water between stucco and wood frame promises rot. I'm working with a contractor repairing that kind of problem and it is expensive. I would look for a forensic architect or engineer to document the problem and suggest a fix. TB
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