Stucco Chimney Repair: Everything Homeowners MUST Know!

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For decades, stucco has been used as a finish material for chimneys because it is long-lasting, affordable, and attractive.

Initially, stucco was used primarily in dry, sandy environments, but its application expanded to various climates over time. Like any construction material, stucco may deteriorate due to exposure to elements such as rain and snow, necessitating proper maintenance for optimal functionality.

In this article, we’ll explore essential aspects of stucco chimney repair, including factors that cause it to deteriorate and whether insurance covers stucco-related damage. Continue reading to learn more. 

Are Cracks On a Stucco Chimney Serious?

chimney stucco cracks

Cracks are a primary indicator of stucco chimney damage, typically caused by exposure to elements such as ice and water. Cracks on a stucco chimney cause the following issues:

  • Water damage – Water typically runs off the stucco. However, it eventually seeps in and causes damage since stucco is a porous material. This is the main reason why stucco chimneys were originally found only in dry regions.
  • Mold growth – Mold thrives in damp environments. So, when there is water in the stucco, mold will thrive. Exposure to mold spores leads to health problems such as wheezing, runny nose, and coughing.
  • Wood rot and discoloration – This is normally caused by moisture entering the chimney structure through the cracks on the stucco, and it is a clear indication that you need to repair your chimney.
  • Structural issues – When water enters your chimney through the cracks in stucco, it affects your chimney’s structural integrity. If the problem is not fixed, you will eventually have to do costly chimney repairs.

Remember, discovering cracks on stucco can be difficult, especially when they are small.

That’s why the NFPA recommends having a professional chimney inspect your chimney annually to reduce the extent of the damage.


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What Causes Stucco to Fall Off From a Chimney?

Over time, stucco normally falls off if water seeps into it. While most water will run off, some will get into the stucco and cause cracks. It can also fall off if it is not applied correctly.

If you want to apply stucco to your chimney, hire an experienced chimney sweep to do it.

Let’s discuss stucco in detail:

What is stucco?

Stucco is a construction material utilized for covering surfaces such as concrete, blocks, cinder, and metal. It enhances the visual appeal of these surfaces while providing water resistance solutions.

Stucco was originally made of sand, water, and lime and was used as a water-resistant wall covering for homes. The lime was replaced with Portland cement to improve the durability of the stucco.

Stucco is also the main material for covering the exterior of commercial and residential buildings  in some parts of the United States.

How To Apply Stucco On Chimney

Originally, builders applied stucco directly to bare surfaces. Today, metal lath is used as the base, supporting the wet stucco and the necessary tensile strength when it cures.

Stucco can be applied using a three-coat method or a one-coat method:

  • Three-coat method: The first layer is known as the scratch coat and can be applied using a machine or hand. The surface should have a horizontal or criss-cross pattern to provide stability. The second layer is only applied when the first layer is fully cured. The second layer is thicker and provides a smooth surface for applying the final layer. The second layer usually takes around a week to fully cure.

The last layer, the finish coat, is the one that makes the chimney visually appealing. This is because you can customize it according to your preferences.

You can choose your desired color and use an acrylic finish or cement. Acrylic resembles paint, while cement provides a classic look.

You can also paint your stucco chimney, but you will have to wait about 6-7 weeks after applying the stucco.

  • One-coat method: As the name suggests, this is where you apply one coat of stucco. Fiberglass is typically added to the mixture to reduce cracking.

What Does Water Damaged Stucco on a Chimney Look Like?

It is easy to identify a water-damaged stucco if you know what to look for. Here are the most common signs:

Cracks on the stucco – Cracks are the most obvious sign of damaged stucco. In the early stages of damage, the cracks are tiny, increasing in size if you do not take action immediately. Inspecting the chimney for these cracks will require climbing to the top of the chimney and letting an experienced chimney sweep do the inspection.

Missing stucco – You will notice pieces of stucco missing. The widening of cracks usually causes this. Check the area where the roof meets the chimney for signs of stucco.

Discoloration – You will know the stucco absorbs water when you see dark spots. The water will also cause wood rot and trigger mold growth.

Can You Apply Stucco Over Brick Chimney?

Over time, bricks can deteriorate and lose their aesthetic appeal. Applying stucco over a brick chimney can be an effective solution. To do this, follow these steps:

Step 1 – Clean damaged or chipped bricks with a wire brush, removing all loose pieces.

Step 2 – Apply a bonding agent to the bricks, ensuring the stucco adheres well and lasts longer.

Step 3 – Apply the stucco to the brick.

While it might be tempting to do this yourself, it’s not recommended for inexperienced homeowners, as mistakes can easily occur during the application process. Instead, contact a certified chimney sweep in your area for assistance. 

A professional can inspect your chimney and recommend the most suitable repair approach.

Can You Apply Stucco Instead Of Rebuilding Your Chimney?

technician fix stucco on chimney

While many homeowners might decide to rebuild their damaged chimneys, applying stucco can be a cost-effective alternative, particularly for those on a budget. Keep in mind that stucco primarily serves as a temporary solution to prevent further deterioration.

The decorative stucco overlay’s base coating is designed to seal the cracks in the damaged bricks. It also makes your chimney waterproof, preventing water damage problems.

The texture coating is then applied to provide the masonry chimney look. You can then color the stucco overlay to give it a field stone look.

As for maintenance, you will only need to apply a sealer every three years or so to keep the stucco overlay in excellent condition.


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Stucco Chimney Repair Cost?

Repairing a stucco chimney usually costs $60 to $120 per square foot because it is more complicated than repairing a wall.

Your chimney sweep will inspect the chimney to understand the asses the extent of the damage and provide a quote.

The final quote normally depends on other issues, such as accessibility and the square footage of the chimney stucco.

If the chimney only has hairline cracks, it will be easier to repair and cost you a few hundred dollars.

However, if there is extensive water damage, you may need a full stucco replacement which can cost thousands of dollars. Check out this chimney repair guide.

Does Insurance Cover Stucco Damage?

Stucco damage is usually covered by homeowners insurance but under the following conditions:

  • The damage must be provable.
  • The damage must have occurred after obtaining the insurance policy.
  • A certified company should have applied the stucco.

Keep in mind that the type of damage can affect compensation eligibility. For instance, some insurance providers do not cover water damage. Discuss the policy benefits with your insurance provider to determine the extent of coverage.

Hire A Professional to Repair Your Cracked Stucco Chimney

DIY stucco chimney repairs can result in multiple fixes, financial losses, and potential injuries. This is why using a professional chimney company is vital. Chimney sweeps have been in the industry for a long time and have the expertise to repair your cracked chimney while also evaluating it for any additional required repairs.


Stucco is still one of the most popular and affordable chimney finish materials. If you don’t take food care of it or apply it properly, it will deteriorate and cause issues like water damage and mold growth. If you want to apply stucco over your chimney, hire a licensed chimney sweep to do it.

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Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.