Stucco is quite popular among home owners, architects and contractors because of its durability, efficiency and affordability as well as superior aesthetics. Stucco can stand against hurricane force winds, water damage and last a lifetime, if installed properly.

On the other hand, it is prone to problems like holes, cracks, bulges, water damage etc., when not installed properly. Unfortunately, it is also not protected from the damage, particularly, holes that the woodpeckers and other birds may cause to it. Other reasons include water intrusion, cracks, missing mesh and poor installation.

So what causes holes?

Water Intrusion

Holes cause water damage, but sometimes water damage or water intrusion may cause holes in stucco; it is indeed a common issue nowadays. There are a lot of reasons water can get into the stucco siding or behind the system easily.

Once the water is in, it starts to fester in and around the wood as there is no airflow. It also weakens the moisture barrier and the mechanical equipment or the fasteners that was used to install the foam, thus it may also be destructive for the Alpha Base Coat thus the holes become persistent.

Holes cause because of water damage become persistent and get worse over time, until you fix the water problem. It also increases the possibility of more and more holes over time.


Sometimes Woodpeckers choose to peck at stucco. Literally, they just do not care whether it is wood or not, if they can only peck at it. They peck holes to look for bugs and make stucco a home. That’s why they return to the holes even if they find no bugs in there.

Whenever a woodpecker loses its home (cutting down the tree with its home), it looks to create a new home around the same spot following the natural instincts. At this point, it can peck at your wall’s stucco, as it is not hard to peck in it. Once the woodpeckers in the Lamina of EIFS, it can then curve out a small area in the EPS foam very easily. Eventually, causing a hole it makes its home.

Cosmetic Holes

Cosmetic holes refer to the holes that are popped willingly or mistakenly by the teenagers or anyone. They can just pop a hole in the walk. Sometimes, any huge impact may also create holes in stucco.


Cracks, both thin and large, may result in huge holes in stucco if left unfixed for a long time. When there is any stress on the underlying membrane, cracks become visible in a huge number. These cracks can take the form of leaks behind the wall. It can take form of issues like moisture freezing under the surface or other water damage issues over time.

If you don’t fix these cracks from the source permanently, they will turn into big holes.

Missing mesh

Even if you use hard-coated foam, you have to use mesh under the final coat. Particularly, the corners are more susceptible to damage, so mesh is a must for the corners.

Be it hard coat and hybrid EIFS or yellow foam, use mesh, specifically the corner mesh to reinforce the areas. Otherwise, it will remain prone to mechanical damage and problems like holes. Crack will be an everyday occurrences. You repair the holes today, you will find new holes a few days later.

Unsuitable use of flashing also increases the possibility of corrosion and pops a lot of holes around the seams.

Skipping steps and materials

During the installation, all steps must be followed and all equipment must be placed properly. If any of the steps is omitted, it may lead to problems like holes. For example, if the contractors don’t use chunks in the insulation, it can later result in holes. Gradually, it will cause water damage, and damaging the EPS insulation board, it will cause holes in the stucco.

How can I prevent Woodpeckers?

Remember, they are a protected species. So you cannot just kill one, even if you want; you will need permission to do so. What you can do is annoy them:

  • Just hand a few clear fishing line side by side the columns. It can work fine and annoy them to leave your home.
  • You can bring a big rat-trap. Then set it up in the wall and put a few bait in it. This may work fine.
  • You can use a chemical treatment called Ropel, which you can find it in any farm supply houses.
  • Placing stuffed or inflatable predators like owls, snakes, birds of prey work very fine.

What problems can stucco holes cause?

Basically, the substrate and moisture barrier on stucco determine how much damage will occur. Most of the stucco-built homes have a cloth-based moisture barrier and a substrate of OSB. Stucco holes may cause a wide range of problems over time.

  • When your wall’s exterior cladding has holes, the cloth-based moisture barrier also has holes in it. Consequently, the foam absorbs the moisture that gets under the stucco siding. The mechanical equipment or the fasteners that was used to install the foam and moisture barrier become weak gradually. The foam then allows moisture to penetrate the wood substrate.
  • Behind the stucco siding there is no ventilation system. The absence of airflow allows the moisture to be festered around and in the wood. Therefore, the more time you take to repair the holes, the more troublesome it gets; the wood starts to get rot.
  • Then these trapped water, or moisture into the stucco siding may cause stains and spots on the stucco gradually. Moreover, it may cause stucco discoloration in some circumstances.
  • In the winter, it gets worst. Winter causes severe problems out of the moisture trapped behind the system. Whenever it thaws and freezes, the moisture absorbed by the foam starts to stretch and breaks down the cement coat gradually. This continues throughout the winter making the Alpha Base Coat comparatively weaker than before. Eventually, the system starts to crack, and even splits into thin layers.

Why is it important to repair holes in Stucco?

You have to repair holes in stucco today or tomorrow. However, it is very crucial to repair any kind of holes in stucco as early as possible. Certainly, the holes in your stucco-built home, be it traditional stucco or synthetic stucco, look dreadfully awful; only this reason suffices to get those holes fixed without any delay. Nevertheless, apart from the aesthetic value, there are other reasons to get those fixed as well.

Whenever it rains, the stucco siding gets moist; water or moisture penetrates through the holes. When it comes to stucco, water is a very dangerous thing. Even if you remain indifferent about a few holes around the whole house, they can suffer you in the long run.

You can take measures to prevent stucco holes. However, it is never fully possible to protect your stucco from getting holes in it. Therefore, it is wise on the part of every stucco homeowner to fix any type of stucco hole as early as humanly possible. Such vigilant move can save you a lot of time and money eventually. Besides, it can ensure your homes longevity as well.

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