Q: Last spring I completed a house with manufactured stone columns on the porches on both the north and south sides. The columns on the south porch have cracked at the corners (see photos below), while the columns on the north porch are fine. The cracks are only on the two outside corners of each column, not the house side. The cracking occurred right away and hasn’t gotten worse. The deck is supported on sonotubes below frost and is all pressure treated. The columns are built like the chimney surround (which is also covered with stone and has no problems), out of 2x4 studs and plates, covered with OSB. The bottom third of each 2x4 “box” is covered with eaves membrane, and the top is covered with felt. I used wire lath, though I didn’t wrap the lath around the corners. I have built many columns using the same methods, with no problem before. The columns support LVL beams across the top. Above the LVL are monotrusses whose bottom chords also support the porch ceilings. On the north side, the ceiling is 6 feet wide; the south ceiling is 10 feet wide. The porch ceilings are tongue-and-groove boards, with no venting. Any ideas about why I’m getting these cracks?
Q: We have had good luck using the old-fashioned technique for exterior stucco: 1/2-inch plywood, felt paper, wire mesh, then 1 inch of plaster in three coats. Last year our luck ran out. We built a house on a hill where the wind just didn’t stop. A year later, one face — the gable end of a two-story two-car garage — has many hairline cracks. The stucco sub wants to put a heavy fiberglass tape over the cracks and re-stucco that face. Is this a good solution?