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My house is covered in stucco, I need to hang something very heavy on it, but I assume I'll need to know what's UNDER the stucco before I can attempt to hang everything (I'm assuming the answer is different if it's wood versus brick).

So what is the easiest yet least destructive way to determine what's under stucco? Is it just drilling a hole in it and looking then filling in that hole?

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Since you're going to hang something on it, you're going to make a hole anyway. Just make that hole your test hole, and if you hit wood or brick, it will be pretty obvious with even a small bit. Then get the appropriate bolt/screw for the wall, expand the hole as necessary, and do the install.

I'd recommend against checking from the inside since the first thing you'll see is wood sheathing even if there's brick outside (unless you're as unlucky as me and see sheet rock installed behind aluminum siding, but I digress). You'd have to go through the insulation, through the sheathing, and through the house wrap, to see if there is any brick or other material before the stucco. At that point, there's a good chance you'll punch a hole right through the stucco anyway.

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The most obvious way would be to find an unobtrusive location, chip away a small section of stucco, take a look and then fill back in afterwards. Obviously you need to be careful to make sure that the result is weather proof.

However, before you do that, I'd have a good search to see if there are any places where there isn't any stucco in the first place.

However, you could go in from the inside. If you have a room you are going to redecorate soon all the better.

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I was going to say go from the inside. Drywall is much easier to repair than stucco. –  Tatton Chantry May 23 '11 at 19:53
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