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How to Care for Your Stucco Exterior

by Bonnie Phillips on Apr 5, 2020

Stucco is the most common siding material for homes across the world. It has been in use since the ancient Roman and Greek civilizations and became especially popular after the Renaissance and then the First World War. Stucco has many advantages over other types of siding, like cost-effectiveness, ease of maintenance, flexibility, and versatility.

While stucco is a pretty convenient option for your walls, it can cause severe problems if not handled right. Air or moisture, if trapped inside, is the ultimate Achilles’ heel for stucco, as it can damage the entire wall and require total demolition and rebuilding. Cracks and holes, too, can admit moisture to the inner layers and cause molds, rotting and flaking. As such, it is of utmost importance to apply stucco right and get it serviced every few years.

Steps to follow:

The first step to ensuring that your stucco remains in good condition is to only get certified experts to work on your home.  Next comes maintenance. The two main things to watch out for are cracks and holes, and water accumulation. The best way to manage minor cracks and holes is by patch repair. Shifting of walls due to settling in areas with soft ground, blistering due to trapped moisture, or even external stress from objects accidentally hitting the wall can cause cracks, while removed nails are the primary source of holes. It makes no sense working on the whole wall to repair local damage, in which case patch repair is the sensible choice.

To minimize the chances of water damage, sealing and waterproofing are recommended. It is encouraged if you live in an especially humid area. The primary step is to have a waterproof layer installed underneath the stucco. After that, once the stucco has been put on, you should have a layer of polymer-based sealant or waterproof paint applied for protection from the outside. Be warned that often, it is impossible to detect the presence or gauge the amount of internal damage caused. To be on the safe side, have professionals come in from time to time to check for damage and also touch-ups to the sealant.

Dealing with textured stucco surface

If you have a textured stucco surface, you would be battling an added problem - dirt accumulation, especially on outer walls. Do not expect a typical sponge rub to work on this. For a pure deep clean, you will need to pressure wash the walls. If you are doing it by yourself, start by applying detergent from the bottom to top, use a rotating brush for tough spots, keep for at least ten minutes before hosing off with the pressure washer. Keep the nozzle pointed at a downward angle on the wall for the best results.

Stucco being a high-maintenance siding material is a myth. Every material has its pros and cons, but with stucco, the pros outweigh the cons. As long as you know the right way to take care of your stucco and get it checked and have your crack repaired in time, there is no siding that will be as house-friendly as the ubiquitous stucco.

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