5 Ways To Upkeep A Stucco Exterior

Ever come across a ruddy exterior with roughages that were thick, arranged in no particular pattern, sometimes brittle to the touch, and just oddly aesthetically pleasing? In that case, you have seen a stucco exterior. Stucco exteriors offer a world of possibilities, and their low maintenance and high return on aesthetics, durability, and functionality make them a beloved choice for most homeowners. According to the experts at Worldgate Plaster & Stucco Company, this material is very dense, budget-friendly, and moisture and fire resistant. If you're thinking of a bit of renovation, trust us when we say that you can never go wrong with stucco exteriors.

However, much like anything else, you must undertake proper maintenance to ensure your stucco exterior functions at its peak. Although, not as much as you'll maintain plaster or brick exterior, a little touch here and there. And today, we're taking a look at different and less stress-free ways for you to maintain your stucco exterior. 

1. Scrub your stucco

Just because stucco is low maintenance does not translate to it being zero-maintenance. Benjamin Obdyke writes that the combination of materials used to procure stucco makes it a very porous material, and as such, it tends to absorb dirt. Building on this premise, our recommended cleaning method is using the hose-down-scrub-down method. First, spray off dirt with the hose for about ten minutes before putting your back into it. Then, Inside & Out Property Inspectors recommend using a bristle brush to scrub from top to bottom in a uniform motion. Afterward, let the stucco exterior dry off before employing the hose for a second wash. 

If necessary, utilize items like dish soap and detergent. To do this, hose off the stucco exterior, add some bleach, then wash off with the dish soap or detergent while scrubbing with the bristle brush. As a safety precaution, you could always try the solution on a small and inconspicuous part of the exterior. If it works without harming the walls, go ahead with the wash. Finally, as a safety precaution, always wear rubber gloves.

2. Clean stucco exterior with a pressure wash

As we said earlier, since the stucco wall is porous and absorbs dirt, applying pressure is the best way to get them out. Unlike the garden hose, this method requires very little or no scrubbing — if you do it right, via Washh, and is also just as effective. The very first thing that you are going to need is a pressure washing machine. Power the device to 1,500 PSI at the very least and increase to 2,800 PSI at the maximum.

The trick here is that you cannot afford to stay too close to the walls and other exterior surfaces. As such, Pressure Washr recommends staying about 1 to 2 feet away from the walls and exterior, especially when using a 40-degree angle nozzle. If smaller, you can always back out by 6 inches or more. Once you are in position, let go, spraying with the pressure wash from top to bottom; once dry, your stucco exterior will look as good as new.

3. Check regularly for cracks and repair them

In a bid to ensure your stucco wall lasts as long as it is meant to — 50 to 75 years, according to Platinum Walls – it is prudent to check for anomalies from time to time. The most common kind of crack in the stucco wall is the hairline crack. It's quite easy to dismiss this crack because most homeowners mistakenly believe such defects cannot cause much damage. But if you leave it for long enough, it'll get worse. And, long enough could be as little as a week; yes, it spreads that fast!

To fix this, Interview Area writes that it is essential to seal the stucco exterior with masonry sealers. On a long-term flex, you could apply every five years. But if you'd like to be meticulous, try every two years, especially if you live in a locale that is prone to natural disasters. Finally, pick up the habit of applying elastomeric paint to the surface of your stucco exterior. Not only does this cover anomalies, but it also reinforces the surface and gives it an extra layer of protection.

4. Create barriers

Another highly effective way of maintaining your stucco wall is by creating effective barriers. What does your stucco exterior need protection from? Dirt and water. It is important to ensure a barrier between your stucco exterior and garden or yard dirt to avoid constant stains. To do this, you could cement the bottom of the exterior and create a physical barrier. On the other hand, simply use marbles or pebbles to create a barrier between the ground and your wall. 

Also, the experts at Arizona Painting Company say that since the stucco exterior is porous and absorbent, intermittent water contact could cause mold and mildew. It is essential to keep sprinkler systems away from your stucco exterior — not just sprinkler systems but leaky faucets, piping, and of course, gutters, too. Finally, ensure you wash the stucco exterior on sunny days so the water and moisture dry up within 24 hours or less.

5. Repaint

Finally, our last tip for your stucco upkeep would be admonishing you to repaint the wall. If you can, do so every year. The ideal thing would be to get the services of a professional painter. The experts at Forbes write that this will cost anything between $2 and $6 per square foot. But, on the flip side, you could always attempt a DIY. For a DIY stucco wall repaint, you would require acrylic resin for the primer and the elastomeric paint. Every other tool is standard: gloves, paintbrush, towel roller, rack, et cetera. 

The first thing to do is to clean your walls and ensure that it is meticulously done and completely dry, via Inspectapedia. Afterward, choose a day with low humidity and the right temperature for painting. Earlier, when we discussed the mistakes people make when painting, we said, "Some paints do not perform well at extreme temperatures, some do not dry quickly when the humidity is high, and others dry unevenly and crack when applied during winter." Research your preferred paint type to ensure stellar results.