Stucco Maintenance Guide

stucco facade

The exterior stucco used on today’s home dates back to the late 1870’s. It is made typically of Portland cement, lime, sand, and water. Stucco is one of the more popular exterior home finishes because it is:

  • Cost effective
  • Easy to apply
  • Flexible when wet, rigid when it hardens
  • Paintable
  • Aesthetically appealing
  • Durable
  • Low maintenance
  • Fire retardant
  • Able to withstand most weather conditions

How Long Does Stucco Last?

exterior stucco and stone siding by exterior by design

Stucco applies easily to most external surfaces and, once dried, will last up to 50 years with minimal stucco house maintenance and repair. It is one of the most desirable external home coverings because it not only protects your home for many years but it is aesthetically appealing too. One of the best ways to maintain your stucco coating is by cleaning it.

How to Clean Stucco

Clean stucco - stucco home

Like everything outside, stucco also gets dirty. Dust and debris can stick to the surface causing your home’s exterior to look dull. Cleaning stucco regularly will keep it looking nice and help prevent the colour from fading. There are several ways you can wash your exterior stucco.

Pressure Washing

stucco Pressure Washing

Using a pressure washer to clean your exterior stucco walls is the fastest and easiest way to clean your stucco. A pressure washer with a force between 1,500 psi to 2,800 psi will quickly loosen and remove the built-up dirt from your stucco covered surfaces.

When using a pressure washer on your stucco exterior maintenance, it is recommended that you use a nozzle with a 40 degree angle and follow the washer’s instructions for distance. Standing closer to the walls will increase the pressure while a further distance will let you cover more surface space. However, if you are too close, the pressure can damage your stucco.

Garden Hose

wash stucco with Garden Hose

Using a garden hose is also an easy way for stucco cleaning projects. However, because the water does not have the same force as a pressure washer, it is not as effective. Using a garden hose will clean the loose surface dirty but will not give the deep clean or removed embedded dust and debris.

When using a garden hose, attaching a cleaning brush to your nozzle will help remove the deeper dirt.

Cleaning Solutions and Water

stucco Cleaning Solutions and Water

Manually washing your walls with a brush is also effective, however, this is the most labour intensive and longest method of cleaning stucco. Use a brush with medium to hard rigid bristle, with a soap and water mixture, bleach and water, or all purpose cleaners to wash your outside walls.

Stucco cleaners are also available. The bottles come with spray tops that can be attached to your garden hose for quick and easy use. Using washing agents on your stucco is best for general or spot cleaning your stucco.

Stucco Repair

exterior stucco design Toronto

Exterior stucco is a highly durable exterior coating that requires minimal stucco house maintenance. Taking care of your stucco will extend its lifespan and keep it looking great for many years. But like any product, stucco can crack or break away over time. As part of your regular home maintenance you should inspect your stucco and repair small issues before they become bigger repairs.

Repairing Cracks in Your Stucco

applying caulking to fix stucco

Over time, stucco will crack. Small, hairline cracks can be easily repaired during your stucco maintenance by applying caulking to the cracked stucco. When using caulking, always make sure it is an outdoor caulking that is designed for stucco surfaces so it works with your exterior surface.

Patch Repairs

stucco patch repair by exterior by design

If larger chunks of stucco have fallen off, you can apply a stucco patch to the area. There are different products on the market designed for do-it-yourself applications. Most homeowners can fix the smaller areas themselves. However, if a larger portion of stucco is damaged, it is recommended that you consult with a professional about any repairs.

Prevent Paint from Fading

painting stucco on custom home

Stucco can be tinted to any desired colour or shade before applying to your home or painted after it is on your home. Regular stucco maintenance will help protect the colouring from fading over time. Stucco cleaning removes dirt which damages and fades the colouring of your exterior stucco so it will help prolong the lifespan of your colour.

Planting shrubs and other outdoor fixtures around your home will block wind, dirt, and water from damaging your stucco.

If repainting your exterior stucco, always clean the surface thoroughly first before applying a coat of paint to make sure the paint sticks to the stucco. Use exterior paint designed for stucco applications.