There are plenty of reasons why stucco is so popular among homeowners: it’s durable, it’s easy to maintain, and it looks good. If it’s applied properly, stucco can last as much as 50 years, as long as it’s well taken care of.
The latter part is what is key: proper maintenance. Even though stucco is relatively easy and affordable to upkeep, it still needs to be tended to on a regular basis. If not, it’ll end of looking worn in no time, which can cost you money to repair, and even lower the value of your home.
Here are some tips to maintaining your home’s stucco.
Keep it Clean
Just like any exterior, stucco can get dirty pretty easily. It can collect dirt as a result of the outdoor elements, which can inevitably make your home look filthy. Stucco is also a porous material, which means that it can absorb stains. For that reason, frequent cleaning is necessary. A simple spray of your garden hose or power washer (at a low setting) should usually do the trick.
The best application to clean your stucco is to mist it with water first to allow the caked-on dirt to soak and loosen up. Afterward, spray it with more pressure from top to bottom to allow the dirt to make its way to the ground.
Seal it Regularly
When stucco is first applied to your home, it should be sealed. Since it’s a porous material, stucco needs to be protected from any moisture intrusion. Typically, a clear concrete masonry sealer is applied, which penetrates through the stucco and prevents any moisture from getting in. One application at the onset is a start, but that’s not the end of it. While these sealers are highly effective, they need to be reapplied every five years or so.
Consider Applying an Elastomeric Coating
If your home’s stucco is older, consider applying an elastomeric coating, especially if you’ve already noticed some cracking. These types of waterproof finishes keep moisture out, and seal up hairline cracks. Thanks to their flexible properties, elastomeric coatings will stretch if a crack develops and widens below the seal. That way, the seal is still able to keep water out of the cracks. These sealants typically last at least 10 years.
Make Repairs Right Away
Stucco is extremely durable and rigid, but it is still susceptible to cracks, chips, and even holes as it ages. Not only are these defects unattractive, they can also compromise the strength of the stucco material itself. Not only that, crevices like these offer the perfect opportunity for mold to grow and pests to make their way into your home. If you notice a crack in the stucco, don’t allow it time to widen. Instead, get on top of it right away and repair it before it gets worse.
If the crack or chip is minor in nature, you can probably repair it on your own. Just make sure that any moisture issues have been addressed and dealt with first. Following that, a stucco patch can be applied to repair the area. If the issues are much more elaborate, a contractor may have to be called in. Either way, dealing with a crack or chip before it’s given the chance to worsen is important to prevent major damage down the road.
The Bottom Line
For the most part, stucco is a fantastic exterior material that generally doesn’t need a great deal of maintenance. By cleaning it once in a while and getting on top of any small cracks or chips right away, you can enjoy an attractive exterior to your home for decades to come.