Cleaning And Maintaining Stucco

What is stucco, and what does it do?

Phoenix Stucco is a cement-based material. It’s the same thing as plaster but has some additives to make it stick better to wood or masonry studs and resist moisture better.

On the exterior of your house, the stucco provides an extra layer of protection from weathering on top of your siding, which would typically only be adhered to one side of your wall. This gives you more time before needing repairs.

Stucco also benefits from taking some great paint jobs that mimic other more expensive materials like logs or stone. If done well, even people who have been in your home for years will think it was made out of natural stone – until they touch it.

 

Cleaning Tips

  • Use mild soap and water to clean your stucco. If your plaster is painted, use a pressure washer.
  • Stucco cannot be power-washed with bleach or acid solutions, as they may damage the house’s finish.
  • If you have damaged or stained stucco, you can rejuvenate it by applying a coat of stucco patching compound over any cracks or holes. Follow the package directions for drying time before applying paint.
  • Using baking soda dissolved in hot water will remove most stains from your stucco wall or siding. Using commercial cleaners is not recommended because they are too harsh on the material and may cause slight etching – which looks worse than any stain or discoloration.

 

Maintaining Tips

  • Maintaining tips for your stucco include keeping gutters clean to prevent water damage and using a mild detergent and scrub brush to wash the finish every few years.
  • Using a wire brush or steel wool will remove any small particles of stucco that may have accumulated on the wall’s surface. On new plaster which has not fully cured, it is best to wait several months before washing.
  • Cleaning should be done in sections so that if there were any chemicals or cleaners applied, they would not dry into an unnatural state within the material itself.

Painting Tips

If you plan to apply any paint to your stucco exterior, choose one specifically made for this type of application instead of using a standard latex or oil-based paint (which can cause the paint to flake off over time).

For painting, you should first scrape any loose stucco or peeling spots that may need attention. If sections of the exterior are severely damaged (holes, cracks, lack of texture), it is best to replace those sections entirely for proper application.

Once the walls have been prepped and cleaned, you can begin applying the paint – always using a brush instead of a roller to create air pockets within the material. Don’t be afraid to give your new paint job several thin coats versus one thick skin; too much paint will prevent proper adhesion and can cause chipping after drying. Once finished, allow at least 24 hours before walking on or hanging things.

 

When should you repaint or seal your stucco?

Although some homeowners may be able to get away with only repainting every 5-7 years, you can safely expect at least 2-3 coats per year on average.

*Keep in mind that the life of your stucco varies based on many factors: how well it was installed and prepped beforehand, exterior exposure (sun, rain), and severity of the weather.*

Stucco is a costly coating for your home, but it will remain a good investment and provide good protection for many years if done correctly and maintained regularly. If done wrong or not supported, though, you’ll need to seek professional help immediately as water damage will quickly cause structural problems within the wall material itself. You can’t simply paint over the stucco, and it needs to be removed then re-coated.

 

The best time of year for painting, sealing, and caulking your home is during the off-season.

If you live in an area with snow or freezing temperatures, check with your local municipality about stucco application guidelines and timeframe.

Also, be aware that most exterior painting, caulking, and sealants can not withstand high heat (120 degrees Fahrenheit) or extreme cold (10-25 degrees Fahrenheit). So if you decide to paint over existing caulked surfaces, these products will need to be removed before painting as they’ll begin to soften and may bleed through the topcoat of paint.

 

With this information now available for everyone, we recommend that homeowners take care of their properties themselves as much as possible and outsource only when necessary.