The best way to preserve your stucco or masonry is to protect it from water damage.
Check for water damage around areas that are especially prone to leaks- this includes the roof, around the chimney, windows, doors, and the foundation. Water leaks can be very damaging to both masonry and stucco siding. They weaken the mortar that holds brick or stonework in place and can also cause the underlying wood framing to rot and loosen stucco.
Note: It is recommended that you hire a professional to handle repairs to stucco or masonry as an improper repair can lead to more damage.
Stucco walls should be strong and free of structural problems and cracks. When patching stucco, wet the underlying structure and lath, and only mix enough stucco to be used in 1.5 to 2 hours without over-mixing. To prevent the stucco from drying too fast (this can cause it to crack) remember to keep it damp or shaded. Also avoid overlapping the old stucco with the new coat- this can weaken the bond. Do not use commercial caulk to patch cracks. Hairline cracks may be sealed with a thin slurry coat (the final coat).
Check the mortar in your masonry regularly- if worn to depths of ¼ inch or more, or if many vertical cracks are present, the mortar should be replaced. Be aware that the mortar mixture must be just right or it will damage the brick or stone. Do not throw away brick or stone that isn’t broken- remember, the goal is to preserve as much of the historic masonry or stucco as possible.
- Stucco siding can easily be cleaned using a power washer on low-pressure or a garden hose with a pressure sprayer attachment. Combine 2 gallons of hot water, a small amount of dish soap, a cup of washing soda, and a cup of borax. Always make sure to rinse well!
- Masonry should only be cleaned if absolutely necessary, as the cleaning can actually cause damage. If necessary, you can remove dirt from masonry by using a power washer with water on low to medium pressure. Take care to avoid damaging the brick or stonework. Use a diluted non-ionic detergent (available at the hardware store) and a soft brush on tough stains and rinse well.
Selling your home? Download our helpful free guide packed with insider tips to maximize return on the sale of your home!