Stucco is a popular material often found of the exterior of many homes. While stucco is known for being relatively durable material, it can crack and get small holes in it over time. Stucco is actually a very porous materials, which means that dirt, grime and water can settle into crevices and ultimately cause cracks to appear.
It is important to fix stucco cracks right away because if excess water gets into these cracks then it can cause mildew, mold and other issues. The good news is most homeowners can fix standard cracks and chips on their own., without consulting a professional. Here’s how you can restore your stucco, fix cracks and have your home looking brand new again.
Repairing Cracks in Your Stucco
Do a complete examination of your stucco and look for small chips and cracks in the exterior. Even if the crack seems relatively unnoticeable, you will want to repair them. Before you start on your repairs, you will want to consider whether you should get a mold test. If you smell mold or mildew or if the crack is large, has been there for a long time, or if it looks as though there may have been water coming through the crack, you should get it repaired by a professional. Even the smallest of cracks can allow enough water in to do some damage.
Here’s what you will need first:
- Acrylic caulk
- Caulking Gun
- Bucket of water
- Take a color-matched exterior acrylic caulk and begin sealing your cracks. If your color does not match perfectly, that is alright, most times, the cracks are so minor it can be hard to tell. If the color difference really bothers you, then you can paint it later.
- Cut the tip off of the caulking gun. Try to make as small of a cut as possible and cut at an angle. The smaller the tip, the easier it will be to apply the caulk and the cleaner the entire project will be.
- Do a quick test run so you can see how much caulk is going to come out at a time.
- Apply the caulk into the cracks of your stucco. After you apply a thin line, press the stucco into the cracks using a damp cloth. It is important that your bead of caulk covers the entire crack so it is sealed entirely.
- Take your wet rag and clean up the area around the caulk, make sure that you are keeping the actual caulk inside of the crack while you are doing it. Your caulk should only be inside the crack and nowhere else.
- Apply another thin layer of caulk to ensure that the area is completely sealed. This is the exterior of your home so even a small crack is presenting a threat to the integrity of your house. The second layer is extremely important, because this is the layer that you will be texturizing. If you only do one layer, you can be texturizing and ultimately top layer of your sealant caulk.
- Allow the caulk to dry. Typically, you will want to let it dry overnight or at least for several hours. The instructions on your specific caulk will let you know how long that product needs to dry.
- If your stucco is textured, as most exterior stucco is, go over your caulked area with sandpaper to attempt to replicate the texture of your stucco.
- Take some caulk that matches the exterior of your stucco and apply the paint in a dabbing motion, or apply with a sponge so that it replicates the texture of your stucco wall. You can experiment on a piece of cardboard first to practice mimicking the texture. This is technically the third layer of your caulk but it is only meant to provide texture, not to act as a sealant.
- Follow up with a layer of paint that matches the exterior of the stucco. While this isn’t required, it can not only help with the look of your repairs but it can actually act as another protective layer for the exterior of your house. If you want to continue to mimic the texture of your home, apply the paint in a similar fashion that you did your top layer of caulk.
Tip: If you are repainting your stucco around an area that has chipped paint, make sure to pressure wash the area first to remove the loose paint. This is an important step, but one that you should wait at least a week to do so you can make sure that the caulk has dried completely. If you paint over the flaking paint, it will not bond to the stucco.
Cleaning Your Stucco After Repair
Once you have repaired the cracks in your stucco, you will want to do a complete clean of the area. You should give your stucco at least a week to dry before you start cleaning. Many times, failing to clean and maintain your stucco and help stop preventable cracks from appearing again in the future. Here’s how to clean your exterior stucco.
- Take a concentrated cleaner, meant for exterior surfaces from your local hardware store. You will want cleaners that have acetic acid and sodium o-phenylphenate in them. Make sure you read the instructions on how to mix these solutions.
- Add the cleaner together with regular bleach and hot water to active. You can also use Borax instead if you prefer not to use bleach.
- Make sure you are wearing rubber gloves and eye protection when mixing and using this cleaning solution.
- Saturate your stucco wall with water from a pressure water. Make sure that your stucco repairs are dry before doing this. The water should be hitting the wall at a 45 degree angle in order to prevent damage. The best type of sprayer for this type of project is a 3,500 psi sprayer, which you can rent from your local home improvement store.
- Take a single pump strayer and spray on your cleaning solution. Start at the bottom and work your way up.
- Leave the cleaning solution on for 5-10 minutes. Then spray with a little more water.
- Take a rotating scrub brush and use it on heavily stained areas.
- Rise the cleaning solution off with the pressure water. Starting at the top and working your way down.
If you are planning on doing the entire exterior of your stucco home, work in sections to make the cleaning more manageable.