How to Do Stucco Repair at Home
Stucco Repair Philadelphia is a task that most homeowners with stucco homes will need to tackle at some point. Luckily, it’s fairly simple and can be done at home. If your stucco is suffering from hairline cracks, you can use exterior latex paintable caulking to mend them. Just be sure to choose a caulk that matches your stucco color.
Stucco is a strong, attractive, low-maintenance material that resists damage from the elements. But if cracks, discoloration or mold appear on the exterior of your home or business, it’s important to recognize early and take action. A quick repair can prevent a costly replacement.
Sometimes, hairline cracks that haven’t opened up yet can be mended with caulking alone. But if the cracked areas are wider than a quarter inch, you’ll need to use stucco patch mix to fill in the space.
First, carefully scrape or chisel away the damaged stucco, being sure to leave undamaged stucco around the edges of the repair area. Then, examine the metal lath under the damaged stucco. If it is intact and free of rust, you can use it as the basis for your new stucco. If not, cut a piece of grade-D builder’s paper to size and affix it with galvanized roofing nails to the wood lath.
Next, prepare the stucco patch mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It is usually a powder that you mix with water. Mix it thoroughly and add the acrylic bonding agent, if desired. Keep in mind that the mixture will remain usable for only 90 minutes, so work quickly when you apply it.
If you’re concerned about the alkali content of concrete mixes, you can replace it with a non-alkaline product like masonry paint and primer. But be sure to choose an alkali-resistant masonry paint and follow the manufacturer’s recommended wait times. If you’re not sure what to use, ask a local masonry professional or your neighborhood paint store. They will likely have experience with stucco exteriors in your area and recommend a good brand of paint that will resist color fading from exposure to the sun’s UV rays.
For stains caused by dirt, mold or rust, scrub the affected area with a wire brush and wet it with bonding liquid before applying the patch. Then sand the surface and, if necessary, sand again after patching to create a smooth surface that blends into the surrounding stucco. Finally, repaint the repaired area to match the surrounding color and texture.
Stucco repair is a simple, straightforward process that can bring stucco back to life. However, it’s important to take a close look at the surface and be sure that there aren’t any underlying issues that will cause problems in the future. It’s also a good idea to get a thorough inspection from a qualified, vetted professional.
Once the area is prepped, it’s time to remove any loose bits of stucco that need to be removed. This may include small cracks, a bit of crumbling, or even a lot of rot. Loose pieces of stucco aren’t just unsightly, but they can allow water to enter and cause further damage. This is especially true if the areas around windows have begun to rot.
In order to remove these loosened pieces, workers will use a hammer or crowbar to chip away at the stucco until it comes off. They’ll then tuck any nails into the brick underneath and scrape up any rotted wood. Depending on the condition of the stucco, they may also need to remove the mesh that’s been holding it to the brick.
For larger sections of damaged or deteriorating stucco, a wire brush will be used to remove any loose particles. Once they’ve removed the majority of the debris, they’ll begin to peel back layers of plaster to get to the underlying material.
Once the underlying materials have been identified, they’ll be inspected to determine if there’s any evidence of moisture intrusion. This could include a damp interior, mold growth, or visible green algae. Moisture intrusion can be particularly destructive, as it can lead to cracking and the formation of mold.
If moisture intrusion is found, it’s important to remediate the problem right away. The longer the issue goes unchecked, the more expensive it will be to fix. If you need help assessing the problem or finding a solution, check out PunchList, where you can get free home estimates and be matched with vetted local contractors! It’s a great way to save money on renovation projects and to ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money.
Fill the Cracks
Stucco cracks, even though they may look unsightly, are not a huge problem as long as they are isolated and handled early on. However, if they are allowed to get worse and spread throughout the plaster, they could lead to serious problems. For instance, they could create pathways for water to seep into the walls and cause untold damage. This could include peeing paints, wood rot, mold, and other structural damage.
There are a few different types of caulking that are commonly used for stucco crack repair. The type you choose will depend on the severity of the crack and your desired finish. Some caulking products are designed specifically for hairline cracks and are easier to work with than others. There are also sanded versions that will work better with rougher stucco textures. Brands like DAP and Quikrete are common choices with good reviews.
The best way to decide which product to use is to experiment with them on a small area of the surface. This will give you a good idea of what the results will be and which is the best choice for your home.
Regardless of which type of caulk you choose, you will need to enlarge the crack with a cold chisel and hammer before you apply it to the surface. This is because you do not want to just mask the crack with a wider patch and have it spread further into the plaster.
After you have widened the crack, clean it with a damp cloth and a wire brush to remove any debris that is lodged within. This is particularly important if you are working with a sanded caulking because the rough texture of the sand/gravel will make it difficult to blend in with the rest of the wall.
Lastly, apply the caulk to the widening with a putty knife or other tool. When the caulk is dry, smooth it with a trowel to ensure it is flat and even. If you are using a pre-mixed stucco repair mix, follow the manufacturer’s directions for application to get the best results.
Apply the Patch
Stucco holes need a little more than caulking to get them fixed. You’ll need a stucco patch mix and a trowel to apply it. First, clean out the hole with a wire brush so no loose debris sabotage your efforts. Next, put a layer of fiberglass mesh over the hole to create a sturdy base for the new stucco. Finally, mix a batch of patching concoction and use a rubber float or masonry trowel to apply a 0.25-inch-thick layer over the void. Let the patch coat cure as directed by the mix manufacturer. During curing, lightly mist the patch with water to keep it moist.
Before moving on to the finish coat, re-inspect the metal mesh to be sure it isn’t damaged or rusted. If it is, cut a piece of galvanized metal mesh to fit the repair area and affix it over the rusty lath with roofing nails. This will provide a strong barrier to moisture penetration and prevent the mold, mildew, and wall rot that can damage your home’s structure.
After the repair coat has cured, you can paint it. But don’t apply any exterior paint until you’ve made sure there are no cracks or other signs of moisture intrusion below the surface. Moisture penetration beneath the surface of a stucco exterior is a very serious problem that could eventually lead to the collapse of your house’s walls and ceilings.
A good rule of thumb is to call a stucco remediation expert for any issue you can’t handle on your own. That goes for stains, as well as moisture intrusion and wood rot that could potentially damage your home’s structural integrity. Fortunately, most stains and surface-level moisture problems can be easily repaired with a bit of prep and some fresh exterior paint. If left untreated, however, the problems can progress to mold and mildew, discoloration, and wall rot that may cost your home thousands of dollars in repairs or even structural damage. So if you’re experiencing one of these issues, act quickly and call your local stucco remediation experts. They’ll help you save thousands of dollars in repairs with a quick and affordable stucco repair.