Although it is commonly associated with the southwestern United States, stucco is a highly versatile exterior home covering. A surprisingly large number of Southern homes, including those in historic Charleston, South Carolina districts, feature stucco siding. Repairing damaged stucco can seem like a daunting task and, while you certainly shouldn’t hesitate to contact a professional contractor, you just might find that you are up to fixing your home’s issues yourself. This guide features some helpful tips for remedying common stucco-related problems.
Repairing major holes (6+ inches) in stucco.
Use a cold chisel and a hammer to get rid of any loose stucco surrounding the large hole in your stucco exterior. If the mesh that was behind the now-missing stucco is damaged, you’ll need to staple a replacement piece over it. Spray the hole with water.
Add your first new layer of stucco using a trowel or a putty knife. It should end about ¼ inch from the top layer of original stucco and should ooze behind the wire mesh. Score this layer with a nail and let it cure for 48 hours before you continue your project.
After two days, lightly spray your first new layer of stucco with water. Then, add the second layer using the same process. This layer should end ⅛ inch from the top layer of original stucco. Smooth this layer using your trowel or putty knife and, again, let it cure for 48 hours.
Once more, spray the top layer (this time the second layer) of new stucco with water. Then, apply the third and final layer using a metal float tool. This layer of stucco should be flush with your home’s original exterior covering. Add the appropriate texture and allow this layer to cure for 4 full days, then paint it the desired color.
Repairing minor holes (under 6 inches) in stucco.
Brush away any remaining loose pieces of stucco surrounding the hole and clean out the inside area with a stiff-bristled brush. You may need to use a bottle brush or even the end of an awl if the hole is quite small.
Use a putty knife to spread specialized stucco patching compound over the hole. This substance should reach almost to the edge of your home’s original stucco exterior. Let this first patch cure for about 24 hours before returning to finish the project.
Again, use a putty knife to spread a second, and final, layer of stucco compound over the hole. Texture the patch so it matches the rest of your wall and paint it the desired color after it has had time to dry.
Repairing cracks in stucco.
Because stucco is made using cement, it tends to crack over time, just as sidewalks do. Small, hairline cracks in stucco don’t take much time or effort to fix. In fact, you may be able to cover them by simply applying a thick layer of acrylic paint that matches your home’s exterior color. If the crack you’re dealing with is slightly too large for paint alone to repair, simply add a layer of latex caulk prior to painting.
Large cracks are generally slightly more challenging to repair, but can certainly be fixed without professional help in most cases. You will need to purchase stucco patching compound from your local hardware store and follow the instructions on the jar.
Although stucco exteriors do generally require more maintenance than vinyl siding and some other materials, many homeowners love the look and are more-than-willing to put forth a bit of extra effort to keep it looking nice. Remember, if you ever need a contractor to assist you, you simply need to do some research and find a reputable professional in your area.