Stucco repair might seem intimidating, but with the right preparation, it’s a manageable task. From repairing cracks to restoring crumbling stucco, it’s important to address the damage as soon as you can to avoid further problems. Hairline cracks that are less than 1/4 inch can be mended with caulking. However, larger cracks require more extensive work.
Regarding Stucco Charleston SC repair, cracks are among the most common problems. Cracks can be cosmetic or they can indicate that structural damage is occurring and needs to be addressed by a professional. The good news is that most of the time these cracks can be easily fixed by a do-it-yourselfer.
The first step in repairing cracks in your stucco is to clean the area with a hose. This removes any dirt or algae that may have accumulated over the years. Next, using a hammer and chisel, open up the crack slightly in a V shape to allow the caulking to fill the gap. Then, use a wire brush to scrub the inside of the crack. This will remove any loose stucco that is easily broken and will give the caulking something to bond with.
Once the area is cleaned, mix up some premixed stucco patching material and apply it to the crack. If it’s too thick, you can agitate it with your putty knife to help the material flow into the crack. After the patching material dries, it can be painted over, if desired.
Hairline cracks, which are narrow and about 1/16 inch wide or less, are the most common type of crack in stucco. They can be caused by many things including an improper mud mixture, new home settlement (from drying timber/framing), and seismic movement.
Stucco hairline cracks are typically cosmetic and can be filled in with ease by a do-it-yourselfer. However, if the cracks are wider or they appear to be spreading, it’s best to call in a professional to have the problem evaluated and repaired. This is especially true if the cracks are accompanied by sticking doors or windows, as this could indicate that moisture has penetrated behind the stucco and is causing the foundation to shift. A professional can also make recommendations for correcting the underlying problem. This might include adding a layer of mesh or more base coat material to reinforce the structure, which will help prevent further cracking. If this is done correctly, the cracks can be blended in to the surrounding stucco and no one will know that there was ever a crack there.
Stains can occur for a variety of reasons and they need to be treated immediately. They can be caused by water intrusion that seeps through the stucco and dries, leaving expanding salts on the surface or by oil or grease spilling onto the exterior walls of a house. Stains can also be caused by mold, mildew, and algae growth that stains the stucco green. The best way to address these types of stains is to wash the stucco with a cleaning solution that is formulated for masonry materials, such as a cleaner that contains bleach.
During the washing process, it is important to check for hairline cracks in the stucco. These cracks must be repaired before the stucco can be cleaned to prevent moisture from entering the walls and causing more damage. These cracks can be repaired by using an exterior acrylic caulking that is matched to the color of the stucco.
After the cracks are filled and the staining has been addressed, the stucco can be washed again with a cleaning solution. For most stains, a simple mixture of liquid dish soap and water will do the trick. Stubborn stains, such as those caused by mold and mildew, may require a bit more scrubbing with a soft-bristle brush or even a rotating brush attachment on a power washer. The stains will eventually disappear and the stucco can be left looking beautiful again.
Some homeowners choose to use a copper biocide on their stucco in order to keep it free of mold, mildew, and algae growth. When used correctly, this can keep the stucco looking its best and will not harm the environment. However, it is important to note that these products are not permanent and will have to be reapplied regularly. A professional can help determine if this is the right option for you. They can also offer suggestions on preventing future staining problems with your stucco. These suggestions may include placing a barrier of rock, mulch, or other ground cover over the dirt around your home to help stop it from seeping up on the stucco walls and making them discolored.
When stucco is damaged, water can seep through to the underlying substrate and cause extensive damage. This is often caused by roof or plumbing leaks, but can also occur from condensation if the building is not well ventilated. In any event, water infiltrating the stucco can lead to mold and mildew growth, which is often accompanied by a musty or damp smell.
Stucco repair for water damage can be difficult and should only be done by a professional. The first step is to remove any loose or crumbling stucco and clean the area to make sure it’s free of any mold or dirt. Next, the patch area must be sanded down so it is flush with the surrounding wall. Finally, it’s important to use a waterproof sealant on the entire area.
Once the sealant is dry, it’s time to start the actual repair. Using a hammer and chisel, carefully remove any areas of damaged stucco. If possible, try to leave some undamaged stucco in the corner of the repair area to help with ventilation. Pull back the metal lath (using tin snips) and house wrap or felt paper in the area of the stucco that is being repaired, but leave it in place on the margins of the damaged area. Use acrylic exterior caulk to seal the house wrap and lath seam.
When working on stucco repairs, be careful to use a mix that’s specifically designed for stucco. This will ensure that the patch will not only be durable, but that it will match the color of your existing stucco. It’s possible to buy pre-mixed stucco repair material, or you can mix it yourself in a wheelbarrow or plastic tray following the manufacturer’s instructions.
While some handy homeowners may be able to tackle minor stucco repairs on their own, any extensive water damage or structural issues should be left for professionals. For more serious issues, you may need to consider stucco remediation, which is a complete replastering of the wall system that addresses the underlying problems and prevents future moisture intrusion. Find vetted stucco contractors in your area today.
Stucco repair often includes cleaning and repairing mold. Mold growth usually means that there is moisture trapped behind the stucco and that this moisture is rotting the wood lath supports. This is a serious problem and can cause structural damage to the building.
The best way to prevent mold is by keeping the stucco free of dirt and debris. It’s also a good idea to carefully inspect the stucco for signs of moisture, including a musty odor and places that feel damp to the touch. Mold thrives in moist areas and likes to feed on organic matter, so examining the area surrounding gutters, doors, and windows is an especially good idea. It’s also a good idea too look around and closely examine any trees, flowers, or bushes that grow near the house to see if they are feeding on the stucco and contributing to the mold problem.
Aside from cracks, the most common sign that a property’s stucco is failing is staining or discoloration. This is often accompanied by a musty odor and the feeling that the stucco crumbles when touched. If you notice these symptoms, then it’s time to call for a professional inspection and repair.
Most stucco repair projects start with an initial inspection. During this time, the contractor will assess the damage, determine the cause of the problem, and recommend a course of action. This can range from simply spraying the stucco with a special water-resistant polymer, to replacing or reapplying more stucco.
When the underlying issue is remedied, it’s not uncommon for the entire stucco system to last much longer than if no steps are taken to protect it from moisture. The key is to create an adequate drainage plane that will allow the stucco and underlying materials to dry out before more significant damage occurs.
Remediation is not just a good idea for properties with failing stucco, but for all buildings. All types of buildings, including high-end luxury homes, can experience moisture problems that lead to rot and mold, which if not addressed quickly can destroy the building.