Stucco is an attractive and customizable material that can add curb appeal to your home. However, Stucco Repair Philadelphia is important if there are any cracks or divots as moisture penetration can cause mold and wood rot.
Small hairline cracks or spider cracks can be repaired using a paintable caulking product. Larger areas require a patching plaster mixed with lime or cement and should be applied according to the manufacturer’s directions.
Remove the Damaged Stucco
Stucco beautifully transforms the look of a home or commercial building, which is very durable. It also increases the resale value of a property, but it does require some maintenance. If you have stucco starting to crack or crumble, it’s important to find a qualified team of contractors who can repair the damage before it spreads.
A few hairline cracks are normal in stucco, but if you notice that the cracks are getting wider and wider, you need to talk to a contractor about the best course of action. If you leave the cracks to get bigger, they can eventually start to interconnect and damage the entire surface of the wall.
If the cracks are minor, they can often be patched using paintable acrylic caulk. However, it is best to hire a professional to do this work because he or she will have the proper equipment and tools to properly repair your stucco.
In addition to filling the cracks, a professional will also remove the old stucco and clean the area. This process is more labor-intensive and costly than simply applying a new coat of stucco, but it’s necessary to protect the integrity of your walls.
To remove the stucco, workers will use a hammer to loosen a small area of the coating. This will make it easier to scrape away the damaged piece or pieces of stucco. They will then either chisel the remaining coating away or use a pry bar to remove it from the wall.
Once the damaged stucco is removed, the team will then inspect the underlying brick for any signs of damage. If they discover severe deterioration, the mason can help restore it to its former glory before applying the new stucco.
The last thing you want to see is a beautiful exterior that is covering up rotting, insect-ridden brick. If the mason finds that the brick needs to be rebuilt, they will replace it with new brick and then cover it with a fresh coat of mortar. This will protect the underlying brick and ensure that the new stucco adheres to it correctly.
Clean the Area
Stucco can be very low maintenance if it is cared for properly. Its composite materials naturally deter mold, rot, insect infestations and fire, so you will only need to do occasional cleaning and patching. Stucco is also one of the most durable exterior siding options. However, if you notice cracks and discoloration, you will need to take action.
To begin the process, evaluate the staining and discoloration to determine what caused them. For example, black stains that look like dirt are most likely mildew or mold growth, while green stains indicate algae. Once you know what is causing the problem, you can find the right solution to clean the stucco.
Start by rinsing the entire surface of the stucco with a hose, making sure to use the lowest water pressure possible. This is important to prevent damage to the surface and the underlying materials of your home. For dirtier areas, you can apply a detergent to your sprayer with a pump and carefully work it into the staining area. Be sure to follow the instructions for your particular product and to use a nozzle that can be set to a low pressure.
Once you have thoroughly sprayed the area with the detergent, it is time to scrub. Using a soft-bristle brush, you can either scrub manually or with the use of a rotating brush attachment on your hose. Start from the top of the wall and work your way down. Rinse the walls well to make sure you have removed all of the dirt and stains from the surface.
For difficult to remove stains, you can try a mixture of vinegar and non-chlorine bleach. Apply the mixture directly to the stains and allow it to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing again. This should help to remove the stains and keep the algae from returning. If the stains remain, you may need to scrub harder and longer with your brush to completely remove them from your stucco. If you are using a strong solution, be sure to rinse the surface thoroughly and to protect any nearby plants or surfaces from run-off chemicals.
Fill the Cracks
If the crack is hairline and confined to the surface, it can be filled with caulk or another type of commercially-available filler. In addition, the area should be cleaned and sanded down. If the crack extends from the surface of your home into the wall, it’s likely a deeper problem and should be addressed by a professional.
A reputable stucco contractor should have the tools necessary to do this correctly, and will ensure the repair is made to the standards of the original application. It’s also important that the new filler is elastomeric, which will allow it to expand and contract without causing further damage.
If you’re repairing the cracks on your own, you can use a premixed stucco patching material. It should come in white or gray and is available at most hardware stores. It can be tinted during mixing with powdered pigment to match the color of your stucco.
Apply the patching material using a putty knife or margin trowel, and spread it to fill the crack. If you have a lot of hairline cracks, it’s a good idea to mist the surface with water as it dries to help it blend with the existing surface.
Larger cracks that extend into the surface of the stucco are usually caused by foundation settling or other serious problems. If this is the case, you’ll need to call a foundation specialist rather than trying to do it yourself.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, you may be able to handle these kinds of repairs yourself. But if you’re not comfortable with the work, or you notice other signs of a serious issue such as sticking doors and windows, it’s always better to call in a professional. They’ll perform a thorough inspection of your entire wall system to ensure there are no underlying issues that need to be fixed. In the end, this can save you a lot of money and frustration. It can also prevent further damage to your interior walls and furniture if the problem is allowed to get worse. MJM Masonry provides comprehensive stucco remediation services to fix the problems that cause damage.
Apply the Patch
Stucco is an incredibly durable, beautiful material that can last 100 years or more. But it’s not impervious, and small cracks and holes let in moisture that can damage both the stucco and underlying surfaces. If you spot a problem with your stucco, take action right away to avoid costly repairs down the road. Fortunately, repairing stucco is a manageable project that can be done by any homeowner.
Start by removing any loose areas of stucco with a hammer or chisel, then clean the area around the damaged section. Rub the surface with your finger and listen for hollow sounds, which indicate the presence of moisture behind the stucco or lath. If you find damp spots, a professional can advise you on how to treat them.
Depending on the severity of the damage, you may be able to simply apply a premixed stucco patch that’s available at most home improvement stores. If the cracks are large and a significant portion of the stucco is missing, however, you’ll need to do more prep work.
A professional stucco contractor can help you decide how to repair the damage based on the type of crack, its depth and the size of any existing gaps. Once you’ve chosen a technique, gather your materials and prepare to get to work.
Be sure to work in cool weather and keep the stucco mix moist by covering it with a plastic sheet while you’re working. This prevents the dry mix from sucking the moisture out of the wet stucco, which can cause it to dry too quickly.
Before you begin, make sure you’re using a nonshrinking stucco repair mix and that it has an acrylic bonding agent, which improves the adhesion between new and old stucco. Mix the mix in a wheelbarrow, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
When you’re ready to begin, wet the edge of the existing stucco and apply a thin coat of the patching mix. As you work, use a brick trowel to smooth the patch so that it’s flush with the existing stucco and to pack the layer of wet mix tightly over the wire lath.