How do I maintain my stucco?
Stucco is an amazingly easy exterior to maintain and is one of the reasons for it’s popularity. Not only can your stucco finish last the entire life of your home but maintenance is minimal.
As a newly built stucco home settles some cracking may occur, but these can easily be filled to blend seamlessly with the rest of the exterior. These happen because a stucco home is not flexible, so if you are in an area where there is high traffic or in an where there may be earthquakes or settling you may end up having more cracks. These can be taken care of by your contractor or by the owner.
If you feel that your stucco home needs a bit of a cleaning, that is perfectly fine to do. A mild cleaning agent and your garden hose should do the trick. You should never take your pressure washer (full blast) to your stucco as this could damage it.
Can you match a color and texture on my existing wall exactly?
Matching the existing color and texture on your stucco is quite tricky and will never match 100%. There are many reasons for this such as how the texture was applied, what temperature it was that particular day, how wet the mix was and many other variables.
There are a few options that would be advisable and these are to :
- Either recoat the entire house after the patches are done, which can be quite expensive but will result in the best overall look.
- Instead of recoating the entire house you could just recoat a single wall if you had a patch on one wall of the house.
- The most popular option is to simply paint the entire wall after the patch has been completed mainly due to the lower costs associated with this method. The just remember that a patch is always going to be a patch and is very hard to make it seamless with the rest of the wall.
Is cracking normal with all stucco buildings?
Yes, in short. All stucco homes will end up with cracking at some point. Stucco is not a flexible material and all homes will have some sort of movement, be it from vehicles passing by, settling or movement of the earth.
A majority of cracks are very minor hairline and not generally detrimental to the constitution of your home. Most cracks can easily be repaired by either your contractor or yourself as they are more than likely superficial for the most part.
Larger cracks can indicate more significant issues if they are left unattended. Getting these fixed asap is a good idea.
How long does stucco typically last?
By certain estimates your stucco exterior should last up between 50 and 100 years. But with maintenance it should last as long as the house is standing. Due to stucco being made of cement, it really doesn’t have an expiration date. You can find buildings dating back to the Roman period and they are still standing with their stucco exterior intact for the most part.
You will have to upkeep the finish for aesthetic reasons before the actual structural part of the stucco will diminish.
How long does the entire stucco process take?
The entire process for a new stucco installation can take anywhere from 2-6 weeks depending on a couple of different variables. The brown coat for a three coat system must cure for a minimum of 2 weeks and the scratch coat a minimum of 48 hours. So the wait time between coats is usually what takes the most amount of time.
Some patch jobs can be done in 1-3 days along with retaining walls, it just depends on the circumstances. In Nevada and Placer Counties, we have a long window of opportunity, as far as the “good weather” is concerned.
What if my walls are painted, what are my options?
If your stucco has been painted there are two main choices you could go with at that point. Theses are to either paint again or skim coat the entire building with a new finish coat.
Depending on the shape that the paint is in, pressure washing or sandblasting would be used to remove any loose paint from the building (pressure washing) or just completely remove all of the paint entirely (sandblasting).
This is really a case-by-case basis and has to be visually inspected before a decision can be made on which route to go.
Can I paint the stucco?
Most of the time, people choose to paint the stucco on their homes because it is the cheapest alternative. This is typically done after patches have been made (due to new windows/doors being installed, etc.) and is really not the best choice.
A stucco finish is virtually maintanance-free and will last decades with minimal attention required. After you paint the surface though, you have to repaint it every 3-7 years, depending on your location, which actually adds up to a significant cost in time.
I do not recommend painting stucco but realize that it is the least expensive option. Get a quote on having the stucco skim coated first to get an idea on what it would cost in comparison.
What is a recoat and can I have one done on my house?
A re-coat is basically a thinner finish coat that goes over your existing stucco that makes it look new again. This is a lot less expensive than having all new stucco put on again and will last a very long time.
These are preferred over painting your home because you will maintain that maintenance free finish and revitalize the overall look and feel at the same time. These are great options for some of the older homes in the Grass Valley and Nevada City area.