Maintaining your home through cleaning and updates is imperative for its beauty, function, and value. From mowing the lawn to replacing roofing shingles, home ownership can be overwhelming at times. Unfortunately, you may not be placing enough time and effort on your home's stucco exterior. While most builders offer a 15-year warranty, many homes with stucco see a lifespan of up to 50 years with proper cleaning and maintenance. Using these tips on cleaning and maintenance, you can protect your investment and uphold the beauty of your stucco exterior.
Learning the best techniques to clean and maintain your home's exterior is smart. However, you should also have a better grasp on the construction and application process when working with stucco.
A combination of cement, lime, sand, and water is applied over your home's exterior framework. If preferred, the stucco can be tinted to create a more unique look. The natural masonry look is appealing to many homeowners, but the amazing durability is most attractive to owners.
Periodic washing is best for cleaning your stucco exterior and preventing heavy buildup from dirt and debris. Use your garden hose every few weeks to rinse off your home's exterior.
Even with periodic cleaning, dirt and dust will easily be trapped in the rough surfaces of the stucco. Each year, complete the following steps to safely wash away dirt, dust, and debris from your home's siding:
- In an outdoor pump sprayer, combine 4 gallons of water with 3 cups of baking soda.
- Shake the sprayer container to mix the ingredients.
- Pump the handle to create pressure in the sprayer before dousing the stucco surfaces.
- Allow the baking soda solution to sit for 10 minutes. The solution will begin bubbling and dissolving away dirt and dust.
- Use your garden hose to rinse off the excess solution and dirt.
Mold and Mildew
If you notice dark green or black patches on your home's exterior, you may have mold, mildew, or algae. These living patches of growth are not only unattractive, but they are also hazardous to your health. In most cases, homeowners will use bleach to effectively remove the growth. Unfortunately, bleach will also kill surrounding grass, trees, and flowers. In addition, it can cause breathing problems and irritation to your skin and eyes.
To remove mold, mildew, or algae in a safe, less toxic manner, consider borax. This powdery substance offers the strength of chlorine bleach without the negative side-effects. To use on your stucco, combine 1 gallon of hot water with ½ cup borax.
Spray on areas with mold, mildew, or algae and allow to rest for 20 minutes before rinsing off with your garden hose. If necessary, use a soft-bristled brush to scrub stubborn patches before rinsing with hot water. Do not use pressure when scrubbing with the brush, as this may damage the stucco.
Many stucco surfaces date back to the late 19th century in the United States. However, small cracks are common issues you could face in historical homes or new homes with stucco exteriors. If you are noticing smaller cracks in your stucco, use the following tips to repair your home's exterior:
- Clean – Before repairing cracks, clean the area using a light spray of baking soda and water. Do not pressure wash the surface, as the water pressure could damage the area surrounding the crack, making it larger. A larger space could lead to water damage and mold growth.
- Paint – Cracks that measure less than a credit card's width require only a thin layer of cement and paint.
- Patch – If the crack measures less than 1/8-inch, cover it with a premade stucco patch and allow to dry for 48 hours.
- Replace – If cracks are larger than a 1/8-inch, contact the professionals for a replacement. These larger cracks could be a sign of underlying damage from moisture.
If you want a home with amazing curb appeal, value, and style, stucco is a great option. Using these tips, you can protect your investment and get stuck on stucco for many years to come. For more information, contact a local siding company.