Stucco is an excellent finishing material that has been around for centuries. It is a natural product that is very resistant to weather, chemical, and mechanical degradation. Because of its versatility, it is a popular surface finish for homes and other forms of construction.
The life expectancy of stucco spans from around 50-80 years. With the proper care and maintenance, stucco can prove to be cost-effective and long-lasting compared to other finishing materials. Get the tips to maximize the life expectancy of your stucco by reading further below.
What Is A Stucco?
Stucco is an Italian word that roughly translates to “plaster” in English. It has been an age-old type of surface finishing that builders can modify to a variety of interesting aesthetics and texture. Typically, stucco is used to conceal the less pleasing surfaces such as cinder and concrete blocks, bricks, and the like.
For a long time, builders have been experimenting with various materials and methods in stucco finishing. Nowadays, the staple mixture includes Portland cement, lime, sand, and water, with methods simplified by modern techniques such as sandblasting.
Tips On Maintaining A Stucco
Stucco is probably among the less demanding materials to maintain. It can live its lifespan with just a moderate amount of care. For those who want to maximize their stucco’s life expectancy, here are a few effective tips you can apply in maintaining it.
Annual Cleaning And Inspection
The last thing you want to do is spend money on unforeseen repairs that can damage your home if neglected. You can prevent this by doing an annual or regular inspection of your walls. If you have any holes, cracks, or separations in your stucco, it’s essential to fix them as quickly as possible.
When cleaning your stucco surface, a mild formula and water can easily do the job. You can use a gentle nylon brush or a hose nozzle at the lowest pressure to remove stubborn stains. Just be careful of cleaning methods or tools that can chip away your stucco.
Redashing is reapplying a layer of stucco over the previous coating to give surfaces a brand new look. Although repainting is also a feasible and much cheaper option for reinvigorating your walls, it has caveats you should consider.
You see, painting seals up the porous property of a stucco. Meaning, there’s a likelihood of moisture being trapped between your walls which can later develop into mold. If you want a new color for your stucco, a mixed-in pigment with re-dashing is more advisable. Furthermore, mixed-in pigments keep the breathability of the surface and can last longer than paint.
Before re-dashing, you should also completely remove any underlying paint to ensure the new coat’s adhesion.
Be Mindful Of Repainting Frequency
If you opt for repainting your stucco walls, climate, frequency, and paint type are a few considerations to check.
Stucco, although a versatile material, is more advisable for dry climates than humid or wet ones. The pores of this material are prone to housing moisture which accelerates paint deterioration. Thus, for wet climates, more frequent repainting is advisable. For paint types, elastomeric paint is advisable as it can expand and contract.
Be Aware Of Cracks And Surface Damage
Typically, small cracks on stucco are common and should not cause any problem. However, for cracks exceeding ⅛ of an inch in thickness, you should consider immediate repairs before it worsens.
It is advisable to apply stucco of the same mixture in the crack rather than caulk. Caulk can only provide a temporary fix and later deteriorate into an unsightly mess, emphasizing the damage. Caulking will only be suitable for window and door connections to prevent moisture from seeping through.
Signs Of A Failing Stucco
For worse case scenarios, an undermaintained stucco may show early signs of failure. It’s important to know when it’s going to break down and start to peel. If you can spot these warning signs, you’ll be able to save yourself a lot of trouble and money.
Leaking Walls And Cracks
You might have noticed that the exterior of your home is looking a lot different than it did years ago. If so, you may have been experiencing leaks in your stucco siding. You should check if they are related to water issues. If not, there’s a chance it’s coming from water seeping on your stucco wall.
There might be an open crack or joint where the water permeates and causes damage. Once this symptom appears, it is imperative to consult a professional and see the best steps to resolve the issue.
Compromised Caulking and Sealants
Caulk is a material that seals up any gap in your home and is especially needed for fenestration joints and trimmings. It is important for weatherproofing and can support or reinforce joints and create seam lines where needed.
Over time, caulking can shrink, which will later allow moisture seepage. This will slowly cause mold formation and unsightly streaks on your openings. Carefully monitoring and maintaining your caulking can help add years to your stucco’s lifespan.
Water Spots, Stains, And Discoloration
The properties of stucco naturally allow the retention of small amounts of moisture. However, once the moisture becomes trapped or entrained, unsightly mold or streaks start to appear. These streaks are early signs that should not be ignored as moisture in walls slowly deteriorates their structure.
Life Expectancy Of Stucco Improves With Proper Care
Yes, stucco can last considerably longer than other materials, even under harsh conditions. However, as with every material, proper care drastically prolongs its life expectancy. A well-cared finish can give your walls a timeless appeal and protect your home against weathering. The tips in this article can go a long way in maximizing your stucco’s lifespan.