After a long, harsh winter, your home’s exterior is probably ready for good cleaning. Many homeowners opt for power washing to cleaning up the outside of their home. If your home’s exterior is stucco, power washers need to be used at the lowest pressure and with extreme care. If not done properly, power washing stucco can cause major damage. When it comes to power washing, one of the best stucco maintenance tips is to hire an experienced professional. There are other tips that can help you get your home spruced up for summer.
Inspect Stucco Before You Clean
This may be one of the most important stucco maintenance tips – Cleaning damaged stucco can result in even more damage. Before you do any cleaning, check your stucco for chops, cracks or any other flaws. Any damage you discover must be repaired first, otherwise, moisture can seep into and stain or discolor the stucco. While you may be able to repair minor damage such as hairline cracks or small chips yourself, you should definitely hire an experienced professional for all other repairs.
Minor chips and cracks should be sealed with color matched exterior acrylic caulk. It may be difficult to match the color exactly, but you will be able to get a close enough match that minor repairs won’t stand out. To duplicate the texture of your stucco, you can press a gritty substance like sand into the caulk while it is still wet. Once the repairs are complete, allow the caulk to dry for at least a week before attempting to clean the stucco.
Stains and Discoloration
Because of its rough, absorbent surface, stucco tends to trap dirt, dust, and grime. If you notice staining that goes beyond normal dirt and dust, you need to identify the source. The usual culprits are mildew and algae, both due to excess moisture. Mildew will be black and looks similar to dirt and algae will be green. With small areas of staining, you should be able to clean them yourself.
For large or deep stains, one of the best stucco maintenance tips is to hire a professional to evaluate the staining and take care of the cleaning. Major stains could be the result of could be the result of moisture seeping through cracks and causing mold to grow. This type of damage and staining may require stucco remediation.
After any damage has been repaired and the area is completely dry, it’s time to clean the stucco. It’s a good idea to clean the stucco in sections. Of all the stucco maintenance tips, this one will make the job more manageable. First, saturate an area with water. This can be done with a hose or a power washer. With a power washer, use the low-pressure tip and keep it at least 24 inches from the wall.
Apply the cleaning solution with a single pump sprayer. Start at the bottom of the section, work up to the top and let the solution sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Then scrub the wall with a brush and finally, rinse it thoroughly from top to bottom with the hose or power washer to remove all of the debris and cleaning solution.
When cleaning stucco, there are a couple of different cleaning solutions that can be used. The first is a mixture of concentrated exterior cleaner and bleach. Concentrated cleaners can be found at home improvement stores. The cleaner should be labeled “professional strength concentrate” and include ingredients like acetic acid and sodium o-phenylphenate. These cleaners are typically activated by with bleach and hot water. The correct proportions of each will be listed on the package and safety goggles and gloves should always be worn when applying this cleaning solution.
For a more natural cleaning solution, mix Borax and dish soap with hot water. This solution is less toxic yet still effective at killing mold, mildew, and algae. In a large bucket mix a ½ cup of Borax, 2 tablespoons of dish soap and 2 gallons of hot water.
The Best Stucco Maintenance Tips
Cleaning stucco can be a little tricky, especially if there is any damage. If your stucco needs to be cleaned, call a professional first. They will be able to evaluate the condition of your stucco, make any necessary repairs and make recommendations for its care and cleaning.
At Royal State Construction, we specialize in stucco and stone in both interior and exterior applications. We invite you to browse our online gallery and see the quality of our work. Contact us for all your stucco and stone needs.