Most homeowners often prefer brick, vinyl, or wood siding because of its durability and appearance.
Stucco siding is another excellent option. It is aesthetically pleasing and can last for many years if maintained well. Made from a mixture of sand, cement, water, and lime, stucco siding is strong and effective in most climates. However, just like other sidings, stucco is susceptible to settling and impact damage.
Over time, stucco siding may start to crack and warp due to weather and household accidents. While you can repair small holes and cracks in stucco yourself, larger cracks and holes should be repaired by a qualified siding contractor.
It is important to repair your stucco siding immediately, no matter how small the damage is. This is because small holes or cracks can widen and cause severe damages that will be difficult and costly to repair.
The average cost for stucco siding repair is between $8 to $50 per square foot. For DIY projects, the price will be significantly lower. The table below provides you with the national average cost to repair stucco siding.
|National average cost||$1,000|
|Stucco siding repair cost per square foot||$8-$50|
|Stucco siding labor cost(per hour)||$40-$50|
Steps to repair and seal cracks and holes in exterior stucco siding
Stucco is a very strong and durable siding material, but it is not immune to damage. Over time, this siding will develop holes and cracks. Although it is better to leave major stucco repairs to a stucco specialist or mason, you can handle small repairs to save on costs.
The kind of repair will depend on the size of the hole and the nature of the damage. Below are typical stucco siding repairs.
Patching a large hole in your stucco siding shouldn’t be difficult if you have basic DIY skills. However, creating a patch that can blend perfectly with the rest of the siding can be daunting. If you are unsure of your skills, it is best to contact a local stucco siding contractor.
Here are a few steps to guide you if you decide to repair yourself.
- Use a ball-peen hammer and cold chisel to remove loose debris from the hole, then blow out all the dust. If the wire mesh is damaged, install a new mesh over it. Then spray the hole with water to eliminate any remaining dust and debris.
- Mix your stucco and apply the first coat using a masonry trowel. A putty knife can also work perfectly if you do not have a trowel. Make sure stucco oozes from behind the mesh. Once the stucco material is firm, scratch it with a nail and leave it for two days to cure. The first coat should be within a ¼ inch of the surface.
- Apply a second coat of stucco over the first coat (within ⅛ inch of the surface) using a putty knife or masonry trowel. Smooth the surface and leave it for two days to cure.
- Apply the third and final coat over the surface using a mason’s trowel or metal float. Smooth the area and ensure it is even with the existing surface. If your wall is textured, apply a similar texture to the repaired surface to create an even look. Leave it to dry and cure for four to five days.
- Paint the surface to your desired color. You can either paint yourself or hire a painting contractor for professional results.
Small holes in stucco (less than six inches) should be patched immediately to prevent them from widening further. Here are the steps for repairing small holes.
- Clean the hole or surface with a stiff brush, then blow it out to get rid of dust and loose material. Cleaning is essential as it allows the materials to bond and adhere better.
- Seal the hole using high-quality caulking material. Polyurethane caulking is the best to use as it offers protection and durability. Caulking prevents the hole from reaching the water barrier, thus preventing more problems. Leave the patch to dry for up to 24 hours or less.
- Apply a patch compound to the hole to blend the surface and make it even with the wall. You can use premixed patch compounds, stucco finish material, or sanded caulking.
- Apply a custom color-matched finish or paint to achieve a seamless look.
Caution: Make sure you wear eye protection before you blow out the debris and dust. This is because small sand and cement particles can cause serious eye irritation.
Stucco cracks are a common problem among homeowners. Over time, the house may settle or shift due to earthquakes and heavy winds, causing cracks. Failure to repair the cracks in time may cause serious problems, such as falling of the entire wall.
The procedure to repair stucco cracks is almost similar to repairing large holes.
- Break off loose material carefully using a hammer or cold chisel. Work your hammer slowly but steadily to avoid damaging the wood lath supports underneath. Make sure you use eye protection.
- Break off any deteriorating concrete at the edges until you reach the lath. Use a brush to remove all the loose material. If the metal mesh is exposed, cut it using snips.
- Cover the exposed lath using grade-D builder’s paper. Make sure the paper fits tightly. You can add a second sheet of the builder’s paper for additional protection. Use roofing nails to fasten the paper.
- Add mesh wire over the paper and fit it tightly to the edges of the stucco. Fasten the mesh to the paper and wood lath using roofing nails.
- Mix your stucco, then sling it onto the mesh. Make sure you wet the edges of the old stucco to strengthen the bond with the new patch. Use a brick trowel to scoop your stucco mixture.
- Scratch the surface and let it cure for several hours. Apply a second coat and smooth the surface. Cover the surface using a plastic sheet after each coat to prevent the surface from drying. Leave the surface to cure for three days.
- Apply the finished coat and leave it to cure for about a week. You can also texture the surface if necessary.
- Paint your new patch to blend with the rest of the wall. Paint also adds a protective layer over the repaired surface.
For small cracks(less than ½ inches), a polyurethane concrete crack sealant can come in handy. Polyurethane caulk is usually applied using a caulk gun. The sealant comes in tubes that fit common caulking guns.
To apply the sealant, you should cut the nozzle tip at an angle using a utility knife. Make sure the cut is the same width as the crack. Once you cut the tip, load it into a caulking gun, then draw it slowly down the crack. The gun will force a bead of the caulk into the crack.
Once the polyurethane is dry, apply a finish compound to the hole to match the existing surface.
Fixing fine hairline cracks is easy. If the cracks are super-thin, applying a coat of acrylic latex paint will do the job. Hairline cracks above doors and windows are common and are usually caused by the shifting and settling of the house. Although these cracks are not a serious issue, it is paramount to repair them immediately to prevent them from widening over time.
For wider cracks, paint cannot fill the crevices. So you will need to fill them with a caulking compound and paint the surface once it is dry.
What causes stucco damage
Although stucco is a strong and durable siding material, it is still vulnerable to cracks, mold, and impact. Moisture is the biggest culprit for stucco damage because most problems stem from it. Below are the common causes of stucco damage.
- Surface moisture
If you have a flower bed or garden near your house, you should ensure your sprinklers are installed correctly. This is because water from the sprinklers may miss your plants and fall on the wall’s base. The water can lead to efflorescence which will then form a powdery coat on your siding. With time, your stucco may develop blistering and even start to peel.
Moisture can also damage the paper barrier and lead to structural damage. Lack of gutters on your roof is another cause of surface moisture.
- Hydraulic pressure
Water can migrate from behind the retaining wall and lead to efflorescence. To prevent this problem, you should ensure your retaining wall has a quality moisture barrier and good drainage.
Wicking is another issue caused by moisture that becomes absorbed into the wall’s plaster. Improper stucco installation may lead to wicking and cause staining, blistering, peeling, and efflorescence on the surface.
- Dry rot
Water damage may also lead to dry rot on the wood behind the stucco wall. When the wooden boards come into contact with moisture, dry and wet rot will start to develop and spread fast. It is essential to repair water leaks immediately to prevent dry rot.
When should I be concerned about stucco cracks?
Your exterior wall is an integral part of your home. Besides maintaining the home’s structural integrity, the exterior wall protects the home’s interior from the weather elements.
Stucco is a tough material, but with time, it can start to develop cracks and holes. Hairline cracks are not a major cause for concern, but cracks that are wider than 1/16 inches should be patched immediately. Large cracks usually indicate structural issues that should be addressed before repairing the stucco wall.
How to maintain stucco
Stucco siding is very durable and can last for up to 50 years with proper maintenance. Although this siding is relatively easy and cheap to maintain, it is still essential to keep it in good condition to prolong its lifetime. Here are a few tips for maintaining your stucco siding.
- Clean it regularly to get rid of dust and accumulated debris. To clean, attach a simple sprayer to your garden hose. If you use a pressure washer, use a low setting to avoid damaging the wall.
- Seal the siding regularly. During installation, stucco siding is sealed to prevent moisture intrusion. Stucco is a porous material, which is why you should seal it regularly to prevent moisture from getting in.
- If you notice any holes or cracks, patch them immediately to prevent them from widening further. This will maintain the integrity of the siding and save you lots of time and money in the future.
- Repaint your stucco wall using elastomeric or acrylic paint every few years. You can also use this type of paint to repair hairline cracks.
DIY vs. Hiring a professional
Small stucco repairs are easy to handle. You can purchase a stucco repair kit from a home improvement store in your area and patch minor holes and cracks on the wall. However, it is best to hire a professional siding contractor for complex repairs such as large holes or cracks, structural damage, foundation issues, and water damage.
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Stucco siding is susceptible to impact damage, and it can shrink and crack over time. More so, it is not suitable for DIY projects because the application process is complex and time-consuming.
Nevertheless, this siding is one of the most durable siding materials, and it is relatively easy and cheap to maintain.
Stucco siding can last for 50 to 80 years with proper care and maintenance. Besides its durability, the annual maintenance cost of this siding material is also low compared to other siding materials.
Stucco is an expensive siding material because of its durability. Repairing cracks and holes will set you back by about $8 to $50 per square foot, depending on the extent of the damage. For extensive repairs, the cost can be as high as $120 per square foot.
Yes. The paint creates a bridge that crosses the crack and prevents water from penetrating the wall. Painting is a fast and affordable solution but it cannot work for larger cracks.