The Answers You Need
A: Visually it is impossible to see the hidden problems beneath failing stucco applications, although in some instances, if the problem exists for long enough before being addressed, signs start to become evident. Dark staining on the facade, damp interior drywall, mold spots appearing on internal walls can all indicate a serious stucco failure requiring remediation to be carried out.
Q: Can I tell if my stucco is failing?
A: The stucco itself is usually the last thing to show signs of failure. When water enters behind the concrete stucco and gets absorbed into the sheathing and framing, vast amounts of hidden damage can occur, leading to the eventual collapse of the supporting wooden framing.
Stucco problems come from the failure of the application and/or inadequate construction materials and techniques, including the lack of an adequate drainage system that allows the stucco to purge itself. Homes built between 1993 and 2006 have a much higher failure rate, due to incorrect building codes during that timeframe.
Q: Why does stucco fail?
A: Generally speaking, painting your stucco is a good idea. It will add a fresh, new look and feel along with color to your home and add to the curb appeal. It will also help to protect your home as the paint will act as a sealer, preventing moisture from penetrating through the stucco. That being said, if you have damaged stucco, or worse still, incorrectly installed stucco, then painting the stucco will not solve your problem, it will merely cover up the underlying issues and lead to more damage. Any moisture trapped inside the stucco will now be sealed in and will continue to deteriorate the structure beneath. So if you have signs of stucco damage or incorrectly installed stucco, painting it is a bad idea.
Q: Can I paint stucco?
A: Most result from concentrated dirty water run off (rain, pollen, dust and organic material) absorbed into the stucco’s porous surface. Also most colors fade very little due to sun oxidation. However, the darker the color the more it will fade.
Q: What are the stains on my stucco walls?
A: Use a hard, nylon-bristled brush with mild laundry detergent to scrub the stain.
You should NEVER pressure wash your stucco.
Q: How to wash stucco?
A: General cleaning as needed and inspecting caulk once a year and replacing as needed.
Q: Does stucco require maintenance?
A: While the service life of stucco can’t be quantified as a specific number of years, properly applied and maintained portland cement plaster, or stucco, is as durable as any commonly used cladding material. Its hard surface resists abrasion and can take a lot of physical abuse. It stands up to all sorts of climates, from cold to hot and wet to dry. Many homes built in the early 1900s have had very little maintenance and remain in good shape today.