I used to live in a beautiful Spanish-style stucco house built in the 1920s. While I loved the house, it had not been maintained correctly for many decades. That meant endless maintenance and repairs for me. After shelling out some serious bucks, I learned to do some of the smaller repairs myself. Here is an easy DIY home repair project that will help you fix minor cracks in your exterior stucco siding.
What is Stucco?
Stucco has been used as a building material for thousands of years. Traditional stucco was made of lime, sand and water. Today, stucco is made from Portland cement, sand and water. Stucco is generally a very sturdy building material, requiring little maintenance. Problems can develop however, where the stucco siding meets another material, especially at windows, doors and eaves. Due to natural weathering, tiny cracks can develop at these junctures. If you do not repair cracks in stucco siding in a timely manner, cracks can be exposed to moisture and freezing and can develop into major repairs.
Materials Needed to Repair Stucco
In order to repair stucco siding you will need a hammer and chisel or a flat head screwdriver, a trowel, a whisk broom and a gallon bucket or wheelbarrow for mixing the stucco. Do-it-yourselfers should skip the expense of renting or buying an expensive stucco sprayer unless they have a large area to repair. Even then, I have found them to be more trouble than they’re worth. It really is very easy to repair stucco by hand. You will also need to purchase stucco mix and a liquid concrete bonding agent at your local home repair center or hardware store.
How to Fix a Crack in Stucco Siding
Minor repairs to stucco siding are relatively quick and easy. As soon as I noticed even the tiniest cracks in my stucco, I made sure to seal them quickly using this easy method. First, gently chisel out any loose material and brush or vacuum away the dust. I always had good luck using a small hammer and flat head screwdriver to chisel, but you can certainly use an actual chisel if you choose.
After you are sure that you have removed all the dust, brush on a liquid concrete bonding agent. These can be found at most home improvement stores. The next step to repair stucco siding is to mix a batch of stucco mix according to the directions given on the packaging. You want the mix to be approximately the consistency of toothpaste. Then, using a trowel, cram the prepared stucco into the crack. For very small cracks it may be necessary to use your fingers. After you are sure the crack is completely filled, brush the stucco smooth using a trowel.
Adding Texture to Stucco Repair
After the wet stucco has set for an hour, you can begin to apply a texture to match the existing siding. If the stucco repair is more than 1/2 thick, apply one coat of stucco, allow it to harden for 24 hours and then apply a second coat before applying texture. There are several ways to add texture to a stucco repair. If your stucco has a swirling brushstroke pattern, using a small whisk broom dipped in water will give great results. A spattered look can be achieved by dipping a whisk broom in a slightly diluted stucco mixture and then flicking it at the wall. If you need to repair stucco with a bumpy texture, press a flat trowel into the repair, then pull it out quickly. Then, partially flatten the sharp peaks by running the trowel lightly over the surface.
Keeping the Stucco Moist
In order to achieve maximum strength in your repaired stucco, it is important to keep the area moist for a week or so. I like to cover my repair with plastic sheeting or a plastic garbage bag, but you can also periodically spray it with a mist of water. After a week has passed you can allow the stucco to dry completely and then paint if you choose.