What to Do When Your Stucco Is Damaged – A Quick Repair Guide from Expert Builders
Stucco is one of the favorite exterior finishing materials for homes in the United States. Unlike other traditional types of siding, it comes with a great many desirable features. Apart from being easily formed and coated, it is also incredibly tough and durable. With proper maintenance, it can last for up to 100 years.
Despite its toughness, however, it’s not immune to damage. Poor installation or mixture may cause it to crack or form blisters over time. When this happens, the underlying lath support can be at risk as the damage spreads. The stucco should be fixed before the damage reaches the inner walls and compromises the stability of the entire structure of your home.
How Stucco Is Applied
Before trying to fix damaged stucco, you need to understand how it was installed in the first place. This way, you will know down to which layer you should replace and how you can apply the new plaster without making it look awkwardly out of place.
Stucco is not just a veneer made of aggregates, binder, and water. Since most stucco walls consist of three coats of plaster, it is quite heavy. Without proper support, the plaster will eventually fall apart due to gravity. It has to attach to the wall properly. To make that possible, a lath has to be placed underneath it.
A lath is type of metal mesh that has tiny metal cups that catch hold the first layer of the stucco plaster. Most homeowners prefer using lath to puncturing the existing wall to create the small catching holes, simply because they don’t want to damage the original wall. In fact, a layer of builder’s paper is placed underneath the lath to prevent water from contacting the substrate.
Fixing Your Broken Stucco
You may think that just removing and replacing the damaged area of your stucco wall will do the trick. The truth is, considering the underlying layers of the plaster, it involves more than that. If you’re not careful, you can cause further damage to the stucco wall.
The damaged area has to be carefully chiseled until the part that can no longer be salvaged is chipped away. Be careful not to cut through the lath so that the replacement layer of plaster will still have sufficient metal grate to hold on to.
After preparing the area, start mixing the first coat of stucco, a layer called scratch layer. The mixture should be carefully measured to make sure that the scratch layer will effectively adhere to its base and to the surrounding stucco.
Before applying this layer and the rest of the new plaster, wet the surrounding stucco to prevent it from removing water from the new stucco. Reducing water from the new stucco will affect the overall quality of the finish. The old and new stucco must perfectly bond to erase any trace of the damage.
The secret to a perfect stucco wall repair or replacement is the application. It takes experience before one can master the right manner of mixing and coring the plaster onto the wall. Proper timing is also necessary if you want each layer to dry at the right pace. It is important to let each layer to dry for one or two days after each application. If it’s too hot and the plaster seems to dry faster than it should, cover it with a plastic sheet.
When the first and second layers are done, you can now apply the final layer. It should be the same color as the rest of the stucco wall or else the patch will be obvious, unless you are planning to paint the whole wall with a different color.
If you are not confident with your own skill, you should not hesitate to call in a stucco expert. Don’t compromise, especially because it’s your homes exterior that’s at stake. A professional stucco installer around Colorado Springs can do an excellent job.
How to Repair Stucco, thebalance.com
What is Stucco? The Art and Architecture of Stucco, thoughtco.com
How to Lath for Stucco, homeguides.sfgate.com
How To Install Stucco Siding, doityourself.com