San Jose Stucco Cleaning and Maintenance: Tips for Homeowners
Stucco is one of the oldest finishes for both exterior and interior walls. It provides structural integrity and artistic appeal to buildings and houses. It needs maintenance, though, which includes inspection, cleaning, and repair. You can hire a San Jose stucco repair company, but you can also clean and maintain your walls using household tools and cleaners.
Back in the day, people built stucco using lime and sand. They also added plant fiber and animal horns to improve durability. Since the late 1800s, however, cement has replaced lime to offer longer lasting walls. But walls made from cement and sand don’t last long on their own. Without maintenance, they can crack and disintegrate because of continuous exposure to heat, rain, wind, dirt, and mildew.
Most of the stucco maintenance tasks that we do involve outdoor walls. Indoor stucco isn’t exposed to outside elements and needs only a new paint job. Exterior stucco, on the other hand, needs maintenance when there’s a sign of deterioration or damage, and this leads us to our first tip.
Inspect your stucco walls.
You as the homeowner have an important role in keeping your walls in good condition. Every now and then you should look at your walls closely. Look for cracks, holes, or discoloration. The usual problem that bothers homeowners is dirt, which can be remedied by cleaning.
Just use water.
Stucco collects dirt and absorbs stain. Its rough surface makes cleaning a demanding task, but you shouldn’t need fancy equipment and expensive cleaning agents if you clean it before the dirt builds up and becomes more stubborn.
You probably just need a nylon brush and a bucket of water or a garden nozzle. Scrub the dirt away after soaking the surface with a wet rag or cloth. In some cases, thorough brushing is enough to remove the grime. If it doesn’t work, try a household cleaning agent.
Trisodium phosphate sounds like a dangerous chemical that you can only get from chemical laboratories, but it’s what stucco maintenance professionals in San Jose use to remove stubborn stucco dirt, stains, and mildew. See if your hardware store has this cleaning chemical solution in store.
This chemical can irritate you, so make sure the area is well ventilated. If it’s a room you’re cleaning, open the windows. If it’s an enclosed space, consider bringing in a fan and turning it on while you’re cleaning. You should wear a goggles, a mask, and hand gloves.
How to use TSP?
Mix 1 part of TSP to 15 parts of water. So mix 1 cup of TSP with 15 cups of water. Apply the solution to the part of the wall that needs cleaning. Let it dry for an hour. Scrub the area. Then rinse it with water. TSP takes care of almost all kinds of stains.
Stucco used as an outdoor wall finish gets dirty after a few months. Your outdoor wall then picks up an unsightly gray or brown discoloration because of dust and dirt. But when parts of it turn black, suspect mildew. Because any outdoor wall tends to get dirty more quickly than your interior walls, it needs more frequent cleaning.
Use a spray nozzle to wet the stucco. If the entire wall is dusty or dirty, then soak the entire wall from bottom to top. This should loosen the dirt clinging onto the wall. Once you soak the wall, switch to a concentrated jet from top to bottom to dislodge dirt. You can then scrub the remaining stubborn dirt, but do so carefully that you don’t abrade the stucco. For unyielding stains, it’s a good idea to use TSP solution, sprayed to the stained area and left until dry. Once dry, rinse the area with water. TSP should take care of the hard to remove stains.
Patch minor cracks before they grow bigger.
Stucco’s rigidity is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Sure, it lasts a long time, but over time it tends to develop cracks. Although cracks are just unpleasant to see for some people, they hide the real nasty stuff. Bacteria, pest, and mold thrive in these cracks. So patch that tiny crack before it gets bigger and invites unwelcome guests. You don’t have to hire a contractor.
- Start by removing loose material using your hands. You can also use a wire brush to dislodge crumbling material. Remove dirt, grease, or mildew; actually, clean the wall before making any repair.
- Widen narrow cracks to about 1/4 of an inch using a chisel and a hammer. Make the edges of the cracks perpendicular to the wall using the chisel. Brush the crack with a wire brush to remove loose debris.
- Spray the stucco around the crack with water to moisten it if you’re patching the crack on a hot day.
- Prepare your caulk or sealant product, which should be available at your hardware store.
- Apply the sealant or patch using a caulk gun or a putty knife. Press the material into the crack and even it out with a putty knife.
- Set the material aside for 1-2 hours until it hardens completely. How fast it hardens depends on the weather and the depth of the crack.
The job can be a bit more complicated when the wall has designs. Follow the wall pattern using household tools like steel wool, brush, or fork. Do this before the material hardens. Otherwise, you will be left with weird lines on your wall.
If you’re using Rapid Set Stucco Patch, you only have to wait for an hour or two before you can leave the wall alone or paint it. Some traditional materials need to be set aside for a few days before you can do anything to the wall.
Stucco walls don’t require much care, but you still have to inspect them from time to time. Look for cracks, holes, and discoloration, which should be signs that you need stucco maintenance in San Jose. However, if you have no time or you’re not confident in your skills, you can always enlist our services. Give us a call at 408-290-1546.