Stucco is a popular choice for walls due to its unique appearance and durability. Like any material, though, its textured surface accumulate dirt, mold, grime, and other contaminants over time. This requires you to clean these surfaces at least two or three times a year.
Read on to learn how how to clean stucco and what tools you will need for this task.
What You Need For Stucco Cleaning
If you want to clean your stucco house efficiently, you must have the right set of equipment and cleaning supplies. Get them ready before you begin the cleaning process so they won’t be a hassle along the way. You may have some of these items in stock in your home, while you can get the others at the nearest home improvement store.
The Equipment and Tools You Need
For the equipment, you need a pressure washer to achieve the best results. However, in case you don’t have one, a regular garden hose with a powerful nozzle will suffice. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you’ll also need a single-pump sprayer for applying the solution to the surfaces.
Other pieces of equipment you will need include a caulking gun, a paintbrush, and soft-bristle brushes. You may also need an exterior acrylic caulk and any gritty material in case there are damages that require repairs. In case you’re going to use bleach, it’s important that you use rubber gloves and safety glasses as well.
The Cleaning Solution You Need
Determining which cleaning solution to use depends on the severity of the stain stuck in the stucco surfaces. For minor stains, you can create a mixture of liquid dish soap and water. However, if there are signs of mold or mildew growth, you will need a more robust solution to clean the stucco surface effectively. In this case, you need to make a mixture of bleach and water.
On the other hand, you can also use a store-bought concentrated cleaning solution. Depending on its instructions, you may need to mix this product with either bleach or hot water. Check the label to make sure.
If you want to avoid using bleach, the best alternative is a borax-based solution. Just create a mixture of borax, liquid dish soap, and water to create this robust solution. For every 2 gallons of water, you need to add two tablespoons of liquid dish soap and half a cup of borax. What’s great about borax is that it’s less toxic than bleach but still highly effective in eliminating mold and mildew.
Step 1: Check the Stucco Surface for Signs of Damages
Before you start with the actual cleaning, you must thoroughly inspect the stucco surface for any signs of damage. Try to find any gaps, cracks, and other flaws. Run your hand over the surface to find if there are any damaged areas. Put extra effort into checking the corners and edges as they usually deteriorate faster.
It’s an important step as washing a damaged stucco can cause further damage to your wall. It may cause water to enter through the cracks, causing mold, mildew, and other unwanted fungi to grow. What’s worse, it could even lead to water damage.
Step 2: Repair Any Damages
If you find any signs of damage, you must repair them immediately. Washing a damaged stucco surface can lead to more expensive repairs. Thankfully, it’s easy to repair minor damages like hairline cracks and small chips.
To repair minor damages, you must get an exterior acrylic caulk that matches the color of your stucco wall. You can easily get this at most home improvement retail outlets.
Apply the caulk to the damaged area using a caulking gun and paintbrush. Once done, apply any gritty material like sand to the caulk immediately. You must do it while the caulk is still wet. The gritty material will mimic the texture of the stucco. Give the caulk enough time to dry before starting the cleaning process.
In case you find major damages, you will not be able to properly repair this by yourself. You must seek the services of a professional to help you with the repairs.
Step 3: Rinse Down the Stucco Surface With Water
After thoroughly checking for signs of damage and sealing up all cracks and gaps, you can now rinse the stucco diligently. This allows you to remove any loose dirt, dust, and debris from the surface. This step is crucial so that when you scrub, you won’t be able to push any loose material into any holes in the stucco.
You can use either a regular garden hose or a pressure washer for this step. But while pressure washers are more efficient in rinsing down any loose material off a stucco surface, it requires extra meticulousness. Stucco surfaces are porous and delicate. If you use too much pressure when rinsing it, it can damage the wall.
When using a pressure washer to clean stucco surfaces, experts advise that you use a pressure level that won’t exceed 500 PSI. You should select a 25- or 40-degrees nozzle as well. There should also be at least 24 inches distance between the nozzle and the stucco surface. Make sure as well that you rinse the surface at a 45-degree angle to avoid damage.
Step 4: Put in the Cleaning Solution
You can now apply your preferred cleaning solution to the stucco surface. You can either use a pressure washer or a single-pump sprayer to apply the solution. For stucco pressure washing, you must apply the solution at a downward angle and keep the end of the nozzle about 24 inches away from the stucco surface. You must also use a 65-degree nozzle tip as well.
If you’re going to use a single pump sprayer, you must divide the wall into workable sections. This makes the cleaning process much easier. Start from the bottom and continue up until you reach the top.
Let the solution penetrate the stains deeply for about five to 10 minutes. However, for harsher mold or mildew growths, you may let the solution sit for up to 30 minutes.
Step 5: Scrub the Stains Away
Once the solution penetrates the stains, you can now start scrubbing the stucco surface. Use a soft-bristle brush to completely remove the stains. You can also use a rotating brush attachment to make the scrubbing easier.
Areas with heavy stains need a little extra scrubbing. Make sure to only apply mild pressure and don’t be harsh on the surface. This is important so you won’t damage your wall.
Step 6: Rinse Down the Stucco Surface Again
Once you’re done scrubbing the stains off, you should thoroughly rinse down the stucco surface again. This will remove any cleaning solution left on the surface. Whether you’re using a pressure washer or a regular hose, you should start the rinsing from top to bottom. Similar to the initial rinsing, you must use a 25- or 40-degrees nozzle. You must also place the nozzle at least 24 inches away from the stucco surface.
Things You Must Never Do When Cleaning Stucco Surfaces
When cleaning your stucco surfaces, there are things you must avoid. This allows you to avoid damaging the stucco surfaces when cleaning them. Some of the thing you must never do are:
1. DON’T scrub the stucco surfaces harshly as it can damage your wall. It’s best to do the scrubbing gently and apply only mild pressure.
2. DON’T use too much pressure when using a pressure washer. Make sure that the pressure level won’t exceed 500 PSI. You must also keep the appropriate distance away from the surface to avoid inflicting any damage to it.
3. DON’T repair major damages to your stucco surfaces all by yourself. Let a professional do it to ensure that it is done correctly.
4. DON’T let the cleaning solution dry on the wall. This will make rinsing it more difficult. Avoid this by spraying a little bit of water from time to time.
5. DON’T apply solvents or solvent-based cleaning solutions to the stucco surfaces. These kinds of solutions can damage stucco surfaces.
Let the Pros Handle the Stucco Cleaning
While you can clean your stucco wall by yourself, it is always better to rely on a professional cleaning service to ensure optimal results. Professionals guarantee that they can clean your stucco walls without damaging them as they have tools specifically designed for this type of job.
If you need a professional to clean the stucco surfaces of your homes, get in touch with Bailey Boys Services. We are a top-rated commercial and residential cleaning service company servicing Sacramento and its surrounding areas. Contact us today at (916) 863-1939 to get a quote.