Looking for local stucco repair contractor? If your home or commercial structure has some stucco problems and you are in search of residential stucco contractor or best commercial stucco contractors in the area who does stucco work exceptionally well then you found right website. We know how to repair stucco damage. contractors have been doing exactly that for number of years and would be excited to help you.
We offer every kind of stucco damage repair service known to man. We take care of stucco water damage, synthetic stucco problems, hard coat stucco problems, stucco hail damage, stucco moisture damage, basically any stucco siding issues at all. Our crews even deal with stucco woodpecker damage. Yes, that happens. Our stucco technicians are very experienced at fixing stucco damage.
But before we start talking about stucco repair we think it would be beneficial to address what is stucco and stucco origin. So we are all on the same page and have basic idea about what is being discussed in this article.
In this article we will take care of some misconceptions about what stucco actually is and also attempt to answer some questions on the topic. We will examine:
- What Is Stucco?
- Types Of Stucco
- Traditional Stucco
- Synthetic Stucco
- One Coat Stucco
- Can Stucco Be Repaired?
- Can You Repair Stucco?
- DIY Stucco Repair
- Do You Need To Hire Professional Local Stucco Contractors?
Let’s get started…
So What Is Stucco?
Curious what is definition of stucco? Dictionary.com tells us that it is:
an exterior finish for masonry or frame walls, usually composed of cement, sand, and hydrated lime mixed with water and laid on wet.
It is very short and to the point definition of stucco. Not good enough? Well, one of our online best friends, good ‘ol Wikipedia.com has this to say about stucco:
Stucco or render is a material made of aggregates, a binder and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture. Stucco may be used to cover less visually appealing construction materials, such as metal, concrete, cinder block, or clay brick and adobe.
In English, stucco usually refers to a coating for the outside of a building and plaster one for interiors; as described below, the material itself is often little different.
Even though you got what seems like very descriptive definition of word stucco you might not be sure on what stucco is made of. So what exactly is stucco made of? We think you can get the best answer to that question when you read the rest of Stucco article on www.Wikipedia.com. They explain:
Traditional stucco is made of lime, sand, and water. Modern stucco is made of Portland cement, sand, and water. Lime is added to increase the permeability and workability of modern stucco. Sometimes additives such as acrylics and glass fibers are added to improve the structural properties of the stucco. This is usually done with what is considered a one-coat stucco system, as opposed to the traditional three-coat method.
Lime stucco is a relatively hard material that can be broken or chipped by hand without too much difficulty. The lime itself is usually white; color comes from the aggregate or any added pigments. Lime stucco has the property of being self-healing to a limited degree because of the slight water solubility of lime (which in solution can be deposited in cracks, where it solidifies). Portland cement stucco is very hard and brittle and can easily crack if the base on which it is applied is not stable. Typically its color was gray, from the innate color of most Portland cement, but white Portland cement is also used.
Now that we got a definite understanding what word stucco means and what stucco is made of let’s move on to what types of stucco are available in your area.
Types Of Stucco
As you may have already guessed there are many different types of stucco that exist in today’s world of construction and home improvement. And you are right, we have a few types of stucco available to us. But they all can be put in only three different categories.
There is three coat stucco, which is called traditional stucco. Which is part Portland cement, part sand, part water, and part lime. We also have one EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems), also called synthetic stucco or acrylic stucco which is basically one coat stucco. Then there is a one-coat stucco system, which has about 1/2-inch thick base coat, and a thin finish coat.
Inside their Stucco And Synthetic Stucco Greenbuildingadvisor.com talks in more detail about every type of stucco system and even shed some light on the differences between Traditional stucco and Modern Stucco. They share with us that:
There are many types of stucco claddings, but they can best be split into three primary types: traditional three-coat stucco; newer one-coat stucco; and exterior insulating and finish systems (EIFS). Each system has its advantages and drawbacks. Each system can be a durable, protective cladding, but each requires a different set of installation details to achieve these results. Each can create an exterior air barrier, depending, again, on details at penetrations, transitions, and the edges of the wall cladding.
Traditional stucco has been used by builders and home improvement professionals as home’s exterior siding for many years. Sometimes it is referred to as cement stucco or hard-coat stucco. It has proved itself to be more durable and more customizable – tailored to the individual needs of the homeowner.
Naturally, the question becomes what is traditional stucco made of? Glad you asked… Sider-Crete.com in their article provide us with a quick synopsis:
Traditional Portland cement plaster (hard-coat stucco) is a time-tested exterior breathable finish. It consists of Portland cement and sand mixed with water to form a workable plaster. Portland cement, the same material that is the basis for the hardened properties of concrete used to build super-highways, bridges, and skyscrapers provides strength, durability, and toughness in Portland cement plaster.
As with everything, there are advantages and disadvantages to this type of stucco. Since we’ve already covered some of the advantages, in an effort to inform the reader, let’s address some disadvantages. While some of these are a function of the materials used, some are a function of the environment in which the home is located. Merlex.com gives us a rundown of the weakness attributed to traditional stucco:
Cement or Traditional Stucco is very rigid and is susceptible to cracking. This has been by far the number one problem associated with stucco. Cracks are caused by many variables all related to movement. Stucco also tends to dry differentially by how long the moisture stays in the wall. Cement Stucco typically is darker if it dries slowly and lighter if it dries quickly.
In hot, dry, or windy conditions the entire building can be lighter in color than intended; conversely in cloudy, moist, or wet conditions the entire building can be darker than intended. In addition, walls can dry differently just based on shading. The north side of the house can dry darker than the south side. Even shading from plank, trees, or other structures can telegraph onto a wall and cause discoloration.
Synthetic stucco is the one that has many names. It is also called EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System), acrylic stucco or even elastomeric stucco finish. We will use the two names interchangeably. For starters, www.EIMA.com provides us with a quick background on what it is. They write:
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) offer continuous insulation by design, allowing architects the design flexibility and aesthetics they require, while helping to meet the new energy codes. EIFS are continuous insulation.
According to the definitions of the International Building Code and ASTM International, an Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) is a nonload bearing, exterior wall cladding system that consists of an insulation board attached either adhesively or mechanically, or both, to the substrate; an integrally reinforced base coat; and a textured protective finish coat.
EIFS with Drainage, another EIFS system, is the predominate method of EIFS applied today. As the name implies, EIFS with Drainage helps to eliminate moisture before it has an opportunity to enter the wall cavity.
Naturally, the question becomes what goes into synthetic stucco and what sets it apart from the other types of stucco siding? Well, TheBalance.com does a good job educating us on this:
Unlike earlier applications, there are now 6 layers to EIFS:
An Optional Water-Resistive Barrier that is generally fluid applied and covers the substrate.
Adhesive to attach insulation board to the supporting structure (in some cases mechanical fasteners may be used).
Foam insulation board that’s secured to the exterior wall surface substrate, most often with adhesive.
Base Coat, an acrylic or polymer-based cement material that’s applied to the top of the insulation, then reinforced with glass fiber reinforcement mesh.
Reinforcement Mesh, that is embedded in the base coat material.
Finish, textured finish coat that is decorative and protective.
One Coat Stucco
As we continue our conversation on the different types of stucco, we want to touch on a third type that has been gaining some momentum recently – one coat stucco.
A newer development in the stucco world, one coat stucco system stakes a claim as the most efficient stucco system available, as it requires less time and effort to apply. To give us a sense for what one coat stucco is, the NOCSA (National One Coat Stucco Association) in their article about One Coat Stucco present brief description:
One Coat Stucco is an ideal exterior wall treatment for residential, commercial, institutional or industrial buildings. One Coat Stucco consists of a blend of Portland cement, sand, fibers and special chemicals which produce a very efficient stucco system. One Coat Stucco provides design flexibility, durability, water management, versatility as well as cost savings… and it can be finished in a variety of ways including premixed colored cement stucco finish coats, elastomeric coatings and paints or even acrylic textured finishes.
As CortezColorado.com points out, “one coat stucco” is actually a two-coat system (though in the interest of clarity, we will continue calling it by its common, everyday name):
It’s called “one coat stucco” because you can technically apply only one coat and meet building code requirements. Most homeowners are also concerned about the look of their home as well as the function, so a second, finish coat, is usually applied. So, when it comes to real-world application, one coat stucco is usually really a two-coat system, even though we still call it one coat stucco.
Since one coat stucco system is a proprietary blend of compounds, the exact mixture varies from company to company. Commonalities of the different products, however, are centered around their goal of simplifying the application process.
So what is one coat stucco made of specifically? Good question. We will go back to NOCSA.org who provides us with some quick specs:
The term One Coat Stucco refers to a blend of Portland cement, sand, fibers, special proprietary chemicals and water. One Coat Stucco combines the scratch and brown coat into a single application of 3/8″ to 1/2″ thick. One Coat Stucco assemblies are code-approved proprietary systems that must be specified and installed per the manufacturer’s approved specifications and details. The information contained herein is to be considered for information only and does not supersede the manufacturer’s recommendations.
What Is Stucco Repair?
So now that we have established what stucco actually is and how many types of different stucco we are dealing with let us answer the some very important questions.
What is stucco repair? Can you repair stucco? Or, can stucco be repaired? When to repair stucco?
Let’s answer them one at a time… Let’s deal with “what is stucco repair” question first.
In his article Stucco Repair vs. Stucco Remediation Mike Hyon the owner of PrecisionExterior.com writes:
Stucco Repair refers to the practice of finding specific instances of stucco failure, fixing those specific problems, and then replacing the damaged material with more stucco. In a nutshell, stucco repair means you fix the damage, but not the underlying defect. This is similar to treating symptoms of illness rather than curing the disease. As a less-invasive option, stucco repair may miss water damage in some areas of your home where the stucco was not removed.
We would add to his description of Stucco Repair that it is ’s practice to actually “cure the disease” as Mike puts it. Before we actually get to fixing stucco damage we take care of the underlying problems with stucco siding and only then we begin the process of stucco damage repair. We are positively sure that when homeowners hire residential stucco repair contractor or a property manager signs a contract with any commercial stucco contractors they would like stucco repair contractors to take care of their stucco problems permanently. Agree?
Can Stucco Be Repaired?
The short answer is yes. Stucco can be repaired. Though sometimes it is very difficult and sometimes it is almost impossible. As we mentioned in the beginning of this article every situation is unique. It all depend on so many factors. Once in awhile we get a phone call from a desperate home owner who needs us to come out and give him or her stucco estimate right away because they think it is unsafe for them or their tenant to occupy particular property due to severe stucco damage.
When one of our estimators get there to inspect the problem and give homeowner or business owner stucco repair estimate they realize that their stucco problems are beyond repair. They have neglected their problems with stucco siding for far too long and now they have to deal with stucco removal and stucco restoration services (that we provide, by the way). Essentially they now need to restucco their entire area that was damaged.
Whether it started with stucco hairline crack and turned into stucco moisture damage and now we have to deal with a case of full blown stucco water damage repair, it could have been avoided by calling us sooner and saving a ton of money by taking care of it right away.
Can You Repair Stucco?
Interesting question. Stucco – in one form or another – has been used for the better part of a thousand years. If you look around at many of the historic buildings around the world, you’ll see that many of them are still relatively intact. Even famous stucco buildings that go through regular stucco maintenance are susceptible to stucco cracks and other stucco damage over time.
This goes to show you that stucco damage, whether big or small, will affect stucco homes or commercial structures as well. Regardless of how well it’s taken care of and how often needed stucco maintenance was performed, sooner or later (usually later) property owners will have to deal with stucco siding issues and exterior stucco repair situations. There will come a time where they will need to repair their stucco siding.
So, can you repair stucco yourself? Earlier we mentioned that it really depends on said stucco damage. Though small hairline cracks can make for nice do-it-yourself projects, not all stucco damage can be handled by property owners themselves or just any handyman.
In fact, when in doubt, it is often recommended that you have on of state licensed stucco repair companies take a look. Mr. Handyman.com in their post “Stucco Repair: Should I Repair Stucco Myself or Hire a Contractor?” talks about this,
Stucco in need of repair may be a sign of a more serious issue. Improperly mixed stucco may continue to be in need of repair as it crumbles from the exterior of your home. To avoid the regular work and the unsightly appearance of repair work that doesn’t quite match the original application, you may want to have the top layer peeled away by a professional and reapplied.
Large cracks can be a sign of an improper installation, such as incorrect locations for expansion joints, base coat applied before the stucco has had time to properly cure and other poor construction practices. Again, you will want to consider removing and reapplying the topcoat to avoid large cracks developing over time.
House settling beyond the expected, extreme weather, and seismic activity can also lead to stucco damage. Having a professional handyman inspect your home and its foundation will help you unearth larger issues that can lead to higher cost than just stucco reapplication down the road. And whatever you do, do not put off stucco repair as doing so can lead to moisture becoming trapped behind your exterior wall causing repair costs.
As you can see, there may be more to fixing stucco damage than meets the eye. What you may think are light stucco problems can turn out to be something much larger. As a result, by saving money on stucco repair cost on the front end, you may be costing yourself more money on the back-end.
Let’s say you have a small hairline cracks in stucco. You may think it’s no big deal and apply some of the store bought stucco products. They could even be correct stucco repair products or even stucco crack repair products specifically designed for your stucco issue. If those stucco cracks were actually caused by something like mold or rot in the interior structure, you man have just put a bandaid on a structural ‘wound’ that won’t heal itself.
Worse yet, thinking that you are done fixing cracks in stucco, you may decide to move on with your life while stucco moisture damage becomes more severe and the inside of your home continues to mold or rot. In these types of situations, it’s better to call a licensed stucco contractor from the get-go. Websites like Angie’s list in their Stucco Siding Repair Tips article can give some more perspective on why calling a contractor may be important:
When to call stucco contractors
If the damage extends to the foundation of the home or into any of the support structure, contact a professional to provide a repair estimate. Unless you have experience with major home repairs, you could do more damage by attempting to fix it yourself.
Stucco contractors can assess the damage and make repairs while protecting the value of your home. If you’re thinking about replacing the stucco on your home instead of repairing the damage, determine the siding options available for your home prior to hiring a contractor.
One of the major ironies of frugality, or the compulsion to save money at all costs, is that it might end up costing you more money. No where is this more sorrowful than large expenditures like home improvement or construction remodeling.
Sure, there may be times where homeowners guess correctly by deciding to fix the problem themselves or with the help of a general handyman they know. It may be worth asking yourself if you want to potentially risk thousands of dollars on this type of gamble?
Although there are many types of stucco repairs and stucco maintenance that can be done yourself, it is recommended that most types of repairs should be done by licensed stucco repair contractors. This includes stucco cracks, stucco water damage, and other types of stucco work.
Why is it so important to get stucco repair work done properly? The answer is that improper stucco work can lead to a variety of bigger problems and there may be no way to tell until you see the damage from the outside. At that point it may be too late.
DIY Stucco Repair
As we can see, there are at least three types of major issues that can result from improper DIY stucco repair. Although these issues can have multiple different causes, they are often expressed as different types of stucco cracking.
Recognizing and properly identifying different types of cracks can often give you some valuable information on the types of things that are happening underneath the stucco. Murtagh Bros outlines different types of stucco cracks and what may have caused them. In their Bad Stucco Job article they explain:
Identifying cracks in stucco is fairly straightforward. However, there are several types of cracks, many of which can speak to their underlying symptoms. Below are a few of the more common cracks that can occur:
Hairline cracks: The most common form of crack, caused by normal stresses or vibrations around the home. Joint compound should work, but if the crack is larger than 1/16th of an inch, the cause might be something else, requiring a more elaborate fix.
Cracks on foam trim: This is when two pieces of stucco meet and the seam was not properly connected. In this case, the problem lies under the stucco, so using joint compound won’t work as thermal expansion and contraction will crack the wall again.
Spider cracking: This happens when the base coat of stucco under the top layer did not cure properly for a variety of reasons. Bad weather conditions the day it was applied, an improper mixture in the stucco recipe or the mix drying too quickly are all possible culprits. This problem needs to be addressed from the ground up, so to speak, a total reapplication of the affected area is necessary.
Wall patterns: Cracks in either horizontal lines, vertical lines, or both. In this case, the lath the stucco rests on wasn’t properly secured, so the stucco needs to be broken off and the lath secured with roofing nails to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Diagonal cracks: Mostly the result of house shifting or seismic movements, this can also occur around door and window frames as a result of vibrations from opening and closing them. Depending on the intensity of the crack, a simple application of compound can fix the smallest ones while a new coat of stucco might be necessary for bigger ones.
So, is DIY stucco siding repair an option? Can stucco be repaired by DIY exterior stucco repair specialist? If you are a person who does stucco work in your spare time and yo do DIY stucco exterior out of desire to save money on stucco repair cost please read below.
Do You Need To Hire Professional Local Stucco Contractors?
It is important to remember that many, if not all, of the above issues can be avoided with proper stucco installation or stucco repair. Keep in mind that these are only some of the common issues. There could potentially be other problems associated with stucco work that are unique to certain home layouts, climate regions, and other factors.
Although many jobs can seem simple, it is often best practice to call in licensed professional contractors that take the time to do things the right way. Experienced, licensed professionals are trained to spot stucco damage that may be undetectable to the average homeowner. This can be a small investment that can potentially pay large dividends down the road.
For all of the above mentioned reasons Stucco HQ always recommends for property owners with stucco problems or stucco damage to hire licensed stucco repair contractors. So we leave you with our best advice: hire your local residential stucco repair contractor or commercial stucco contractors who deal with problems with stucco siding on daily bases, who are experienced and know how to repair stucco damage correctly and permanently.
Check out video below that takes you through the entire stucco repair process: