Stucco is used widely for exterior home finishes following its appearance, ease of maintenance and durability. When stucco is applied correctly, it has a lifespan of up to 50 years, and it has low yearly upkeep requirements. Stucco is a naturally occurring material which is made up of an aggregate, a binder, and water. It is applied on the walls when wet, which then hardens when it dries up. It has been in use for centuries as a coating for ceilings and walls as well as in decoration. Stucco may also be used to cover up less appealing construction materials.

There are two types of stucco: historical/traditional stucco and modern stucco. Historic stucco exterior comprised of a mixture of lime, cement, water, and sand. Other types of old stucco comprised of animal hair, pebbles, binders, seashells and bits of coal or brick. Modern stucco, on the other hand, is made up of a material known as Portland cement. Here is a guide to caring for your home’s stucco:

1. Dirt and debris
For traditional stucco, cleaning of dirt and debris is by the use of a sprayer connected to a hose. However, one has to go easy on the amount of water pressure since too much pressure will damage the stucco surface. For modern stucco, debris and dirt is cleaned by use of a fan-type sprayer which is exclusive to stucco. For stain removal on modern stucco, use warm water and a scrub brush.
One can also use mild detergent or swap with a specialized cleaner made specifically for stucco, to clean dirt and debris from a stucco’s exterior.

2. Mold
If you have reason to believe that mold led to the discoloring of your stucco exterior, you can remove the stains using a bleach solution. Start off with rinsing the stucco, and then apply a solution of 25% bleach and the remaining hot water. Ensure that you wear gloves on your hands and protective eyewear when you are working with bleach and cover any nearby plants.
When applying the bleach, use a brush or a sponge and leave it to soak into the stucco for some few minutes. After that, rinse the bleach solution off and leave the treated area for 24 hours to dry up after which you should reexamine the surface again. There should be a visible improvement to the stucco after it dries.

3. Touch-up and cracks
If you want to touch upon the stucco’s color, use an elastomeric or acrylic paint that is used on masonry materials. The paint may also be used to cover up hairline cracks.
Caring for your home stucco shouldn’t be challenging. Apply any of the above methods and your stucco will look good in no time.