How to Clean Your Exterior Stucco

stucco exterior

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Stucco is a popular look on homes, giving it a unique and upscale look that can increase your curb appeal. While stucco may be an added bonus, the downside is that it’s not as low-maintenance as other options, such as brick and vinyl siding homes. Because of stucco's porous nature and light color, elements like mildew and pollen stains are common and of course, annoying. But don’t let that deter you from loving a stucco home. There are several options to help keep the mildew and those pesky stains away.

It’s often recommended by home improvement professionals that homeowners take inventory of their home’s exterior at least once a year to check for damage or potential issues. Serious weather and even average wear and tear can lead to bigger issues. Keep your eye on any large cracks or dents, major mildew build up, and leak stains, in particular. It's recommended that you clean your stucco once a year, so that during this cleaning you are able to inspect your home for any potentially deeper problems. 

Considerations

To begin cleaning your home’s exterior, we recommend first evaluating your project to decide whether you have the time and resources to complete the project versus simply. Here are a few things you want to take into consideration: 

Time

Cleaning your home’s exterior is very time-consuming depending on the size of your home, so allowing yourself a full day of daylight is best. However, a professional may be able to get the job done in about half the time.

Budget

DIY won’t cost you much—just a few supplies are needed to get this job done on your own. A professional will bring their own supplies but obviously, their labor and work will cost you. You can expect to pay anywhere from $175 to $400, depending on the size of your home.

Effort

Keep in mind that washing your stucco is a labor intense activity for some and you can expect to exert some energy and calories getting this task done. A professional is comfortable with this task and has likely done it before.

Safety

Safety is key. Homeowners are always at risk when choosing to climb a ladder and while carrying and using tools, your chances of an accident can increase. Professionals are well-equipped to get any job done and safely.

Most folks would just assume to borrow the neighbor's power washer and knock out their project. However, average power washers are not recommended for cleaning stucco. The power of the water can cause even more damage, especially to the softer and thinner areas of stucco. Unless you have an option to lower the setting, skip the power washing method and use your garden hose. Using a hose attachment (you can get one at your local home improvement store) that has several settings will help you as you tackle this project. 

What You'll Need

Tools/Equipment

  • Water hose
  • Water hose attachment
  • Bucket
  • Large scrub brush

Materials

  • Concentrated cleaner
  • Bleach

Instructions

  1. Start With a Basic Rinse With Your Garden Hose and Attachment

    Spray long enough to see the dirt and build up fall off. It make take some time but it should loosen up. Feel free to toggle between hose attachment settings to get the tricky spots within the crevices.

  2. Use a Soap-and-Water Solution for Hard Stains Next

    For the harder-to-remove residue, like stains and mildew, try using a homemade solution that consists of liquid dish soap in water with a kitchen cleaning brush. If you find yourself still struggling to get out the bigger stains, upgrade to using 1 part bleach and 1 part water. Scrub and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Rinse and repeat if needed. 

  3. Continue Until You've Washed the Whole Exterior

Be sure to use caution if you choose to use a ladder and/or the bleach cleaning solution.

Taking care of your home's exterior by cleaning it can not only help increase your curb appeal but help prevent damage and mildew buildup that can eventually lead to stains or even bigger issues down the road. Mark your calendar annually and maybe enlist the help of family members to get the job done.