An essential aspect of maintaining the aesthetic appeal and longevity of your property involves regular cleaning of stucco exteriors. This comprehensive guide outlines the step-by-step process, emphasizing the significance of inspecting for damage, repairing cracks, and employing proper cleaning techniques for optimal results. It also underscores the importance of using suitable pressure levels and cleaning solutions, with a suggestion for seeking professional assistance when necessary.
Step 1: Inspection of Stucco Surface
Begin by carefully inspecting the stucco surface for any signs of damage, including cracks, gaps, or openings. Identifying and addressing these issues before cleaning prevents water from entering through cracks, which could lead to mold growth and potential water damage within the walls.
Step 2: Seal Any Cracks
If cracks are detected, it is imperative to repair them before proceeding with cleaning. For minor damages such as hairline cracks and small chips, utilize an exterior acrylic caulk that closely matches the stucco color. Apply the caulk to the damaged area, mimicking the texture with sand or a gritty material. For extensive damage, consider seeking professional assistance.
Step 3: Rinsing the Surface
Before applying any cleaning solution, rinse the stucco surface with water to remove loose dirt, dust, and debris. Use a garden hose with an attachment or a pressure washer with a pressure level of 1,500 PSI or below and a 25- or 40-degree nozzle. Maintain a safe distance of at least 24 inches to avoid damaging the stucco.
Step 4: Applying the Cleaning Solution
Choose an appropriate cleaning solution based on the type of stains. For general cleaning, a mixture of liquid dish soap and water works well. For mold or mildew, use a mixture of bleach and water or a concentrated stucco cleaner. Apply the solution with a 65-degree nozzle tip, ensuring it remains moist for 5 to 10 minutes without drying.
Step 5: Scrubbing Stubborn Stains
For stubborn stains, use a soft-bristle brush to scrub the affected areas gently. This can be done manually or with the assistance of a rotating brush attachment. Maintain a firm yet gentle pressure to avoid damaging the stucco.
Step 6: Final Rinse
After applying the cleaning solution and scrubbing, thoroughly rinse the stucco surface with water. Use a pressure washer with a 25- or 40-degree nozzle tip, working from top to bottom. Keep a distance of 24 inches to prevent damage.
While do-it-yourself stucco cleaning is feasible, consider seeking professional help for the best results. Professionals are equipped with the knowledge of how to clean stucco with pressure washing without causing damage, ensuring the preservation of the stucco’s beauty and integrity over time.