Over time, stucco can collect dirt, rust, and debris, making the outside of your home look unsightly. Due to the texture of stucco, pressure washing might be the best alternative to making an unsightly home look appealing again. There is one little drawback to power washing stucco, though: Stucco can be rather delicate. Special care and preparation are needed while cleaning stucco with a pressure washer.
Preparing the Stucco Surface
Before using the power washer, you will need to fix any cracks and chips. A crack or chip can allow water to seep behind the stucco and cause structural damage in the future. After making any needed repairs to the stucco, allow the repairs to dry for a week before attempting to pressure wash.
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Using Detergents on Stucco
When stubborn stains build up in the nooks and crannies of stucco, presoaking the surface will make the cleaning task much easier. Mix detergent and water as the label on the product instructs. Most detergents are concentrates and for safe use, should be mixed per the manufacturer's directions. Mixing the cleaning solution in a pump sprayer helps simplify the mixing task and makes application easier.
Applying the Detergent
Once the detergent and water are mixed, you need to take certain steps when applying the mixture to the surface. First, test the mixture in a nonvisible area to make sure that the it is going to perform without causing unsightly damage to your home.
It is best to perform the cleaning project in sections. Determine where each section begins and ends before applying any detergent and power washing the stucco. Some detergents can be harmful to plants and shrubs, so use caution and cover up plants as needed.
Choose the section you want to start with and apply the solution from the bottom to top, overlapping as you apply it. This will help you avoid missing any spots. Allow the solution to set for five to 10 minutes before moving on to the rinsing step. The detergent needs to be wet at all times, so if you are working on a hot, dry day, you may need to continue applying the detergent and water mix over the next five to 10 minutes.
Dealing With Stubborn Stains
Stubborn stains may require some scrubbing. Remember that stucco is delicate, so heavy, abrasive scrubbing may do more harm than good. Try scrubbing a spot in an inconspicuous location to get a good handle on the right technique for your situation.
If you are dealing with rust stains, you may want to figure out the source of the stain and deal with it as part of this project. Things like grating, range hoods, and dryer vents can be replaced or cleaned and painted with a good rust-inhibiting paint. Seal around these penetrations to keep water from running behind the stucco.
Pressure Washing Stucco
Take special care when power washing stucco. With a low-pressure spray pattern, rinse the detergent from the stucco at a 45-degree angle from the wall, keeping the nozzle at least 2 feet away while pressure washing. This will help keep the delicate stucco from breaking under direct pressure.
Power wash the stucco in the same fashion as you applied the detergent and water mix: bottom to top. Continue the entire cleaning process of applying the detergent, scrubbing as necessary, and rinsing while working in sections.