Exterior stucco is considered as porous material having a textured surface. The porosity of stucco will cause it to stain very often and very rapidly. Another drawback for stucco is that it has textured surface which lets the surface to accumulate grime, debris and dust which can settle easily in the crevices. The most common and general stains to get accumulated on the exterior surface of the stucco are mildew, mold, dirt and algae. For maintaining the stucco, you will need to clean it and these stains can also be removed very easily. Well stucco is not that difficult to clean and with right tools and techniques you can do it by yourself. Stucco is considered to somewhat fragile and hence you need to be very careful while cleaning it so that you don’t end up damaging it while cleaning.
- Check out the stucco
Before you start with the process of cleaning stucco, you must check it out for finding any kind of flaws. If your stucco is damaged and you are washing it, chances are there that the water can go in the cracks which can cause the mildew and mold to grow along with several other issues. If you find that there are any cracks and chips in the stucco, don’t initiate with the process of cleaning till the time you have repaired them. If there are small chips or hairline cracks or any such minor damage then you can repair it by yourself. If the damage in the stucco is more than professional should be called who is experienced adequately in this field and get the damage repaired by them.
- Seal chips and cracks
If you explore several minor flaws in your stucco then you can consider repairing it by yourself. You can make use of an exterior acrylic caulk which should be color matched and try to seal the chips and cracks with that. This caulk is available at any of the home improvement stores. However it can be bit tough to find a caulk which is of the exact similar color as that of your stucco but try and find the closest match as you can. If the repairs are minor then little bit different caulk will not be a matter of issue and it won’t even look odd. For matching up the texture of the surrounding stucco, try and press the sand or any other gritty substance in the surface of the wet caulk. Allow the caulk to dry completely before you try to clean it.
- Find the problem areas
Find the cause of the discoloration and stains on your stucco. Finding the cause will lead you to the actual remedy. Is it the dirt and the general debris or it is the black stains which happens near a place on the wall water drips of gets collected? If you see the black stains in the areas like under the eaves then they would probably be mildew and not the dirt. If you spot any green stains then it will possibly be algae. You will possibly need bleach for cleaning off the microorganisms like mildew and algae. If a large area of the stucco is infected with it then you should probably consider hiring a professional for cleaning stucco.
- Prepare the cleaning solution
The best cleaner you can get for cleaning stucco would be bleach and concentrated cleaner. Search for a concentrated cleaner which is made especially for being used on the exterior surfaces. You can find these concentrated cleaners at any of the home improvement store. Check out for the product which would say professional strength concentrate and consist of ingredients like sodium o-phenylphenate and acetic acid. Check out the information’s given on them and they will teach you as to how to mix up the cleaning solution for any specific product. Majority of the concentrated exterior cleaners will work at its best by adding hot water and household bleach. The bleach is such an agent which will kill mildew and algae and will also activate the solution. Put on safety gears like rubber gloves and eye protection while mixing and using the cleaning solution.
- Use borax and dish cleaning soap
If you are intending to avoid using bleach then you can try a solution which is borax based. Borax is less toxic and is considered as a natural material as compared with that of bleach and is considered very effective when it comes to killing mold. For preparing such cleaning solutions, you will be in need of three things dish soap, hot water and borax. Mix these ingredients in a big bucket. Take 2 gallons of water, ½ cup of borax and 2 table spoon of dish soap and mix them well.
- Clean the wall with pressure washer
There are various sizes of nozzles for pressure washers which gives different amount of pressure of water. Stucco is considered as very delicate and hence while cleaning stucco, you will need a nozzle which will give a washer hose with low pressure. The entire stucco wall should be saturated with water before you for applying the cleaning solution to it. For avoiding any kind of damage, ensure you are hitting the water at 45 degree angle at the wall. Minimum distance of 24 inches should be kept of the nozzle from the wall. Let the water be applied in an even stream. You don’t want to buy a pressure washer; you can rent it from any of the home improvement store.
- Spray the cleaning solution
A single pump sprayer should be filled up with a cleaning solution. Distribute your wall in workable spaces. Make use of the pump sprayer to apply the cleaning solution on the basic section of the wall. Initiate from the bottom section and work your way to the top till you are finished with the first section of the stucco wall. Pay more importance on the areas with heavy stains.