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9 steps to professional-looking stucco repair

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May 12, 2011

Stucco is a cement or lime-based plaster that can protect your home for 100 years or more. But, when you spot the first signs of cracking, blistering, or buckling, immediate repair is the only way to ensure your small stucco problem doesn't turn into a much bigger one.

Step-by-step stucco repair

Ready to repair the stucco damage? Here's how:

  1. Hammer away the old stucco: Start where the stucco is buckling or cracked, and work your way up. Use a hammer and chisel to remove the old stucco, down to the wood lath. Remove any metal mesh with snips.
  2. Cover the lath: Using builder's paper and roofing nails, cover the lath completely. Use a second layer of paper over the first, and make sure it's as even as you can make it.
  3. Cover the paper: Cover the area with galvanized metal lath. Trim it with snips to fit tightly against the area being repaired. Use more roofing nails to hold the metal lath to the paper and wood lath.
  4. Mix the stucco: Mix the stucco according to manufacturer's directions. Keep in mind, the stucco can contain acids that burn your skin, so always wear gloves. Work quickly, as the stucco begins to dry and harden in as little as 30 minutes.
  5. Cover it: Wet the edges of the stucco where it meets the section you're repairing. Using a brick trowel, pick up wet stucco and toss it gently against the wire lath until the entire area is covered. Smooth it down, and pack it until the lath is covered and the new stucco is about 1/2 inch lower than the existing stucco.
  6. Score it: Wait until the stucco has lost the wet sheen. Then, score it with the tip of a trowel. This helps the additional layers adhere better. Cover the section with a plastic sheet to keep it from drying out. Give the stucco about a week to cure.
  7. Add another layer: Mix up more stucco, remove the plastic, and mist the existing stucco with water. Build up the layer to just below the level of the original stucco. Smooth it out when the wet sheen dies away, and cover it with plastic.
  8. The final layer: After three days, go through the entire process again. This is your top layer, so take care to make it look exactly like the older stucco on either side of it.
  9. Paint the stucco: After one more week of curing, use appropriate stucco paints to make the patch virtually invisible.

Good stucco repair takes time, but if done correctly, your work can last a lifetime.

About the Author:

Shannon Dauphin is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. Her current home was built in 1901, so home repair and renovation have become her necessary hobbies.

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