Whether you are considering updating the style of your brick home or wanting to transform a damaged brick exterior, applying stucco is a creative alternative to painting that can freshen your home's look and add curb appeal. We’ve researched and outlined some key advantages and disadvantages to help you determine if stucco is the right solution for you.
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Since both stucco and brick are masonry products, in most cases, stucco can be directly applied over brick. A simple water absorption test can determine if stucco will bond directly to the brick or if an extensive cleaning, bonding agent, or metal framework may be necessary for the stucco to adhere properly. Contaminants such as paint and dirt can prevent stucco from bonding correctly, and improper installation can lead to future problems such as cracking and moisture damage.
Now that you know what to be wary of before applying stucco, let's take a look at the pros and cons of this versatile exterior covering. We'll also discuss project planning, stucco application methods, and whether you can remove stucco if searching for a new look on your home's exterior.
Advantages of Stucco
Stucco is naturally resistant to mold, termites, and fire. But, how long does stucco last on a house? When applied over brick, you can expect stucco to last 40 to 50 years, depending on your climate.
The pigments in stucco help retain color and reduce the need to repaint your home as often as other materials such as wood.
Stucco can be applied in a variety of textures to give your home a look that fits your style.
Stucco naturally insulates your home from outside sound pollution, which is especially beneficial if you live in a high-traffic area.
Does Stucco Increase Home Value?
If installed properly and kept in good condition, stucco can give your home a seamless look which is commonly sought after by homebuyers. The added curb appeal can actually add more market value to your home if you are looking to sell.
Disadvantages of Stucco
The texture of stucco attracts dirt, and routine cleaning is recommended to keep stucco looking good. Most cleaning can be accomplished with a garden hose. For more difficult stains, a detergent is recommended.
Can you pressure wash stucco?
Pressure washing is not the best choice due to stucco’s fragile finish, but if needed, stucco may be pressure washed with low pressure at a recommended distance of two feet.
The composition of stucco is not flexible, and cracking may occur due to natural settling. It is important to repair cracks and holes as soon as possible to keep stucco looking its best and prevent other damage.
Stucco naturally retains moisture which can lead to water damage without regular maintenance. Metal flashing around doors and windows should be in good condition and repaired if needed before applying stucco to prevent moisture from seeping between the stucco and brick, which can cause damage to both.
Applying stucco is a specialized skill and labor-intensive job as it is applied in layers and often requires trained professionals to ensure proper installation. Thus, the cost of labor associated with stucco as opposed to other alternatives such as siding can be more expensive.
If you are taking on the project yourself, you first want to ensure the proper climate. Avoid freezing or hot temperatures. If possible, plan your project around several overcast with a temperature of 50-60℉. When purchasing materials, determine how much stucco mixture you will need. Since color and texture may vary, purchasing all materials together will ensure a seamless match.
Applying Stucco to Brick
Before starting the application process, ensure all cracks and holes in the brick are repaired using hydraulic cement and that all metal flashing around doors and windows are in good condition. Mixing stucco is one of the biggest challenges, and we recommend having at least one assistant to focus on mixing to allow you to focus on the application process.
To start the application process, dampen the in sections, and the first layer of stucco should be applied approximately ⅜ inches thick using a trowel. You do not need to worry about applying texture to the bottom layer.
After a few hours, use a plasterer's rake to scratch lines into the stucco surface to allow the top layer to better adhere. Allow the first layer to dry and bond overnight.
After the bottom layer is dry, apply the second layer at approximately the same ⅜ inch thickness and add texture. Mist the wall every few hours as the stucco dries to allow the stucco to dry more slowly, which will reduce flaws and cracking.
Can You Take Stucco Off Brick?
Although possible, the removal of stucco from brick is a tedious and labor-intensive process. Use a hammer and chisel to chip away the stucco one section at a time by hand. Before undergoing this project, it is important to understand why the stucco was applied to begin with.
If stucco was used to cover damage, then removing the stucco could potentially cause additional structural damage. We recommend consulting a professional and stop the removal process if you come across any section where a metal framework was used to adhere the stucco to the brick.
Now that you have the tools you need to start your stucco renovation, we wish you the best of luck and hope you enjoy the new look of your home once your project is complete. You might also be interested in reading our related posts: