Stucco is a durable material that can elevate your house's look. It's a lime-based product that has a rough texture and a striking appearance, with details adding depth to wherever you place it. But, does it get dirty? Is it high maintenance? How do you clean it? We have researched answers for you.
Since white stucco has a porous surface and roughened edges, it is susceptible to dirt and mildew. Even using the wrong kind of cleaner can damage the surface, so you'll have to be careful with maintaining it. The color white also shows dirt easier, so it tends to look dirty even with a few specks of dirt.
Stucco can make your house look classic, but proper maintenance is key to maintaining its beauty so it can add value to your house. Repairing damaged and dirty stucco can be a little intimidating, but the results will be worth it. If you want to learn more, keep reading below!
How to Clean Stucco
Stucco requires a lot of care since it is a natural stone. Dirt, mold, and mildew can easily accumulate on the crevices, which is why you should clean them properly when you notice signs of dirt forming on the surface.
Stucco is on the low-maintenance side compared to other finishes, needing deep-cleaning only once or twice a year.
However, a little cleaning every now and then won't hurt, and it will keep your stucco surface looking polished and striking,
Inspect the Surface
Inspecting your surface for any cracks or breaks is necessary because you don't want water to seep inside them. If water gets trapped in the cracks, your stucco wall will most likely be a hotbed of mold and mildew, growing out of the surface and creating bigger cracks until it ruins the foundation.
Check the surface for green or black stains--they are typically indicative of mold and algae. Target them with bleach and repair the cracks with acrylic caulking seals to eliminate these issues and strengthen your stucco wall.
If you're unsure about what to do, contact a professional and have them treat your stucco wall.
Mix a Cleaning Solution
As always, you need an effective cleaning solution to rid the walls of any signs of dirt and grime buildup. Choose a disinfectant that is specifically made to clean exterior finishes, especially stucco.
Adding bleach is often required for these solutions to activate. Bleach can thoroughly clean the surface and restore the luster of your stucco wall.
- Mix 1 cup of bleach on 1 gallon of water.
- Pour it into a spray bottle and lightly graze it over the surface.
If bleach is too harsh for you, you can do this instead:
- Get 1/2 cup of Borax
- Mix with 2 tablespoons of dish soap
- Pour them into 2 gallons of hot water
Note that chemicals can be dangerous when handled improperly. If you're hesitating, use a different method or ask someone experienced to do it for you.
Pre-Wet the Surface
Before applying the bleach solution, make sure you wet the stucco surface first. Use a garden hose or a power washer to saturate the wall, but make sure you don't use the highest setting as high pressure can damage it.
Stand at least 25 inches away from the wall before pressure-washing it. This will be enough to clean the surface without risking any damage. Make sure you start at the bottom, working your way up, to prevent staining.
If you notice that only a bit of dirt is starting to lift, don't get frustrated and oversaturate the wall--you'll need to scrub those stubborn stains later.
Read: "Can New Stucco Get Wet? [And How To Repair Water Damage When It Happens]."
Soak and Scrub Stubborn Stains
Now that you have prepped the wall, it's time to apply the bleach solution. Don't saturate the wall directly with it; instead, use a spray bottle to lightly coat the whole surface.
Make sure you go through each corner and crevice since that's where the dirt is usually trapped in. After spraying, allow the solution to sit for 10 minutes if the dirt is not deeply-seated.
If the dirt is stubborn, you will need to scrub it using soft-bristled brushes. Soak the brush in a soap and water solution as you simultaneously soak other stubborn areas with the bleach solution for 30 minutes.
Rinse and Let Dry
After the solutions have lifted the dirt up, you can now rinse the surface using a pressure washer or a garden hose. As always, be careful with the amount of pressure; make sure you have it on low to be safe.
When rinsing, start at the top of the wall so all the dirt and grime can fall from all the corners. As you make your way down, turn the hose from left to right until it rinses the entire surface.
When should you wash your stucco surface?
Since stucco will need 24 hours to completely dry, you'll need to wash it in the middle of fair weather with not too much humidity. If there's any chance of rain, it's better to put off cleaning to another day.
What else can you color stucco with?
Stucco finishes are reminiscent of houses located on an exotic tropical island. They have a rough texture that gives them an effortlessly chic and carefree appeal, so even in a stark white color, they can still stand out.
You may want to change your stucco exterior to another color if the stark white stucco gets dirty frequently. Make sure the colors you choose will complement your roof and the finishes in other parts of your house. Here are the colors you can choose to paint your stucco with.
Read: "Should Stucco Touch The Ground?"
Stucco surfaces in tan can make your exterior look unique and refreshing, especially when combined with clay roof and maroon accents. They will make your home look warmer and more inviting, with the color reminiscent of classic architecture.
The house will look especially charming with teal trimmings as this can give the house a refreshing Mediterranean appeal. Have some greenery planted if you can, and you have a dreamy outdoor scape where you can freely relax.
Some people get too overwhelmed by stark white surfaces, even if they're stucco. If you still want something bright without it looking too sharp, you can opt for an off-white color. That way, your exterior still looks crisp and clean but you won't be too worried about the dirt being too obvious.
Stucco will pair perfectly with dark trim, resembling beach houses in the tropics. Off-white stucco exteriors will pair well with concrete paving surfaces and succulents. If you want to go rustic, have a light wooden door installed.
If you want your home to truly stand out without being tacky, painting your stucco exterior in black is the way to go. This will give your home a classic but contemporary appeal, and it will look sleek all year round.
However, black surfaces require more maintenance since they easily show dirt just as easily as stark white surfaces.
If you want to lean into natural colors, go with moss green surfaces. They give your home an almost mystical appeal, especially if you live with tall trees in a wide area.
Moss green exteriors will look magical with arched doors with black trimmings. This will make your home look more vintage and classic. Just make sure to inspect the surfaces more carefully since mold stains can blend with the green stucco exterior.
Pastel pink exteriors have a unique charm. They look retro, easily reminding us of 1920-inspired homes. Stucco exteriors with this color feel inviting, especially paired with flower-filled pathways.
Some pink houses have a brighter shade, making them bolder and more noticeable. These pink houses are inspired by Taco Architecture. They give off an artistic flair, almost as if they were made for a movie. Install wooden doors and brown trim to make it homier, or you can lean into its uniqueness by peppering purple accents on your exterior.
Cool neutrals are your best choice if you want the texture of your home to be noticeable, but also still want a splash of color to make the exterior more vibrant.
Blue or grey stucco exteriors can elevate the house's appeal and make it look more welcoming, especially when paired with white trimmings and a dark roof.
White stucco shows dirt easily, so you should clean it if you notice dirt coating your surface even if it's considered low maintenance. If your lifestyle no longer allows you to clean your white stucco as frequently as you'd like, you can choose to have it painted in a different color.