How To Fix Cracks In Stucco – Step By Step
A lot of houses are built using Stucco. Though sometimes regarded as poor man’s brick because of its low price, a lot of modern buildings are constructed with this material because of its ability to withstand the test of time, elements, and the constant motion of the Earth.
Though it can remain sturdy for a long period of time, it is sometimes unavoidable for cracks to appear on the exterior of a stucco finish. Cracks can be classified depending mainly on their sizes. The smaller cracks can be fixed by anyone interested in DIY, and in this tutorial, we will discuss doing that.
For Small Cracks
This set of instructions is applicable only to really small cracks, those with a width that do not exceed a quarter of an inch.
What you will need:
- Caulk tube
- Caulking gun
- Water Sponge or thick piece of cloth
Alternative: If you are not comfortable using a caulking gun, there are tubes available in the market that do not require using a gun.
1. Cutting the caulking tube tip
For easier maneuvering when applying the caulking product, it is highly recommended that you cut the tip at a 45° angle. Make sure the hole is as small as possible; this will result in easier application of the product. To see how much of the product actually comes off the tube, load it onto the gun and squeeze a few times.
2. Caulk application
Ensure the actual crack is free from debris and small dust particles; you can use a brush to do this. Once you’re sure the crack is clean, apply a single and consistent bead of caulk. The angled tip should make this process easier. Ensure that the crack is filled entirely and in a non-ending bead to entirely cover the crack.
3. Spread the caulk
Once done applying the caulk, push it onto the crack using your fingers. Try to be as even as possible and go in all directions to make sure the crack is filled completely. Avoid spreading the caulk outside the crack to make the cleaning process easier.
4. Wiping off excess caulking
Now, soak the sponge or piece of cloth and start dabbing it onto the wall. Wringing out the sponge a little bit is good; just make sure that there is enough water for the clean-up. Make sure the crack is the only place with caulk; you don’t want it spread onto other parts of the wall.
5. Let it sit
Leave the crack alone for a few hours or a few days to completely dry. Refer to the label to know how much time is needed for the material to dry.
6. Apply a second coating
Once completely dry, chances are the material has shrunk into the crack, and that is fine. You need to repeat the caulk application process only this time you will try to copy the texture of the whole wall.
Pro tip: It is suggested that prior to applying the second coat of caulk, squeeze a few drops on a scrap piece of plywood or cardboard and see what methods you can use to copy the texture of the wall; using a brush, cloth, etc.
7. Finishing touch
Once the second coat has dried, painting the crack to match the existing wall color is needed. Ask your local paint store personnel how to achieve your desired color and effect.
Pro tip: To avoid an uneven colored wall, most folks just repaint the whole wall. And personally, I think this is better than risking ruining the wall’s color.
For Big Cracks
The following set of instructions can be used for cracks with a width that is more than a quarter of an inch.
What you will need:
- Mixing tub (an old pail or bucket should do fine)
- Stucco mixing patch
- Rubber float
1. Clean the crack
Since you are dealing with a bigger crack, there is a bigger chance of debris accumulating inside the actual crack. Make sure you get rid of all the dust particles or any other foreign object. It is also advised to widen parts of the crack if they are smaller compared to the other parts; you want to have a crack that is uniform in width.
2. Patch mixing
Follow the manufacturer’s direction in mixing the patch with water. Different products require a different ratio of water and stucco patch. Stucco mixtures dry out pretty quickly, prepare only enough for 15-minute application.
3. Patch application
With your rubber float, apply a thin layer of the patch into the affected area. Do not put more than a quarter of an inch worth of patch into the crack. You will need to repeat this process until the crack is no longer visible and the patch is even with the existing wall surface.
Once you are satisfied with the outcome, apply a final layer and match its texture with the existing wall. Before this final layer dries out, clean any excess patch using a clean rubber float and sweeping in a circular motion. To test what you need to do to achieve a similar texture, put a little patch mixture onto a scrap board or plywood and experiment what you need to do.
5. Finishing touch
Once dry, you can paint the foxed area to match the existing wall’s color. If a large portion of the wall was affected, it may be a good idea to just paint the whole wall fresh.
Advanced tips and reminders:
- Cracks can be symptoms of a problem in the foundation of your home. If there a lot of cracks together with uneven doorjambs, askew window panes, etc., have the foundations checked.
- Before using any stucco patch or caulking material, make sure it is compatible with the current wall. Applying an incompatible material can result in more harm than good.
- While DIY-ing is good, you can always hire professionals to do this for you. It is costlier for sure, but you can be sure the job will be done right.
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