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Stucco is a durable exterior cladding material but requires routine maintenance to keep it in good condition. Over time, stucco can develop cracks, holes, and other damage from weather exposure. Neglecting repairs can allow moisture to seep in and cause costly issues like mold growth or structural damage. Proper stucco repair helps protect your home’s exterior and increase its curb appeal.

Identifying Stucco Damage 

Common types of stucco damage include hairline cracks, large cracks, patching that is popping off, and moisture intrusion indicated by bubbling or discoloration of the surface. Inspect stucco walls closely, feeling for rough or sunken patches. Use a bright light to help identify cracks, especially narrow ones. Pay attention to areas prone to damage, such as corners, edges, and joints between dissimilar materials.

Safety Precautions

When working with stucco, safety should be the top priority. Wear gloves, safety glasses, and a dust mask to avoid skin and respiratory irritation from cement particles. Be careful of any electrical lines in the walls you are repairing. Clean up thoroughly to eliminate silica dust, which can cause lung disease if inhaled over long periods. Have good ventilation and wear a respirator if cutting or grinding stucco.

Materials And Tools

Core repair materials include a bonding agent or concrete patch, fast-setting mortar or stucco mix, fiber mesh tape, caulk, and paint or sealant. Necessary tools are a trowel, putty knife, scissors or snips, grout float, scrub brush, hammer, chisel, and drill. Rubber gloves, dust masks, goggles, and drop cloths are essential for safety.

How To Repair Stucco?

The following are the steps to repair stucco properly.

Preparing For Repairs

Carefully inspect the stucco surface and identify all areas that need attention. Clean the entire wall surface with a stiff bristle brush to remove dirt, dust, and other debris. Use a wet/dry vacuum to thoroughly remove debris from the engraving.

For loose stucco or areas with bubbling/cracking, score the surface with a utility knife to undermine any remaining bond. Carefully remove loose material with a hammer and cold chisel, being gentle so as not to damage the underlying lath or sheathe it. Thoroughly clean out any damaged areas before patching.

Mask off adjacent surfaces such as flooring, siding, and landscaping areas with drop cloths to catch dust and debris. Let the wall fully dry before patching to ensure proper bonding of new materials.

Patching And Caulking

Begin by mixing the bag of stucco repair compound according to package instructions. Using a trowel, apply a 1/4-1/2 inch layer, slightly overfilling cracks or holes. Embed fiberglass mesh tape for reinforcement, pressing it gently into the wet mixture. Feather the mesh edges with your trowel. Allow the first layer to begin drying, then apply a second thin layer over the tape to fully cover it.

For larger holes, apply the mixture in successive thin coats, scratching between each to promote bonding. Seal joints and seams with an exterior-grade, paintable caulk. Apply according to product instructions, usually forcing it into gaps with a putty knife. Smooth and shape the bead with a wet finger. Allow adequate drying time before finishing.

Finishing Touches

Once the final stucco patch or caulk coat has firmed up, use 150-grit sandpaper to feather edges smooth. Dampen the entire repaired area and allow it to dry fully. Recreate the existing stucco texture using a float, trowel, or texturing tool as needed. Match the look and porosity of the original stucco as closely as possible. For very large or visible patches, consider plastering the entire wall surface to achieve uniformity. Mask areas properly beforehand to avoid damaging adjacent surfaces.

Waterproofing And Sealing

Apply a breathable waterproofing product with a pump sprayer, roller, or brush according to the product instructions. Look for elastomeric concrete sealers or waterproofing fortified coatings. Apply the first coat in a thin, even layer, back-brushing any drips or runs. Allow proper drying time between coats, typically 2-4 hours. Apply a second coat at right angles to the first to ensure full coverage. Inspect for any missed areas and touch up. Protect new sealant from rain for at least 24 hours after final coat or until fully dry. Reapply every 5-10 years for continued protection.

Troubleshooting Common Problems

Monitor repaired areas and address issues promptly. Cracks may reappear at seam lines, requiring reinforcement with mesh tape and re-patching. Discoloration can result from moisture; allow the area to fully dry before assessing. Efflorescence is a white, powdery deposit that washes off but may recur without a waterproofing topcoat. Reapply a breathable sealer if needed.


By following some basic maintenance and repair practices, stucco can last several decades with little upkeep. Regular inspections allow small issues to be patched before they worsen. Consider hiring a pro for sizable repairs, like re-stuccoing an entire wall. With the right materials and techniques, stucco problems can easily be remedied while preserving your home’s protective exterior. Regular care means a long, easy service life from your stucco.

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