DIY How to Repair Damaged Stucco

My house had a Spanish-style wall in front, creating a courtyard. It was made from concrete blocks and covered in stucco. The finish was beautiful. When I purchased my home, I noticed fine cracks in the stucco, indicating age and the weather had beaten it down badly.

I was pondering having the entire wall redone when a storm blew through. My cast iron gate was slammed shut, and a large chunk of stucco hit the ground.

When I surveyed the damage the next morning, I knew I had work to do.

A little research told me I was in for some elbow grease and sweat, but I could repair the wall myself.

You can repair your stucco wall. If water has seeped in between the stucco and the wall, find out where that’s happening and repair it, or your repair patch won’t last.

You will need:

Stucco mix- dry or in bucket Buckets, water and mixing stick Trowel and hoc (a board used to hold spackle, compound, etc.) Scrapers and putty knives Metal brush Tarps Duct tape Paint or mortar color, if desired Stucco float

When working with dry mixes containing dust (such as cement, stucco, etc.), always use a dust mask and appropriate safety gear.

When chipping away at stucco or concrete, wear safety goggles and heavy gloves.

Lay a tarp down under the area you’re working in- it will help contain the debris. Tape it to the wall with duct tape so it doesn’t move around. When finished, roll it up and toss or dump the stucco in the trash.

Step One:

Remove the damaged stucco with the scrapers, putty knives or a stone chisel. Be careful not to damage the wall underneath. Only remove what you need to. If the surrounding stucco is stuck tight to the wall, it’s good.

Step Two:

Use the metal brush to clean the repair spot. Remove all the old stucco out of the spot.

Step Three:

Open your bucket of stucco and mix well. If you have to purchase dry mix, add enough water to make it to the consistency of peanut butter. Most stuccos, spackling and other materials also have the same consistency.

Mix well- if there are any dry spots in your mix, the patch will fall off and you’ll have to start again.

If you have colored stucco, you can mix in dry mortar color, or paint after the stucco dries.

Step Four:

Spray the wall with a light coating of water. Concrete is porous, and it will pull water out of your stucco. This won’t allow it to cure properly, and your patch will fall off.

Step Five:

Put some stucco on your hoc, and pick it up with your trowel. I didn’t use a hoc- I used two trowels, because that’s what I had. One became my hoc. Mix the stucco between the two to make it malleable.

You kind of have to play with it a little- this part of the job is fun. Ever play in the mud as a kid? Ever wonder why joint compound is sometimes referred to as mud? Yup.

Go to the wall, and using some pressure, place and spread the stucco into the space. Don’t worry about what falls on the ground- leave it there.

Don’t pick up the stucco from the ground and put it on your wall- you’ll be inserting dirt, grass, etc. into your wall and it will look terrible.

Continue to spread the stucco in a smooth, even layer.

If the stucco starts to dry out, spray with a little water again. Don’t let it dry out yet. Take your time.

Step Six:

Fill a bucket with water and soak the float. Using the float, go over the patch(es) and blend the edges with the existing stucco coating.

When taking the float out of the water bucket, drag it across the top to remove about 60 percent of the water.

As you go over the stucco patch, you’ll find that even pressure will help level out your patch, and will blend the edges of all the stucco you applied.

After all the edges are blended, you can use the sponge to pat the stucco to give it that “stone finish” look.

My wall has a different look, more like peaks of cake icing. It took mushing on more stucco, pushing the float in and pulling it out to create the peaks.

If your wall looks a little different, experiment to recreate your wall’s finish.

Step Seven:

Allow the stucco to dry for a couple of days. If you tinted the mix, and it doesn’t match the original wall, no problem. You can paint the wall with masonry paint so the whole thing matches.

That’s another project.

Source: Tom Silva, “How to Patch Stucco,” This Old House Website, no date given

Source: The author of this article has over 40 years of experience in diverse forms of DIY, home improvement and repair, crafting, designing, and building furniture, outdoor projects and more.

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