How to Bring Out the Beauty of Your Stucco Detailing
Stucco has long been used for home construction and finishing. While this durable plaster finish isn’t as popular a siding choice as vinyl, fiber-cement, or masonry, stucco can be found on many homes across the U.S., especially in the southwest. You’ll find plenty of stucco homes in Nashville, Tennessee as well. When applied to a house exterior, stucco provides a low-maintenance, rigid protective layer that offers a consistent internal temperature year-round thanks to its insulative properties. Beyond its siding applications, stucco can also be used as a finish for interior walls and trim. As versatile, durable, and low-maintenance as stucco is, however, this material is susceptible to wear and tear like anything else. Over time, your stucco detailing is bound to lose its luster, if not its integrity too. Our previous blog, “Why It's Vital to Maintain Stucco Siding,” goes over the importance of taking great care of your stucco features. Here’s how to bring out the beauty of your stucco detailing.
How to Get the Most Out of Stucco Detailing
Periodically Clean Stucco Surfaces
The best way to keep any of your surfaces looking their best is to clean them on a somewhat regular basis. Unlike smoother surfaces, though, stucco’s rough texture can make cleaning more difficult and also more necessary. Rough surfaces attract and hold onto dust and dirt more readily than smooth surfaces, after all. If you stay on top of regular cleaning, you won’t need much more than some water and a nylon brush to scrub the surface, then a moist microfiber cloth to remove any buildup; this method usually works just fine for interior stucco detailing.
Exterior stucco siding and trim, however, might require a more rigorous approach, as these features are wide open to whatever the weather throws at them. If your stucco siding is stained, trisodium phosphate (TSP) can typically be used (as opposed to water) to saturate surfaces and remove the grime. You might also consider power washing your siding so long as the washer is set to a low power rating -- blasting stucco too heavily with a power washer can damage the material and lead to moisture intrusion.
No matter how you go about cleaning your stucco features, keeping them free from dirt and stains will retain their color, texture, and overall beauty.
Repair Cracks and Holes When They Occur
The rigid nature of stucco is both its greatest strength and weakness. On the one hand, this lack of flexibility makes stucco highly durable and protective; on the other hand, the inability to move with changes in temperature and humidity can cause stucco to crack along major lines. If you allow your stucco siding to remain this way for long, moisture, pests, and debris can gain entry and cause further problems. Therefore, it’s imperative to repair any cracks and holes in your stucco as soon as possible. Fortunately, patching stucco surfaces is relatively simple, and most people can do it on their own with the right tools and products.
First, you’ll want to remove any loose material from the crack in question via a wire brush. If the crack is very fine, use a chisel and hammer to widen it, as this will facilitate the patching process. Use a rapid setting stucco patch compound to fill the breach -- combine the compound with water in a ratio of 4:1 and mix it thoroughly with a paddle attached to a drill so you’re left with a smooth paste. Apply the compound with a trowel or putty knife, filling the crack and flattening out any excess as you go. Try to match the surrounding stucco’s finish -- if your stucco siding is detailed and/or textured (i.e., stippling), you might consider hiring a pro to recreate this look or research ways to do it yourself.
Brighten Your Stucco With Fresh Paint
Whether or not your stucco detailing needs repairing, it’s a good idea to re-paint your stucco features every now and then (about every five to ten years) to freshen up their dull appearance and/or introduce new coloration. As is the case with cleaning stucco, painting stucco can be a bit of a challenge. With the right tools and technique, however, stucco can be properly painted and made to look brand new. If the stucco surface in question hasn’t been re-coated for quite some time, it’s a good idea to apply a coat of primer prior to painting it. A waterproof primer is ideal, as it will prevent moisture from seeping into your home from outside. Paint is best applied to stucco via spraying or rolling with a thick-nap roller (in order to get in all those nooks and crannies). Professional exterior painting services will often employ both techniques depending on the surface area that needs painting. The same goes for interior house painters when painting stucco walls. However, smaller and more detailed stucco features such as trim, molding, or ornamentation should be painted with a sturdy angled brush for proper control and accessibility.
In order to bring out the best in one feature, sometimes you need to pay attention to the features surrounding it. The trim that breaks up your stucco siding (e.g., shutters, frames, etc.), for instance, can embellish the beauty of your stucco siding itself when properly cared for and strategically painted. If your stucco is painted a light shade, have your home painting services contrast its color with darker trim. Or, if your siding is part stucco and part something else, emphasize this distinction by painting each half a contrasting color. Consider how different textures play off one another, too. Balancing different colors and textures outside and inside your home can bring out the beauty of your stucco detailing and make your home more dynamic overall.
Light Your Stucco Surfaces the Right Way
Bringing out the beauty of your exterior and interior stucco detailing largely depends on how you light it. Rougher surfaces like stucco can appear quite different when lit in different directions and intensities. Natural daylight will make your stucco siding look one way, while your outdoor lighting will create a totally different image. You might have to experiment with different lighting configurations before you find one that’s most flattering to your stucco detailing. You can also employ the services of lighting experts and interior designers to speed up the process.
Stylize Your Stucco
Stucco offers unique aesthetic opportunities while also providing long-lasting protection for your home. Getting the most out of your stucco depends on proper maintenance and strategic decisions when it comes to painting, contrast, and lighting. At Nash Painting, we love working with stucco homes across Nashville, Brentwood, and Franklin, TN, as it gives us the opportunity to show off just how beautiful this material can be. To learn more about us, our services, and our values, call us at 615-829-6858 today!