Types of Siding

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Stucco is plaster with a cement base. Although it's pretty durable, it can develop cracks and holes, especially if it's not applied well or if it's not good quality to begin with. Some cracks on new construction can be expected as the house settles into place. Significant cracks are something to be concerned about, as they can indicate poor application or problems with the base that the stucco was applied over.

Both plaster and cement are porous materials, which means that stucco is, too. Most of the time, water isn't that much of an issue, but it can be if there are holes and/or cracks in the stucco. Both should be repaired as soon as you see them.

Hairline and small cracks can simply be painted over with acrylic paint. If necessary, fill them in first with latex caulking compound, and then paint them.

Larger cracks are also fairly easy to fix. You'll need the following materials:

  • Chisel

  • Trowel

  • Stucco patching compound

  • Concrete bonding agent

  • Paint, if you need to cover your work

  • Spray bottle full of water

Here's what you'll do:

  1. Open up the crack slightly by chiseling around the edges. Brush away any loose stucco.

  2. Apply concrete bonding agent to the edges. This will help keep the patch material in place.

  3. Mix the patching compound according to the package directions.

  4. Apply to the crack. Try to match the texture to the existing stucco.

  5. Let the area cure for three to four days. Keep it damp during this period by spraying it with water.

Hole repairs are pretty similar. However, since stucco is applied in layers, you'll have to do your repairs in layers, too. You might also need a small piece of wire mesh if the existing armature is damaged.

  1. Remove any loose stucco. Use a chisel if necessary. Brush away any dust or dirt.

  2. If you need to repair the armature, staple or nail the mesh patch into place.

  3. Wet the area with water from a spray bottle.

  4. Partially fill the hole with stucco patch. Let it set up for several days.

  5. Apply the next layer. Again, don't fill the hole all the way. Let this one sit for several days, too.

  6. Apply the final layer. Keep the surface damp for three to four days.

If cracks reappear or appear to be widening, have the stucco inspected by an expert.

Synthetic stucco, also called EIFS (exterior insulation and finish systems) has been the subject of class action lawsuits. EIFS are multi-layered exterior wall systems consisting of a finish coat, a base coat, and insulation board, all of which are secured to ply-wood or another substrate.

EIFS is available in various external textures designed to look like traditional stucco. If not installed properly, it can cause water problems behind the wall. Ensure that there are no openings in the seals around windows and doors. If there is any doubt,contact a professional.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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