If your Walpole, MA house or commercial building features a stucco exterior, you're certainly not alone. This particular type of siding material is covering numerous buildings in this area and all over the United States. It's a favorite of homeowners and builders alike because it's so durable, versatile, attractive, fire-resistant, customizable, budget-friendly and energy-efficient. That said, it's not impervious to damage and needs the occasional Walpole stucco repair service from a qualified handyman.
There are a few different ways that your exterior walls can suffer the kind of damage that requires Walpole stucco repair, but the number one problem by a mile is water incursion. Stucco is essentially a type of concrete so it's highly resistant to the issues that plague other types of siding, but damage can happen surprisingly quickly once water finds a way to seep in behind it.
Spotted some of the warning signs that indicate your property is due for stucco repair? Depend on your experienced, local Walpole handyman to provide expert workmanship and excellent customer service. The team of service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Central - Eastern Norfolk County & S. Shore are skilled at repair and improvement projects such as Walpole stucco repair, and we can save you time and money by getting the job done right the first time.
What is Stucco?
You see stucco every time you step outside and look at the exterior of your house—but what is it, exactly? Basically, it's a cement-based siding for exterior walls that is applied wet and hardens to a dense, textured finish. It is made from a mixture of cement, sand, hydrated lime and water.
Traditional stucco is applied in three coats over top of a layer of asphalt-infused paper and a layer of metal wire mesh that looks like chicken coop mesh but is sturdier and comes in larger rolls. First, a scratch coat or base coat is applied over the metal mesh. That's followed by a brown coat (that's just what it's called, regardless of actual color), applied with a long trowel to make sure it's evened out. Lastly, a finish coat is applied. The final layer is applied with a finishing trowel and comes in a wide variety of textures and colors so there's typically no need to paint it. However, it can be painted with elastomeric paint if you prefer.
What Are the Signs Walpole Stucco Repair is Needed?
When it comes to the indications that a building needs stucco repair, Walpole, MA homeowners may not notice signs of trouble right away. Stucco damage can start small and slowly worsen over time, so it can be pretty advanced by the time property owners actually start to see blatant problems. If you're aware of the signs of trouble, you can catch it earlier and make the Walpole stucco repair process easier and faster.
If you see a couple of tiny, hairline cracks here and there on the surface of your siding, that's actually quite normal and not a big cause for concern. Hairline cracks should be checked up on every once in a while to make sure they haven't worsened, but otherwise probably don't need crack repair. Larger cracks are a different story, though. If you see cracks that are more than about a quarter of an inch wide, you should call for repair as soon as possible. Large cracks can be caused by a house shifting and settling over time, or they could be related to severe issues like a sinking foundation or an unbalanced roof. They may also be a symptom of moisture damage from water that is pooling behind the siding, and if that's the case, you'll likely see water stains around the edges of the cracks.
Soft or Indented Patches
Indenting is not the same as chipping or cracking—the surface of indented siding appears to be intact, but is concave in certain places. If you touch the indented areas they may feel soft to the touch, or you may notice a few soft spots that are not indented. This is a very serious problem that needs Walpole stucco repair as soon as possible because it indicates that there is water pooling underneath the layers where the paper backing and wire mesh are.
When sections of stucco are badly chipped and cracked to the point where it's crumbling apart, or even have loose pieces falling right off the wall, it's a major problem that should be addressed right away before it allows a lot of water to get in behind the siding and cause even worse problems. Crumbling, loose stucco can happen for a variety of reasons, including pest infestations, ground vibrations, settling, old age and of course, water damage. Once crumbling damage gets started, it'll worsen fast and spiral out of control without intervention from a Walpole stucco repair professional.
Interior Water Damage
Once water gets underneath your siding, it doesn't stop there. It'll continue its journey through anything in its path, causing destruction wherever it goes. Sometimes interior water damage is the first problem homeowners notice, and while it can be caused by problems such as a leaking roof or hidden plumbing leak, deteriorated siding is also a strong possibility so it's important to investigate thoroughly for further signs you need stucco repair. Interior moisture damage can appear in a number of different ways, such as:
- Wall and ceiling damage such as brown water stains and softened patches of drywall
- Rotting hardwood floorboards or wooden interior trim elements such as window frames, door jambs, crown molding and baseboards
- Air drafts coming from electrical outlets or light switches
- Soggy patches of carpet or mysterious puddles on the floor
- Energy costs on your monthly utility bill have increased, even though your active energy usage hasn't changed
Needless to say, all of these problems are very unwelcome inside your house. stucco repair in Walpole, MA is certainly needed, but it's likely you'll need additional home repair services as well, such as drywall installation, flooring installation or repair, wood rot repair and maybe even insulation replacement.
When stucco develops a layer of organic growth such as moss or algae, it's an unsightly cosmetic issue that can really damage your property's curb appeal. It's not just about appearances, though—plant growth can also accelerate the deterioration of your siding by amping up wear and tear damage and trapping moisture close to its surface. Vegetation usually appears near the bottom of exterior walls because when rainwater hits the ground hard during a storm it bounces up and splashes on the bottom couple feet of the building exterior, giving plants the water they need to spread up your wall. Sometimes the water comes from moisture-laden leaves that are brushing up against your siding.
Stucco repair in Walpole, MA for unwanted organic growth can usually be handled by giving it a gentle scrubbing with a solution of water, borax, bleach and soap. It's also a good idea to look for ways to stop the moisture source if at all possible, which may involve trimming back trees and bushes so they're at least a few feet away from your house.
How Do You Handle Walpole Stucco Repair for Impact Damage?
If you've got some experience with handiwork and like to take care of DIY projects around your house, you may be thinking of tackling Walpole stucco repair on your own. Whether or not that's actually a good idea depends on your comfort level working with concrete-based materials, as well as how widespread the damage is. If we're talking about major problems like water damage, or damage from something like hail that is widespread across an entire side of your building, it needs to be handled by a professional.
But if the problem is more like one smallish or medium patch of damage caused by something like a baseball whacking into your siding at full speed, a DIY stucco repair in Walpole, MA is more feasible. Before you get started, you should be aware that it can be surprisingly difficult to make a stucco patch blend into the existing material to the point that it's unnoticeable and you likely won't be able to achieve that. You may not mind so much if the damaged area is inconspicuous, but if it's in a prominent place that can hurt your curb appeal, you may want to leave this job for a Walpole handyman with plenty of experience.
Tools and Materials
The tools you will need for stucco repair in Walpole, MA to patch a spot of impact damage on your siding are:
- Eye protection
- Work gloves
- Masonry chisel
- Stucco patching compound
- Notched trowel
- Finishing trowel
- 5-gallon bucket
- Elastomeric paint that matches exterior stucco color
You may also need wire mesh, metal snips and galvanized nails if there's damage to the metal mesh underneath your stucco and it needs to be patched as well. And, if the damage is higher up on the wall and out of comfortable reach, you'll need a ladder.
Walpole Stucco Repair Steps
Ready to get started? Here are the Walpole stucco repair steps for taking care of impact damage on your exterior wall.
- Put on your safety glasses (no one wants a flying chunk of stucco to find their eye) and use your hammer and masonry chisel to chip away any loose debris that is clinging to the damaged zone, leaving the wire mesh exposed.
- Take a good look at the wire mesh—if it's just a bit dented, gently try to bend it back into the right shape. But if the damage is more severe, use your metal snips to cut out the damaged part, then cut out a patch of mesh and fasten it in with galvanized nails.
- Stir up some stucco mix in your bucket, taking care to follow the manufacturers' instructions on the package. You may choose to add an acrylic bonding agent to improve adhesion.
- Use a trowel to apply a generous layer of compound over the wire mesh to form the scratch coat, making sure to fill in holes and cracks completely. Smooth out the scratch coat and pack it into the edge of the Walpole stucco repair area.
- Use your notched trowel to scratch lines on the surface of the compound you just applied to make it easier for the next coat to stick on.
- Let your first coat dry and cure completely, which can take anywhere from 24 hours to a week. Refer to the compound package for recommended drying times.
- Dampen your Walpole stucco repair zone with a wet sponge, then apply your brown coat and level it off with a leveling tool to create a smooth, flat surface.
- Apply the finish coat. It should be about a quarter-inch thick and evenly applied over the surface with your finishing trowel.
- While the final layer is still wet, use a sponge to gently shape it into a texture that matches the rest of your wall.
- Give your patched area one week to fully cure, then apply paint to make it the same color as the rest of your structure. If you're not sure that the paint is a good color match, test it out on a hidden area first and keep in mind that it will be a bit lighter once it's dry.
Looking for Stucco Repair Near Me? Trust Your Local Handyman
It doesn't matter if you're in Walpole, MA or another nearby part of the Metro Boston area such as Braintree, Weymouth or Hingham—you can get the same outstanding customer service and highly skilled craftsmanship from the team of professionals at Mr. Handyman of Central - Eastern Norfolk County & S. Shore. We are skilled with dozens of exterior and interior home repair and improvement projects, including tasks such as fence installation, deck repair and furniture assembly.
If you need some help with stucco repair or other projects around your residential or commercial property, pick up the phone and contact us today to chat with our friendly customer service staff and find out more about our reliable handyman services, or to book an appointment at a time that works for you.