As a pressure washer enthusiast, you probably already know you need to use different techniques for different surfaces because surfaces react differently when high pressure water is applied to them.
It’s important to know how to clean each material without causing damage. In this article we’re focusing on stucco. We’ll go over the best techniques to use to get dirt and grime off your stucco exterior.
Stucco is a unique siding made of a cement-type mixture composed of Portland cement, lime, sand and water. Stucco is unique in that it is durable, easy to maintain, and can look good for up to 50 years. However, Stucco can get really dirty, really fast.
The most effective way to maintain your stucco is by cleaning it regularly. A pressure washer is the best tool to clean quickly and efficiently. We’re going to answer the most common questions regarding how to power wash your stucco home.
Can you power wash a stucco house?
Yes, you can! We recommend using a pressure washer with a minimum of 1500 – 2800 PSI capabilities. Use a soap nozzle tip to apply to detergent and a 25- or 40-degree nozzle tip to spray the detergent off.
Make sure to maintain a distance of 12 to 30 inches from the tip of your nozzle to the stucco wall. Distance is important to ensure the pressure doesn’t cause damage to your siding. You can experiment with the distance, but make sure to keep an eye out for signs of damage.
Stucco is a very delicate surface and can be damaged easily if you’re not careful! It is best to work in sections. Apply your detergent from the bottom up and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes.
When rinsing, you’ll want to start from the top and work your way down the wall.
You want to use a top-down approach when rinsing because you need to keep the dirt, grime, and soap moving down the wall. If you power wash from the bottom up you will push the dirt and grime further up the wall instead of removing the dirt and grime.
Don’t forget your safety gear! It is especially important to wear the correct clothes when pressure washing for optimal safety. Wear protective goggles, a long shirt, jeans or pants, gloves, and closed toe shoes.
Check out our article on the best clothes for pressure washing.
How to remove stains from stucco correctly
Because stucco is porous it can absorb dirt and grime easily and create hard to remove stains. The good news is that there are attachments that can help you remove those stuck on stains.
Using a rotating scrub brush attachment will remove those dirt and grime stains no problem. Products like Simple Green Oxy Solve House and Siding Cleaner are a great way to effectively remove dirt, grime, and algae build up.
If you prefer homemade cleaning solutions, we’ve got just the recipe for you. Plain dish soap is a great alternative to commercial stain removing solutions. Follow this recipe to make your own stucco cleaning solution:
- 2 gallons of warm water
- ½ cup of Borax
- 2 tbsp of liquid dish soap
You can switch the Borax out for bleach if the stains are especially difficult. Bleach is not required. However, we have found bleach works really well on stucco siding.
If you have rust stains, you need to purchase a specific solution that targets rust. It is important to use products that are “stucco safe” because the wrong chemicals can damage and stain your stucco even further.
For rust stains, use a soft brush to scrape the rust away, gently. If you press too hard, you may damage your siding.
Follow the gentle scrubbing with a rinse from top to bottom. You should see a marketed improvement in your siding!
How to extend the life of your stucco surface
The best way to extend the life of your stucco exterior is to clean the exterior thoroughly at least once a year.
Prior to cleaning, it is important to inspect the exterior and make sure there are no cracks or damages that could be exacerbated by cleaning. During your inspection look for the following:
- Holes, and
- Other openings
If you start cleaning before repairing the damage, water could get in and mold and mildew could start to grow. Adding the inspection step can extend the life of your stucco exponentially!
Repairing the cracks is easy. Purchase an exterior acrylic caulk and apply the caulk to the cracked area. Make sure to match the caulk to your exterior.
To mimic the exterior of your stucco, add a sand or gritty material to the caulk while it is still wet. Let it dry before proceeding to the pressure washing step. Once the caulk is dry, get to cleaning!
You should also update the seal on your stucco. Water-resistant sealant will enhance the integrity of your siding and keep moisture out. Following these tips will ensure your siding stays beautiful for a long time.
Our recommended power washers and cleaning products for stucco
Unsure of what pressure washer to purchase? We’ve got you covered. Here are our recommended options.
We also recommend purchasing a foam cannon before you begin your cleaning journey. Foam cannons speed up the soap application process. A foam cannon also helps in applying a thick layer of cleaning solution to your stucco siding.
Foam cannons can get you a deeper clean and remove hard stains easier. You can fill your foam cannon with your homemade mixture or a stucco safe cleaning solution from your local hardware store.
Whatever tools you choose to use, remember to exercise caution and go slow. We always recommend testing your PSI and cleaning solution on a small portion of your siding. This technique works best to prevent large-scale damage.