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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Walls Category: Exterior Walls: Stucco Walls


Stucco wall has several major cracks in a particular area, requiring the area of the wall to be repaired.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

  • Hammer (preferably a mason's hammer)

  • Chisel (preferably a mason's chisel)

  • Vacuum

  • Extension cord

  • Garden hose

  • Premixed stucco

  • Masonry cement

  • Sand

  • Water

  • Appropriate dry pigments

  • Brush

  • Wheelbarrow

  • Lathing paper

  • Metal weep screed

  • Pliers (for cutting the wire lath)

  • Scissors/cutters of commercial kind (for cutting the lathing paper)

  • Appropriate staples

  • Staple gun

  • Scarifier

  • Trowel

  • Lumber (long enough to be used to screed the stucco coat, like a 2x4 if it must be)

  • Wood float (a wood block with a handle)

  • Stiff bristle brush



A part of stucco wall that is suffering from various cracks will require a bit more work than what would be the case with just a relatively minor crack in your stucco wall.

Caution: Of course, when dealing with sharp objects, such as sharp lathing wire, make sure you take precautions.

Repairing a part of a stucco wall suffering from various cracks can be done in a few steps, and here's how:

  1. Using a hammer and chisel, chisel out and remove all the loose stucco in the area of the stucco wall in need of redoing.

  2. If the base of the stucco wall--once the loose stucco is removed--is revealed to be lathing paper covered with metal weep screed and any part seems to be damaged, replace it with the lathing paper and metal weep screed you have on hand.  For any applicable replacement, use a pair of pliers to cut the screed to size and a pair of cutters/scissors to cut the lathing paper to size; use the appropriate staples and staple gun to secure the screed and lathing paper to the underlying plywood of your house.

  3. Using a vacuum, vacuum up all of the debris created as a result of the hammering, chiseling, and repairing thus far. (Use an extension cord in the event the plug of the vacuum does not reach the nearest electrical outlet.)

  4. Now, use your wheelbarrow to unload the premixed stucco, and follow the instructions of the manufacturer of it in order to add the appropriate amount of water, etc., to make this premix into a ready batch of stucco for application on the wall in need of repair. (Be sure you drive the wheelbarrow very close to the wall to be in easy reach of the stucco batch for application purposes.)

  1. Now, dampen the just cleaned area of the wall to be repaired with water in preparation to apply the "scratch coat" of the stucco, which is the first of the three standard coats of stucco applied (#1 scratch coat, #2 brown coat, and #3 finish coat).

  2. Apply the scratch coat of the stucco, using your stucco trowel to do the applying of the stucco.  In this process, with the trowel, you'll want to first cause the area to be covered with the scratch coat, pressing the stucco into the screed lathing, and then finish topping this first coat with the trowel to be within about a half an inch of the surface of the existing surrounding stucco.

After about 45 minutes of waiting, use your scarifier to "scratch" the surface of this first coat. When done using the scarifier, this first "scratch" coat should have the appearance of neatly made horizontal lines/scratches made from one side of the affected area to the other.

  1. Allow this scratch coat to cure for at least 24 hours.  In the course of the 24 hours, you should gently spray water over this scratch coat every 5 or so hours.

  2. Next, apply the "brown coat" of the stucco, using your stucco trowel to do the applying of the stucco.  In this process of applying the second coat of stucco, at the same time, you'll use a piece of lumber (like a 2x4) to screed this second coat, which means working this lumber piece up and down the stucco-covered area so as to level the application of such stucco to be nice and even.

Smooth the surface of this second coat with a wood float.

  1. Allow this brown coat to cure for at least 48 hours.  In the course of the 48 hours, you should gently spray water over this brown coat every 6 or so hours.

  2. Now, you are at the stage of applying the third and final coat, the "final coat."  This final coat should have a unique 5:7 ratio mixture that you should make in a clean wheelbarrow: 5 parts masonry cement to 7 parts sand, and an ample amount of water to make the stucco have a soft, fine-pasty-like appearance.

At this time, you'll also want to add the appropriate dry pigments to the mix in order to attempt to match the color scheme of the existing stucco. (You should have previously tested to make sure the dry pigments you have are the best match for your existing stucco color scheme.)

  1. With the final coat batch ready to be applied, dampen the area of the wall that will receive the final coat, and then brush this final coat actually onto the area of the wall, making sure that ultimately a final coat of about 2/16 of an inch is actually applied or something equally enough to be consistent with the existing final stucco surface.

  2. Finally, use some leftover stucco mix to sprinkle onto the final coat for texturing purposes, using a stiff brush to spread such sprinkles as necessary.  Use the trowel to comb over any imperfections that stick out in an effort to match the texture of the existing stucco.  Allow for this final coat to cure.

That's what it takes to repair a stucco wall that has various cracks in a particular area.

Ed the Handyman


Your Handyman Zone Team


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