Can You Power Wash Stucco? (Find Out Now!)

Can You Power Wash Stucco?

Stucco is one of those building materials that acts as a cornerstone of the “Southwestern” look. It’s a gorgeous, sturdy material that is made primarily of an aggregate of materials similar to plaster and sand. With its gritty, sandy texture, power washing it seems to be risky. Should you try to power wash your stucco?

While many experts warn that power washing can damage stucco, the vast majority of people find that it is doable. Keeping a good distance from the stucco and using a pressure below 1500 psi can make it possible to get your stucco looking good as new. 

It’s important to know what you’re doing when you’re trying to power wash stucco. Let’s take a closer look at this issue before you start washing away.

Before You Begin: A Brief Warning

Stucco is still considered to be a delicate material as far as power washing goes. If your stucco is very old or already shows signs of cracks, do not try to power wash it. This may worsen damage that has already shown up in its crevices and may speed up aging.

If you want to power wash stucco that has cracks or signs of damage, you need to fix the cracks before you get your power washer ready. If there are cracks or holes left in the stucco, you will end up destroying your wall. Water will get in the cracks, causing mold to grow. In some cases, the water can just sit there until it dissolves away the stucco. Bad move!

You should try this at your own risk. Weak stucco or shallow stucco might not hold up as well as you think.

How Do You Wash Stucco With A Power Washer?

Both power washing (heated) and pressure washing (unheated) machines can be safely used to wash stucco walls as long as the stucco is new and in good condition. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Prep your power washer. Every power washer is going to be a little bit different. However, the basics are the same. Put the washer together, get your water source ready, and make sure everything is working. Do not use any chemicals aside from water. 
  2. Set your PSI to something under 1500, and grab the right nozzle. A 25 or 45-degree nozzle is ideal here. Anything more obtuse might end up causing damage or just not spraying very well.
  3. Begin your power washing. Do not spray the nozzle closer than 24 inches away from the stucco. In fact, if you’re worried, spacing it as far as 30 inches is totally fine. Go in broad, slow strokes that work in a “z”  formation.
  4. Apply stucco cleaner and scrub. Do not try to spray the cleaner onto your walls. You still have to do this part if you want to keep your walls looking fine.
  5. Pressure wash it once more, chemical-free, to rinse off the cleaner. Use the same settings as before. Let it air dry, and enjoy your shiny new stucco.

Can You Hire A Company To Power Wash Your Stucco Home?

Possibly. A lot of power washing companies will not touch stucco because of the fact that this is not a generally recommended option. Because there is a chance that this type of washing could wreck your exterior there are a handful of companies that won’t do it.

The good news is that most companies these days will be fine. They usually have a system that works. Make sure that the company that you choose is properly licensed and insured. If anything chips during the process, that insurance is gonna come in handy.

How Much Does Power Washing Stucco Cost?

Generally speaking, power washing stucco does not cost any more or less than other types of material. This often costs 0.15 to 0.30 per square foot, depending on the quality of stucco, the area you live in, as well as the number of square feet that you want to wash. This turns into $280 to $400 for a typical home. 

How Often Should You Power Wash Stucco?

Stucco is unusually mold-prone thanks to all the nooks and crannies it tends to have. Because stucco needs to have all those crannies cleared out, you should expect to power wash stucco at least once a year. In areas where humidity is high and mold is likely, you may need to turn this into a biannual event.

Related Questions

How are you supposed to clean stucco?

Most people mix a solution of both bleach and water, then apply it to the stucco with a sprayer. (Note: This is not a power sprayer. It’s just a light-powered sprayer.) Cleaners then let the stucco rest for a while, then will rinse it off with cold water.

If you have a patch of mold or moss that took hold on your stucco, you may need to scrub it before you rinse. This is totally normal and will not harm your stucco.

Is stucco hard to clean?

Stucco isn’t hard to clean, but it is high-maintenance. This is a material that is highly porous and prone to breaking if it’s not cared for. The porosity makes stucco highly prone to having stains literally sink into the material. You will need to make sure to clean it frequently. In some situations, you may also have to do periodic touch-ups in order to ensure that your stucco doesn’t break apart.

How long should stucco walls last?

Stucco might be delicate, but that doesn’t mean that it will fall apart at the drop of a hat. With the right maintenance routine, you should expect this to last for 50 to 80 years, possibly more. This makes it one of the more durable materials that you can have as a siding finish.

Stucco walls are a good option for people who want to have a rustic look with a desert touch. This type of finish tends to last the longest in parts of the country that are dry, since mold takes hold in it pretty quickly. We suggest it for homes that are found in warm areas like Arizona.

Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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