Stucco is a versatile, seamless, and durable material that can complement an exterior for a lifetime. But its seamless beauty can also make it difficult to repair either alone or when you need to make changes to other aspects of your home. So if you're about to make any installation or repair that can affect the look or integrity of your stucco facade, here's what you should know before you begin.

What Is Stucco?

Stucco generally uses a basic formulaic ratio of water, sand, and cement, but can also include lime, fibers, acrylics, and textural or color additives as well. An older home may utilize a plaster with a lime, sand, and water mix as a stucco base, whereas more modern homes, or even decades old, utilize Portland cement in the mix instead. Stucco sometimes includes fibers, acrylics, glass or tile pieces, small aggregates, and color additives for a custom appearance.

What Lies Beneath

Though it has a universally basic nature, it's also what lies beneath that confers stucco a strong and uniform appearance. Roof, wall, or below a window, before you begin a repair that involves stucco, consider additional repairs or replacements that need to be made to any lath or substructure. A traditional way of building with stucco utilizes three layers of stucco on either a cement, wood, or wire/papering substrate, so you need to be aware that chipping away stucco can result in replacing substructures at the same time. Be aware that some modern homes may only use one layer of stucco with strength-enhancing fibers or additives over a foam or single layer lath.

It's Not All DIY

Stucco is tricky to assess, as simple cracks can tell you a lot about everything from foundation issues to installation conditions. Though it's a beautiful and time-tested building material, composition, substructure, and visible damage can require specific remedies and applications techniques. Understand that with stucco, what you remove you'll have to replace, and doing so can cause an eyesore if you don't replicate the original appearance.

Do-it-yourself home repairs are popular because they can sometimes empower a homeowner and allow them to save a buck or two. But some repairs should be assessed by a professional, so that you have a more educated scope on your problem, and you can determine if your repair will last down the road. Proper repairs confer structural and aesthetic integrity over time, so if you aren't sure when it comes to stucco, feel confident in asking a pro. Click here for info about stucco repair.