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How to Repair Brick Siding

Most problems with brick sidings occur along the mortar joints or have to do with stains on the bricks themselves. If mortar is poorly applied or contains substandard ingredients, it will eventually crumble. Even the best mortar wears away eventually: The mortar shrinks and cracks open. Freeze-thaw cycles in cold-winter climates, heavy rain, settling, and earthquakes also result in mortar problems.

Repairing Brick Mortar

Heavy rain and dampness can cause brick to lose its effectiveness as insulation and may eventually affect the finish of interior surfaces. The fix for this is to “re-point” the brick, which means to remove some of the mortar and apply new mortar to the joints. Here’s how to do this:

Using a trowel, pack new mortar into the joints

1Buy dry, weather-resistant type N ready-mix mortar at your home improvement center and mix it according to the label directions.

2Using a cold chisel and hammer, chip out the crumbling mortar to a depth of 1/2 inch and then brush the joint well with a wire brush.

3Dampen the cleared joints to accept the new mortar, and, using a small trowel, pack the new mortar into the joints as shown at right. Tamp the mortar with the flat of the trowel to make sure the mortar completely fills the joint.

Use a jointer to give a slightly concave profile

4Allow the mortar to set up until it’s somewhat firm and then finish the joints to match the existing joints by drawing a jointer (or similar tool) along them, as shown below left. Most often, the object is to give the joint a slightly concave profile.

5Remove excess mortar using a clean trowel.

 

6Allow the mortar to set up and then sweep it with a stiff brush.

 

7Use a damp rag or sponge to keep the mortar joints moist for about four days. This ensures that the mortar will cure properly so that it doesn’t crack.

Removing Paint from Bricks

To remove paint from brick, start by spraying the brick with a hose. Mix a solution of 2 pounds of tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) or a strong detergent according to label directions, apply the solution to the surface, and allow it to soak in. Then scrub with a stiff nylon-bristle brush (don’t use a wire brush). For resistant spots, repeat several times.

If scrubbing with this solution doesn’t work, try using a water-based paint stripper (first test it where it won’t show).

Removing Water Stains from Bricks

If sprinklers or garden watering have left hard-water spots on your home’s brick exterior, buy an acid-based brick cleaner from a masonry dealer and follow the label directions. Generally, these instruct you to cover plantings with plastic sheeting and, wearing rubber gloves and eye protection, to wet down the brick, apply a mixture of the cleaner and water with a stiff-bristled nylon brush on an extension handle, and then rinse.

To protect the brick, seal it using a silane- or siloxane-based sealer (also purchased from a masonry dealer).

Removing Efflorescence from Brick

Stucco, brick, and other masonry surfaces may develop a white powdery substance on them known as efflorescence. You can brush away this powder with a wire brush, but, unless you eliminate the cause, it will return-and its existence may indicate that more serious moisture damage may occur.

Efflorescence can be caused by heavy moisture in your climate or by moisture from poor drainage, roof leaks, sprinklers, and the like that can penetrate masonry surfaces.

First try to clean efflorescence by washing it and scrubbing it with a brush. If the surface is grimy, use a little tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) in warm water. Be sure to rinse away all of the TSP or it may leave a residue or stain.

HomeTips Pro Tip: A much more radical-and hazardous-method of removing efflorescence is to use a mixture of muriatic acid. This chemical will burn your clothes and skin, and breathing its fumes is dangerous, so, if you go this route be sure to wear rubber gloves, eye protection, and long sleeves, and follow label directions precisely.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Brick Siding Repair Pro

Stucco Siding Application

Expert advice on stucco siding, with helpful diagram and tips on stucco siding application and construction.

Stucco siding application diagram

Stucco is plaster with a cement base, typically applied in three layers over framed or some solid surfaces, such as concrete block or older stucco.

Pigment may be mixed in, or stucco can be painted. Stucco can be also be finished with a variety of textures: smooth, raked, or swirled.

For an extra-coarse finish, sand-or even pebbles-can be mixed in. Different kinds of cement are used in the stucco mixture, depending on the climate and the texture desired.[GARD align=”left”]

Stucco is usually applied over a base of wire mesh, wooden-slat spacers, building paper, and plywood sheathing.

The stucco may be troweled on by hand or sprayed on. A day or two must be left between coat applications to allow the previous layer to dry.

After the final layer is applied, the stucco must be kept moist for a few days so it can cure nicely (allowing it to dry too quickly reduces its strength).

Find a Pre-Screened Local Stucco Siding Contractor

How to Repair Stucco Siding

Expert DIY advice on how to repair stucco siding, including tips on patching holes in stucco, and fixing cracks and stains.

Stucco is a very strong, durable cement-like siding material but repairs are sometimes needed for cracks and holes.[GARD align=”right”]

Though you’re better off leaving major stucco repairs to a mason or stucco specialist, you should be able to handle fixing most holes and cracks if you have do-it-yourself experience. The way you make these repairs will depend upon the nature of the damage, such as the size of the hole. Here we look at typical stucco repairs. For information on painting stucco, please see How to Paint Stucco.

Fixing Large Holes in Stucco

Patching large holes in stucco is a job that homeowners adept at basic home repairs can handle-though it may be difficult to create a patch that blends perfectly with the wall unless you repaint. If you are not comfortable doing this type of repair, contact a local siding contractor.

Remove loose stucco

If you decide to do the job yourself:

1Remove loose stucco from the hole with a cold chisel and ballpeen hammer as shown at right; blow out the dust. Staple new wire mesh over any damaged mesh. Spray with water.

2Apply the first coat of stucco to within 1/4 inch of the surface, using a mason’s trowel or putty knife (stucco should ooze from behind the mesh). When firm, scratch with a nail. Let cure for two days.

Apply new stucco with a mason’s trowel

3Apply the second coat over the dampened first coat to within 1/8 inch of the surface, using a mason’s trowel or putty knife, as shown below left. Smooth the stucco and let it cure for two days.

4Apply the final coat over the dampened second coat with a metal float or mason’s trowel. Smooth flush with the existing surface. Texture as desired, and allow to cure for four days.

5Paint if necessary.

HomeTips Pro Tip: For deep holes, build up the patch with several successive layers, allowing each to dry before applying the next. Match the texture by touching it up with a float or a small brush.

Fixing Small Holes in Stucco

Here is how to repair a small hole (less than 6 inches wide):

1Use a stiff brush to clean out the hole. If the hole is too small for a brush, use an awl or nailset to scrape out any loose material. Then blow out the dust (wear eye protection).

2Apply a new patch of stucco patching compound, using a putty knife. Pack it tightly into the hole and fill almost to the surface. Allow this patch to set up until it is stiff.[GARD align=”right”]

3Apply a top coat of patching compound. Use the putty knife to blend the surface of the patch so that it matches the wall. Then allow this coat to dry.

Repairing Stucco Cracks

Cracks in stucco are a common problem. Stucco, after all, is not very resilient–it’s made of cement. So when a house settles over time or shifts because of heavy winds or earthquakes, the stucco siding cracks. The proper way to repair these problems depends upon their size.

Hairline Cracks

Very fine, hairline cracks are very easy to fix. If they are super-thin, a coating of acrylic latex paint that matches the siding will probably do the job. If they are a little too wide for paint to fill the crevices, fill them with latex caulking compound first. Allow this to dry thoroughly, then paint the surface with acrylic latex paint.

Wide Cracks

For wider cracks, apply an all-purpose filler such as pre-mixed bridging and patching compound that is intended for stucco repair. When apply this, follow the label directions.

Fixing Stained or Weathered Stucco

Though stucco is a very tough surface, it can look weathered and dirty over time. Unlike other siding materials, you shouldn’t use ordinary house paint to paint stucco because the walls need to “breathe.” Otherwise, interior moisture can get behind the paint and cause it to blister or peel.

Instead, have the wall “re-dashed” by a stucco contractor. If your stucco is white, a simpler (though more temporary) solution is to have it whitewashed with a mixture of water and white Portland cement. It’s best to have this done by a professional painter or stucco contractor.

Featured Resource: Find a Pre-Screened Local Stucco Repair Pro

Brick & Stucco Siding Buying Guide

How to buy stucco and brick siding, with advantages and drawbacks of buying brick, stone-veneer and stucco siding materials.

Brick is one of the most durable siding materials. It doesn’t need to be painted, doesn’t rot or fade, and weathers handsomely. It also provides excellent insulation for your house.

Bricks come in many sizes, textures, and colors and can be laid in many patterns.
See more about: Brick & Stone-Veneer Siding

Stucco is a traditional compound made from fine sand, Portland cement, hydrated lime, and water. Different kinds of cement are used in the stucco mixture, depending on the climate and on the texture desired: smooth, raked, or swirled. [GARD align=”left”]

For an extra-coarse finish, sand—or even pebbles—can be mixed in. Pigment can be added, as well, or stucco may be painted.
See more about: Buying Stucco Siding.

Brick & Stucco Siding Buying Guide

How to buy stucco and brick siding, with advantages and drawbacks of buying brick, stone-veneer and stucco siding materials.

Brick is one of the most durable siding materials. It doesn’t need to be painted, doesn’t rot or fade, and weathers handsomely. It also provides excellent insulation for your house.

Bricks come in many sizes, textures, and colors and can be laid in many patterns.
See more about: Brick & Stone-Veneer Siding

Stucco is a traditional compound made from fine sand, Portland cement, hydrated lime, and water. Different kinds of cement are used in the stucco mixture, depending on the climate and on the texture desired: smooth, raked, or swirled. [GARD align=”left”]

For an extra-coarse finish, sand—or even pebbles—can be mixed in. Pigment can be added, as well, or stucco may be painted.
See more about: Buying Stucco Siding.

Buying Stucco Siding

How to buy the best stucco siding, including advantages and drawbacks, with helpful a diagram of stucco wall construction.

Stucco is a traditional compound made from fine sand, Portland cement, hydrated lime, and water. Different kinds of cement are used in the stucco mixture, depending on the climate and on the texture desired: smooth, raked, or swirled. For an extra-coarse finish, sand-or even pebbles-can be mixed in. Pigment can be added, as well, or stucco may be painted.

Stucco Siding Diagram

Stucco is usually applied wet in three coats over a base of wire mesh, building paper, and plywood sheathing, or it can be applied over framed or solid surfaces such as concrete block or older stucco. The stucco may be troweled on by hand, and newer polymers can be sprayed on. A day or two must elapse after the first coat and between the second and third coats as well to allow the previous layer to dry.

After the final layer is applied, the stucco must be kept moist for a few days so it can cure nicely (drying too quickly weakens it).

Stucco must be applied by a professional, and with only an annual hosing down, it can last for the life of the home. It is fireproof, durable, solid, and seamless, though it can crack with building movement.[GARD align=”left”]

Stucco is also porous, so moisture passes through it. In warmer and drier climates, painting doesn’t affect this process as much as it does in colder climates. Check what local contractors advise before you paint stucco. If painting is an option, choose a 100 percent acrylic latex paint specially formulated for stucco surfaces.

Find a Pre-Screened Local Stucco Siding Contractor

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