Guide to Maintaining Brick and Stucco Siding

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Nov 22, 2009 | Caryn Colgan

As home siding materials, brick and stucco provide an earthy natural look. In fire-prone areas, brick and stucco may be an excellent choice since they are fire resistant. Brick walls will not rot, fade or peel. They never require painting and help insulate the home. Stucco walls also provide insulation and will not rot. Despite their durability, your siding will retain its beauty and functionality longer with minimal maintenance.

How to Maintain Brick Siding

Bricks are made by firing formed clay in a kiln. By applying mortar between the bricks, structures can last for hundreds of years. However, the porous materials should be sealed to make the siding waterproof, easier to clean and protect the bricks from invasive growths like moss and ivy.

To maintain the beauty and integrity of your brick exterior, periodically pressure-wash the surface, being certain to rinse off any moss growth. Carefully pull away all ivy tendrils that might invade the cracks in mortar and weaken the wall.

Over time, mortar will crack, shrink or crumble away. Remove the damaged areas and replace with new mortar. Matching the existing mortar color can be difficult, if not impossible. Buy some mortar that best matches the existing color. Mix a small amount of mortar and let it dry. Hold it up next to the old mortar and compare the color. Add colorant until you have a good match and then apply new mortar to damaged areas. Seal the wall with a water repellent product such as A-Tech Masonry & Brick Sealer. By soaking into the mortar and brick, the sealant helps prevent water damage to the home's interior.

How to Maintain Stucco Siding

Like brick, stucco siding can last for hundreds of years. Stucco is made by mixing Portland cement, hydrated lime, fine sand and water to create a plaster. By adding dye, the stucco's color can be altered for a custom look. Stucco can also help insulate your home. Like other porous materials, if not properly maintained, stucco can be damaged by moisture. Periodically spray the siding with a garden hose and examine the surface for any damage. Pressure washers are not usually recommended because just one careless swipe of the nozzle may accidentally damage the stucco. Stucco repairs can be very expensive.

If you spot any small holes or cracks, promptly apply a stucco repair product to seal the breach. For large damaged areas, consult a professional.

Painted stucco also needs occasional maintenance. Remove peeling paint and touch up the area to ensure the surface is properly sealed and beautiful. Seal-krete products provide a layer of protection for your stucco siding and also helps paint adhere to the surface.

Even though brick and stucco have many advantages as an exterior siding material, they still need occasional maintenance. By taking a few minutes every year to clean, inspect and repair your siding you will protect your investment in your home and extend the useful life of your brick and/or stucco siding for many more years.

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