When you first see stucco on a building, you may make the mistake of thinking it’s an easy material to work with. But the truth is, stucco is deceptive in its simplicity, and unless you’re extensively familiar with and practiced with plastering, it’s not something that should be touched by anyone other than a professional.

That said, the preservation and repair of historic stucco is an essential skill to have when it comes to working with historic American buildings. Many of these, ranging from the European-inspired Greek and Gothic revivals from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to the Art Deco and Prairie styles popularized right here in the U.S. in the early 20th century make use of this versatile and durable material. If you were to do away with stucco altogether, a very large percentage of historic buildings would fall into disrepair.

So how do you manage historical stucco repair? And, really, why is it so important to preserve it when it’s designed to last for a long time? Let’s go over this incredible material to ensure that historic buildings can stay as beautiful as when they were built, now and for years to come.

Why Stucco Is So Popular

Stucco is a cement-based mixture that’s applied to the outside of a home. Today, it’s made with Portland cement, sand, and water; before the 20th century, it was often made with lime. Like what you might see with wall plaster, stucco is applied in layers, which can be intensive work. 

Stucco is still a popular option for homes thanks to its durability; it expands and contracts naturally with the weather, and it can last up to fifty years without need for repairs! Plus, it adds an extra layer of insulation, which protects both against the elements and various pests. 

It’s a very versatile option for homes. In terms of decoration, some people opt to add natural tints to the stucco mix itself, or they use it as a canvas for future paint jobs. It’s also able to imitate a range of styles, from Mediterranean villas to the adobe bungalows popular in the American southwest.

Why a Professional Touch Is Essential For Historical Stucco Repair

Exterior stucco repair for historic buildings is an essential skill to have in any restoration team’s toolbox. Unlike wood or brick, analysis has to be done to determine the ingredients in the building’s stucco work in order to create a mix that matches it. Modern stucco uses Portland cement and polymers, which are durable and long-lasting, but they can clash with older stuccos made of clay and lime. 

Additionally, most historical stuccos use natural pigments–such as brick dust, or even the color of the local dirt and sand used in mixing it–for color, and often modern pigments are synthetic and unable to act as a perfect match.

How to Repair Historic Stucco

Unlike modern stucco, which can last up to half a century, historic stucco has less staying power and needs to be regularly touched up to ensure the building it’s applied to stays beautiful and sturdy even centuries after being built. But, while some sidings can require replacing a great deal of the original material, stucco works better as a “touch up where needed” project. 

That’s why professional plasterers should be the ones to do the repairs for stucco. Even without the care that’s required for period-accurate mixing and coloring, someone attempting to DIY their stucco repairs can end up with uneven, unprofessional-looking spots on their building’s exterior. It takes a well-practiced hand to evenly apply modern stucco, much less stucco made from historical components.

Keep Your Stucco Stunning For Years

If you live or work in a historical building, you understand how beautiful they are and how important it is to preserve the past. Even repairs as simple as filling in a bit of worn stucco can do tremendous things for preserving the integrity of historical homes, offices, and government buildings. 

At Abstract Masonry, we truly love and appreciate the historical buildings in our home state of Utah. That’s why, in addition to our other services, we also offer historic stucco repair in Utah; we know the exact unique materials used in our historic buildings out here in the west, and we can apply any repairs or updates needed to ensure they stay strong and beautiful through years of snowy winters and hot summers. If your home or business needs stucco repairs, give us a call today so we can help preserve it for years to come.