Pressure washers are mighty machines designed to erase dirt, mold, moss, and pretty much everything in sight.
However, If misused, they can also cause severe damage to users or the materials being cleaned.
An excellent example is stucco, which, although less fragile than softwood, can break or split under excessive pressure.
In this article, we will walk through the steps of cleaning stucco with a pressure washer so you can safely and effectively tackle your next project with ease.
Let’s get started!
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About The Author
Meet the expert behind this article.
Co-owner & Service Director
Hey there, I’m Cody.
A decade of residential and commercial pressure washing led me to start JCS Refresh. Now I can share my knowledge with folks like you.
Reading from Washington State?
Contact our team for a quote and you might meet me in person.
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Here’s a quick summary of how to clean stucco with a pressure washer:
- Prepare and inspect the area
- Mix and apply your cleaning solution
- Lightly scrub extra dirty areas
- Rinse with a pressure washer using low pressure (around 1500 PSI)
Can you pressure wash stucco?
Yes, you can.
For starters, asses the wall at a 45-degree angle (with a low-pressure spray pattern when rinsing) and hold the spray nozzle at least 24 inches from the surface. If you clean with the nozzle too close, you risk unforeseen damage.
While rinsing, aim to slightly overlap each section as you clean to ensure nothing is missed. Remember to risk top to bottom, unlike the bottom-up method, when applying detergent.
How difficult is this to do?
Pressure washing stucco is straightforward if you take time and work slowly.
How long does it take?
Cleaning stucco takes 10-30 minutes for the cleaning solution to work its magic. Then, add another 30 minutes for scrubbing and thirty more to wash off the exterior. Lastly, allow up to 48 hours (weather permitting) for the surface to dry.
How to clean stucco with a pressure washer
Let’s go over this process step-by-step.
1. Prepare and inspect the area
Gather all the equipment (safety gear, tools, chemicals) needed to start the job.
Next, thoroughly inspect the exterior for cracks, chipping, or damage. Repair any such damages because water can seep inside the building and compromise the structure’s integrity.
Let these repairs cure before beginning.
2. Mix and apply the cleaning solution
Prepare a 1:1 solution of the cleaning chemical with water.
For the best results, always use a dedicated chemical rather than homemade concoctions (like borax and dish soap).
Next, adjust the pressure washer to the lowest setting and attach it to a sprayer nozzle. Apply the solution to every nook and corner you intend to clean.
Give the solution ample time and space to break down the filth and grime. However, don’t wait for more than 10 minutes because waiting too long could cause the cleaning agent to dry, which makes cleaning much more difficult.
3. Lightly scrub extra dirty areas
Use a sponge, soft brush, or power scrubber to scrub any stains gently.
Some stains, like rust, can be harder to manage, so think ahead and consider using a rust-removal solution. Also, stay vigilant (and patient) because brushing or power scrubbing may degrade the stucco if done improperly.
If you have a big area to clean, or you aren’t accustomed to the technique, seek the help of local house washing experts.
4. Rinse with a pressure washer using low pressure
Once all the necessary spots have been scrubbed, it’s time to start the pressure washer.
Adjust the PSI down to about 1500 PSI and spray the solution. Always stay 24 inches away from the nozzle and stucco to minimize damage.
Frequently asked questions
You have questions, and we have answers!
How much PSI should I use when pressure washing stucco?
We recommend 1,500 PSI when cleaning stucco.
What happens if I use too much PSI?
Stucco is porous and sensitive, and applying too much pressure could result in severe damage like chipping or discoloration.
Should I pressure wash stucco before painting?
Pressure washing before painting is a great solution to remove old, chipping paint and any buildup. However, pressure washing before painting should be done with extreme care only after a thorough inspection.
How long does it take stucco to dry after pressure washing?
Stucco can take up to 48 hours to dry after pressure washing. Also, only wash newly applied stucco after 90 days.
Stucco is a commonly used material to improve the integrity and aesthetics of homes and buildings.
As dirt and grime build over time, it’s a great idea to consider a deep cleaning now and then. However, using the correct PSI and technique is essential.
If this project is outside your wheelhouse, contact our team for a free quote!
Thanks for reading!