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  • Writer's pictureTon Kalker

Home Maintenance at Cuernavaca

Home Maintenance at Cuernavaca

Art Lewis,

Maintenance of Stucco

As an original owner of a townhouse at Cuernavaca, I have followed the discussion and development of advice and rules for maintaining the stucco here since 1988. I think I have learned a few things, but I am not a professional in this area, and want to make clear that these are my opinions, which you may use or not as you see fit. Originally we heard that stucco is a long lasting surface which does not need painting and perhaps should not be painted. Stucco is applied to a metal mesh over a paper barrier which keeps out water. If painted, any water that gets into the stucco may not dry so easily and may cause problems. In our dry climate this may be of less concern than it might be in a wet climate.

After a few years of discussion and much controversy, the HOA allowed the stucco to be painted, but only with an acrylic paint which is less impervious than some other paints such as elastomeric paints. All but a handful of units have since been painted. A problem we have here is the settlement of a black substance on horizontal surfaces which locally discolors the stucco as it is washed down onto vertical surfaces. My best guess is that this black stuff is mostly tire dust from nearby roadways. Rubber contains a few percent sulfur which oxidizes and forms sulfuric acid. This acid etches unpainted stucco surfaces (also sidewalks and driveways). For painted surfaces it only produces an ugly stain. Note that where the stucco is protected by tile (figure on right), water does not flow onto the stucco, and the stucco stays clean.

The HOA periodically sends notices to homeowners with stained stucco, requesting that they clean these stains. If power washing, alone, is not successful, some paint may be required. In the above examples, after washing, paint can be applied to the stained ledges only and match well enough the older painted surface below. Acrylic paint specifications are: Kelly More Acrylic Paint, System CCA , 1240-121-1G; B 0Y4.0000, C 1Y 20.0000, F 0Y 5.0000.

If you are one of the rare owners with unpainted stucco, the problem is different. The acidic material will by now have etched into the stucco and extended more broadly onto the vertical surfaces. After power washing, the surface may be restored to virtually new condition with the application of a stucco fog coat. This can be done with a brush, roller, or professional spray equipment. The material is much less expensive than paint. It comes in a bag, like cement, and can be mixed with water to form a dilute slurry for application. I have done this successfully on my unit and can provide you with more details if you contact me. The fog coat is La Habra Fog Coat Custom, Color #71 Miami Peach, and exactly matches the original stucco color.

Stucco Fence Repair and Maintenance

Fences between townhouses and bordering the common area are also covered with stucco or have stucco sections. Early units may have walls that are stucco on one side and wood on the other. The walls are mounted on redwood posts and as these age some of the posts are rotting out. Maintenance of fences between units is the responsibility of homeowners. Fences between units are shared, and those in the front of the house are the homeowners individual responsibility. The fences bordering the common area are maintained by the Home Owners Association (HOA).

Often the fence can be repaired by replacing the rotten part of the posts with new wood or metal. Parts of the reconstructed fence surface then may need to be covered by new stucco. Some owners may choose to build new stucco fences to replace the failed ones.

Matching the stucco color of original fences may be done in several ways.

  1. Use stucco of the original color. (La Habra Miami Peach #71) Best option for new fence.

  2. Use a fog coat with the original color applied to uncolored stucco. (La Habra Fog Coat Custom #71)

  3. Paint the stucco with the approved acrylic paint.

If you happen to have an old fence that has not been painted, it will be very etched and unattractive. It can be restored to almost new by washing and applying a fog coat with a brush as described on the first page.

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Mar 01, 2023

Thanks Art! Super useful information.



Ton Kalker
Ton Kalker
Feb 06, 2023
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

Great recommendations!

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