Back in the day, stucco was the go-to exterior finish for a visually appealing home or establishment. Now it’s the wall coating real estate owners least prefer, not without good reason.
Most homes or buildings covered in stucco have a brick-and-mortar structure underneath. You can take or strip stucco off this structure, but it would require a lot of effort.
Before you take a product off a surface, it’s important that you find out why it was used in the first place. This information will help you assess how much work you have cut out for yourself.
For instance, homes covered with stucco simply for the love of it would be a lot easier to work on or modify than homes covered with stucco to hide structural deterioration.
Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how you can take stucco off a brick wall.
Can Stucco be Removed?
You can remove stucco from any surface or structure with some tools you probably have lying around the house. The task requires patience, dexterity, and, as I mentioned earlier, considerable effort.
The difficulty level involved in removing stucco depends on whether a material or product was used to adhere it to the wall.
Oftentimes, before stucco is applied to a house’s exterior or interior, a layer of wire mesh is nailed to the wall to help the paint stay on.
Taking stucco off this sublayer is significantly more difficult than removing stucco directly applied to a wall.
What Tools Do You Need to Remove Stucco from Bricks?
There are two ways by which you can remove stucco from bricks. Both methods get the job done, but one method requires more advanced tools than the other. Here’s a breakdown.
Before we proceed, it is worthy of note that safety gear is a must when removing stucco from a surface, so ensure you get the following equipment,
- Eye protection
- A safety coverall (optional)
- Earplugs (optional)
Now to the tools needed for the removal. The following tools are required for the first method of removal,
- Putty knife or chisel
- Crowbar or raking bar
- Wire brush
For the second method, you’d need the tools listed below.
- Concrete saw or Rotary Hammer
- Claw Hammer
- Crowbar or raking bar
- Wire cutter
- Wire brush
Here’s a list of equipment that’d make cleaning up after the stucco is removed a lot easier.
- Heavy-duty garbage bag
- Drop cloth or poly barrier
- Magnet broom
How to Remove Stucco from Bricks Easily?
As I mentioned, there are two ways stucco can be removed from bricks. The first method requires simple tools, while the second method requires more advanced tools.
In the first method, you are required to use a hammer to crack the stucco and then chip at it with a putty knife or chisel till you get everything off.
The second method requires the use of power tools to remove the stucco from the bricks.
You can use the first method on an inconspicuous spot on your wall before you get to work using the second method.
Doing this will give you an idea of the state of the bricks underneath and help you decide whether removing the stucco is the best way forward.
We’ll be focusing on the second method of removal in the below points because it’s easier and less time-consuming than the first.
Step #1: Lay a Drop Cloth on the Floor and Wear Safety Gear
Spread out a drop cloth or poly barrier on the floor of your work area. Make sure the cloth or barrier is close to the bottom of the wall.
This step will make your clean-up faster once you’re done removing the stucco, as the stucco you pry off the wall will land on the cloth instead of the floor.
After you lay the cloth or barrier on the floor, put on all your safety gear and make sure your work tools are within your reach.
Step #2: Remove All Nails from Wall
If there are nails on the wall, use your claw hammer to pull them out. Dispose of all the nails immediately to keep your work area safe.
Prying out the nails in the wall with your hammer will make removing stucco from the wall a lot easier.
You can use a magnet broom to quickly clear the nails off the floor. Keep your garbage bag close by so you don’t have to make long trips whenever you want to dispose of waste.
Step 3: Use a Concrete Saw or Rotary Hammer to Remove Stucco
There are two tools you can use to remove stucco from bricks, a concrete saw, and a rotary hammer.
If you’re using a concrete saw to remove stucco, you’ll need two of these power tools to get the job done.
You’ll need a 7-inch concrete saw and a 4½-inch concrete saw; the reason for this is as follows,
A larger saw can’t cut parts of the wall close to the floor or ceiling because the saw is too big for these areas, so you’ll need a smaller saw to easily cut through the top and bottom of the wall.
Before cutting the exterior wall of your home, remove the soffit and channel at the top of the wall so you can thoroughly remove the stucco.
After removing the soffit and channel, cut a vertical line into your wall at several evenly spaced points.
If you’re using a rotary hammer, you’ll need to fix a self-sharpening ½-inch bit into the tool. Once you’ve done this, you can turn on the tool and use it to chip stucco off the wall.
Step #4: Pry Loose Stucco Off the Wall
Using a crowbar or raking bar, pry stucco you were able to loosen with your saw or hammer tool off the wall.
Place a wheelbarrow close to the wall so you can easily gather and dispose of all the pieces of stucco that come off the wall.
If there is wire mesh underneath the stucco, use a wire cutter to cut the parts of the mesh that are hard to dislodge.
Also, inspect the mesh for nails and remove them, as that could be the reason you’re having a hard time removing the mesh.
Step #5: Clean the Exposed Brick
Get a wire brush and gently use it to clean leftover stucco from the brick. Then clear away the drop cloth on the floor.
After you do this, use some cleaning agent and a brush to clean the brickwork. You can use a pressure washer to wash the brick but don’t get too close, or you’ll cause significant damage.
Muriatic acid is also a super effective cleaning agent for bricks. Make sure you wear safety gear when working with this agent and follow the instructions on the product, as it contains harmful chemicals.
Removing stucco from bricks is a very straightforward but exerting task. If you could get someone to help you out, it’d sure make the removal process go a lot faster.
There’s a high chance you’d uncover a deteriorated brick structure after taking off all the stucco, but don’t be fazed.
It’s better you tackle structural damage as soon as you discover it. The dangers of waiting till a later date before dealing with this kind of problem are quite severe.
We hope you found this article helpful and are confident you’ll do a great job removing stucco from your home’s interior or exterior.