Removing Old Stucco

Lead Image
  • 24-40 hours
  • Beginner
  • 40-250
What You'll Need
Canvass Sheeting/Plastic Cover
Sledge Hammer
Flat Pry Bar
Small Crowbar
Tar Paper

Knowing how to remove stucco is the first step in replacing the stucco on your office building or home. Stucco is an inexpensive and durable overlay on the wall surface of your home or office and is used to cover visually unappealing building materials such as cinder blocks, concrete, adobe, and red clay brick. Removing stucco involves a lot of physical labor so it can be a very strenuous home improvement activity.

However, removing old stucco and replacing it with a new and more appealing finish greatly enhances the curb appeal and real value of your office building or family dwelling. Listed below are the steps that you will need to take to remove and replace your stucco by doing it yourself.

Secure the Area Where Work is Done

The ground beneath the work area must be covered with plastic film, or a canvas drop cloth. This should be large enough to cover the area and protect it from any falling stucco or other debris. This will also contain any small pieces that fall off so that after the work's completed it will be easier to clean-up your work area.

Start Breaking the Stucco

Begin removing the stucco by lightly striking it with a sledgehammer breaking it up and away from the wall until it begins falling away. For those stubborn pieces that are hard to remove, use a flat pry bar to loosen them until they too fall off.

Removing Unwanted Wires and Nails

Remove the metal lath that holds the stucco to the wall by using a small crowbar. Utilizing its rounded end, undo the wire with it. Remove all of the nails that may still be holding the lath to the wall. Continue pulling with the claws of a hammer or nail puller until all of the nails are removed.

Cleaning up the Building Exterior

The outsides of the stucco area in the building must be cleaned of any dirt. If any nails or other metal objects can be seen protruding from the sheathing, they too must be removed. Clear the area as well of any boards, and other debris that may or may not have stucco piled on it.

Vapor Barrier and Clean-up

A vapor barrier must be placed then over the entire exterior surface area affected, and any mess from the removal must now be thoroughly cleaned up. This is not only to protect your structure's curb appeal but to protect the environment as well. In some municipalities, it is mandated by civil and criminal codes and in some cases federal building codes as well. In all cases, however, it's just common sense not to foul one's own nest.

It is necessary to wear protective gear such as safety glasses, sturdy boots, clothing, and work gloves when removing stucco. These will give protection to the eyes, especially in light of the fact that the work involves a lot of pounding on a cement surface that typically causes small particles to fly around as high velocities. The protective eye gear will prevent those particles from damaging your eyes.