Published on November 3rd, 2015 | by Henri


Stucco-like basement walls hard to clean

Q. You’ve been a big help before, thanks. We have a finished basement with stucco walls. We don’t like the appearance or how dirty they get. Is there a somewhat simple way to replace them? If not, can you recommend a way to clean them? They are white, but are dirty from the basement.

A.    I assume you mean that the stucco is on the foundation walls. If it is real stucco (as opposed to simulated stucco panels) — and somewhat rough as stucco generally is — and it is applied directly on the foundation walls, removing it would be almost impossible to do at any reasonable cost.

You should clean the stucco and have a drywall contractor or mason apply a joint compound over it to smooth the walls. Once dry the joint compound can be painted. Smooth surfaces collect less dust than rough surfaces and are easier to clean.

If the stucco is artificial, and applied on furring strips, you should be able to removed it. Or you could treat it in the same way as for the real thing as mentioned above.

If the stucco is removed, you may end up with bare masonry foundation walls, and, if they are concrete blocks, do not paint them as the paint will either peel off if there is outside moisture penetration or, if it is a waterproofing coating, it will allow water to build up inside the cores with disastrous results upstairs.

To keep the basement cleaner, consider having an electronic filter installed in the return of a warm-air system to replace the common standard filter, or, if you have hydronic heat (hot-water baseboard), a stand-alone filter that collects floating dust particles.

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