How to Remove Stucco

    Cover the ground beneath your work area with a tarp. Canvas tarps are best. Lay out the tarp so that it covers the plants and ground beneath the stucco wall. When you break up the cement finish it will come down in a thousand little pieces. If you place a tarp on the ground the mess will be much easier to clean up.

    Take a short handled 2- or 3-pound sledge hammer and gently tap on the stucco until it breaks up and falls off the side of the building. You do not have to hit the stucco very hard and you can use a flat pry bar to free up those pieces that will not come loose easily.

    Pull out the metal mesh. This is what originally held the stucco mixture in place, when it was wet and first being applied. Take a small cat’s paw (that’s a type of small crowbar designed especially for removing nails) and use the rounded end to loosen the wire mesh and pull out any nails that may be holding the wire mesh in place. You can always tap on the cat’s paw with a small carpenter’s hammer to remove a troublesome nail.

    Clean up the exterior surface of the building. This means pull out all nails, staples or metal objects that are protruding from the wooden sheathing of the building. If the place where you are working has stucco on top of wood lath, then you will probably want to remove the lath.

    Make sure the exterior has a temporary vapor barrier. If there is only exposed wooden sheathing then you should staple some building paper (tar paper) or a plastic covering such as Tarvac to the exterior surface of the building.

    Clean up the mess on top of the tarpaulin. This will be mostly the old pieces of stucco that have fallen on top of the protective covering.


  • Around the edges of the stucco and next to all openings, it might be necessary to use a flat pry bar to loosen and free the old stucco. These places should be saved for last after you have taken out as much of the stucco as you can using a lightweight, short-handled sledge.


  • Do not pound too hard with the short sledge. Only a light to medium tap should be necessary.
  • Use safety glasses.

About the Author

Henri Bauholz is a professional writer covering a variety of topics, including hiking, camping, foreign travel and nature. He has written travel articles for several online publications and his travels have taken him all over the world, from Mexico to Latin America and across the Atlantic to Europe.