Nothing on This Old House's East Boston project house seemed in worse shape than the stucco siding. Years of harsh winters had left giant cracks and gaping holes in the masonry surface. Making it worse was the ivy working its way into the cracks, opening a path for water to get behind the stucco. A complete replacement would have come in at $50,000.
Instead, after the ivy came down, a masonry crew patched the worst sections with new stucco over wire lath, then filled remaining cracks with caulk. Tom's crew cleaned the entire surface using grinders fitted with wire wheels. Then painters applied a primer and two tinted layers of an elastomeric coating—basically a thick acrylic paint—which helps tie everything together and give it a smooth finish. The repairs cost $10,000.
What They Saved: $40,000