Stucco is a construction material used for decorative finishes of walls and buildings or restoration of deteriorating ones.
It is an easy and versatile way to accent otherwise plain-looking or flat out ugly walls. Nowadays, it is a mixture of lime, sand, Portland cement, and water and is applied wet to the surface then hardens as it dries. As such, it is cost-effective, which makes it popular to homeowners and is widely used in construction. But before you decide to pick up that trowel and brush here are some useful tips that could help make your next home improvement project a success:
1. Stucco needs water to bond.
Stucco does not apply uniformly on a surface that repels moisture because it needs water to bond. So, if the wall is an exposed brick or a surface that absorbs moisture, then stucco can be applied directly. But if it is a painted finish that repels water, your home can still utilize stucco with these 2 techniques. First is to remove this paint finish either by sandblasting or water blasting before applying the stucco. Second is to attach a paper-backed lath to the surface before applying three layers of stucco.
2. Stucco needs curing.
Since hydration is necessary for the layers to harden, anything that interferes with the moisture content should be avoided. This includes the temperature and the wind conditions the wall is exposed to. The ideal temperature for proper curing is 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If weather conditions are less than ideal, it might be necessary to install sun or windbreaks. Also wet the stucco finish one to two times a day, especially on the first two days, except for painted finishes as wetting might interfere with its uniformity. In this case, it is better to wet the base coating before applying the top layer.
3. Does the surface have joints?
Depending on what part of the house or building you are applying the stucco on, the surface may have joints. It can be an expansion or contraction joint, which means the wall moves back and forth, or it can be a control joint that allows for out of plane movements. Either way, these are made to relieve pressure or stress to prevent cracking. When dealing with walls that have these, you need to use the appropriate accessory. Use a one-piece accessory for expansion and contraction joints and a two-piece assembly for walls with out-of-plane movements like doors and windows.
Stucco can last a long time if appropriately applied. It is resistant to fire, mold, rot, termites, but as with all construction or home improvements, it deteriorates early when incorrectly done. For the average joe, it is sometimes better to let the professionals handle it. One such professional is Smith Plastering, Inc., of Naples Florida. Smith Plastering provides excellent drywall, stucco, painting, and metal framing services in Naples, Florida and its surrounding areas. You can contact them at 239-594-7537 or visit their website at https://www.smithplastering.com for your home improvement needs.