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Rediscovering Stucco!

Rediscovering Stucco!

Exterior renovationsRediscovering Stucco!

While an acrylic stucco finish may seem to have been a declining trend when it comes to commercial and residential constructions after its glory days in the nineties, this form of siding material is definitely making a comeback on the renovation scene. To refresh your memory, let’s start by rediscovering stucco, this revived exterior wall finish!

What You Should Know About Stucco Exterior Cladding

Stucco surface

Source: Canva

What are the pros and cons of stucco construction?

Acrylic stucco, which is composed of a mixture of Portland cement, sand, and water, has an impressive number of advantages. First, let’s highlight its insulating properties which help make it an effective air barrier. It’s also recognized for its great longevity since stucco, this modern form of siding, has an estimated service life of about 25 years, which is quite impressive.

Moreover, it is easy to recognize that this textured material has a very attractive aesthetic appearance which gives a unique look to the exterior walls of a home. It is also worth noting that this material can be painted if you so wish, but is available already in a wide range of colours.

Another noteworthy advantage is that modern stucco is a highly fire-resistant form of siding. This aspect makes it very practical as it will limit the spread of fire in the event that a neighbour’s house catches fire.

It is impossible to ignore the excellent energy performance that stucco has had for houses for centuries. It will effectively eliminate thermal bridges and will create a surface that is airtight. Keep reading for some insight into the disadvantages of stucco.

Is acrylic stucco a good exterior cladding?

Stucco finishes have a few drawbacks. This material is sensitive to temperature variations. As a result of this disadvantage, your stucco exterior walls may require a bit of repair over time. It is also important to note that modern stucco is a material that has a very brittle nature, meaning it is vulnerable to impacts, which can cause the stucco system to crumble. However, it can be easily altered to bring the coating back to its original state in little to no time.

How to Apply Stucco Exterior Wall Siding on House

stucco surface

Source: Canva

First, it is important not to overlook the preliminary step of cleaning the work surface before you begin anything. It will also be necessary to thoroughly wet the surface at least 12 to 24 hours before getting work done and to dampen it moments before undertaking the job at hand to ensure it is ready for application.

To ensure the quality of acrylic stucco, keep the product dry at all times. To prepare the mixture, combine 4 to 4.5 litres of water for every 22.7 kg bag of cement in a container until you obtain a smooth substance. Then, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ones using a drill-bit mixer.

At this stage, you can colour your stucco if you wish by adding pigments of colour into the mixture. Note that the colour range available is quite vast. Once the stucco mixture is ready, do not waste any time before applying it; it will remain effective for tops two hours.

As mentioned by Eric Beaudin, a professional bricklayer and cement worker, stucco is applied on a metallic trellis. Since the trellis is then covered with one or two layers of mortar, the stucco is able to adhere solidly to the surface.

To ensure the strength of your acrylic stucco coating, you will need to apply two coats of the mixture, which will create a layer that is about 1 inch thick. It is not recommended to exceed this thickness otherwise the outer surface of the coating may crack.

The first coat should be applied with a steel trowel. To obtain a rough surface and ensure the second layer is properly bonded, use a serrated trowel on the surface of the coating. After the first coat has had time to dry fully (for  24 hours), it will need to be dampened.

The next step is to apply the second coat with a finishing trowel, a brush, or a sponge to create the desired texture on the stucco coating. From the moment the stucco is completely dry, it is imperative to dampen it slightly over the next three days, using a standard garden hose.

To conclude, you should check that the water is drained properly, that there are no hairline cracks, and that the air flows properly behind the insulation.

Are you looking to paint your stucco home? Check out our article to know what products you should use for outdoor painting projects.

How to Maintain and Repair Stucco Siding

stucco surface

Source: Canva

Note to all stucco homeowners: To ensure that your stucco siding stands the test of time, it is absolutely necessary to protect it from moisture, meaning proper maintenance is a must! The dirt that builds up on the surface of the stucco can be easily cleaned with water, and efflorescence stains can be scrubbed off with a sponge and a bit of white vinegar. The latter gives this material a considerable advantage. 

Should any small cracks appear on the exterior surface of the stucco, it is imperative that adequate repairs, meaning several steps, be carried out as soon as the damage is noticed. This way, you will be able to prevent any water leaks that could lead to major damage.

Here's a rundown of the steps to apply stucco on an exterior wall:

1) Clean the work surface;
2) Wet the surface 12 to 24 hours before undertaking the work;
3) Prepare the mixture and make it smooth;
4) Add the colour (if applicable);
5) Apply the first coat with a steel trowel;
6) Let it dry for 24 hours;
7) Wet the surface;
8) Apply the second coat with a finishing trowel;
9) Wet the surface several times over the next 3 days;
10) Check that the water is draining and the air is circulating.

If you want to know more about wall coverings, check out our Paint and Wall Covering Renovation Guide!

Stucco Texture on Interior Walls

stucco surface

Source: Canva

We all have horrible visuals in mind of stalactite-like ceilings, like those found in the 1970s, traditional stucco bungalows. Both impractical and outdated, these rather exaggerated examples have contributed to the bad reputation of stucco when used inside homes. However, it is possible to create interesting finishes with this product, like when opting for softer textures inspired by homes in the southern parts of the United States or in the Greek islands! So, think of Mediterranean architecture as a definitive feature! See in the example above how stucco fits perfectly in a decor that is far from old-fashion.

To do so, you will need a decorative stucco coating intended for interior use. The granular effect of the decorative interior stucco is finer than the exterior stucco.

You will need:

  • a trowel;

  • a scraper;

  • decorative stucco coating.

Apply the first layer, while ensuring it is not too thick. Use a scraper to apply the stucco on a wall, and use the trowel to spread it out. Decorative stucco dries faster than outdoor stucco, between one and two hours. Repeat the above-mentioned steps for the second coat, and there you have it, a decorative, interior stucco wall!

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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