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Rediscovering Stucco!

Last modified: 2019/01/04 | Approximate reading time 4 mins

While acrylic stucco may seem to have fallen in popularity after its glory days in the nineties, this material is tentatively refocused on the renovation market. In order to refresh our memories, let’s start with the rediscovery of stucco!

What should you know about stucco?

The pros of stucco

Acrylic stucco, which is composed of a mixture of 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, with stucco having an estimating life expectancy 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 outer siding. It’s 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 stucco is a highly fire-resistant material. 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. It will effectively eliminate thermal bridges and will create a surface that is airtight.

The drawbacks of stucco

Unfortunately, stucco is a material that is sensitive to variations in temperature. As a result of this sensitivity, your stucco may require repairs over time. It is also important to note that stucco is a material that is very sensitive to shocks, which can cause crumbling. Nevertheless, it is possible to easily modify and bring the coating back to its original state in little to no time.

Stucco surface_RenoQuotes.com

Photo: Public Domain Pictures

Maintaining stucco siding

In order to allow your stucco to stand the test of time, it is absolutely necessary to protect it from moisture. The dirt that builds up on the surface of the stucco can be cleaned with water, which gives this material a considerable advantage.

Should any small cracks appear on the exterior surface of the stucco, it is imperative that adequate repairs be carried out as soon as the damage is noticed. This way, you will be able to prevent any water from infiltrating and causing major damage.

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How to apply stucco external siding

Firstly, 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 work begins and to dampen it moments before the work, in order to moisten it enough for the application.

To ensure the quality of acrylic stucco, keep the product dry at all times. For the preparation of the mixture, combine 4 to 4.5 litres of water to a bag of roughly 22.7 kilograms in a container until you obtain a homogenous mixture. The integration of the dry ingredients with water will have to be done gradually using a drill as a mixer.

It is at this stage that you can add colour to your stucco if you wish by integrating pigments of colour into the mixture. Note that the available colour scheme is quite vast. Once the stucco mixture is ready, do not waste any time before applying it as it will only be usable for up to two hours.

As mentioned by Éric Beaudin, 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. In order to obtain a rough surface and ensure adhesion of the second layer, use a serrated trowel on the surface of the coating. After the first layer has taken about 24 hours to completely dry, it will need to be moistened.

The next step is to apply the second coat with a finishing trowel, followed by a paintbrush or sponge to create the desired texture on the stucco coating. From the moment the stucco is completely dry, it is imperative to moisten it slightly over the next three days.  To conclude, you should check that the water drainage is done properly and that the air flows properly behind the insulation.

Here is a recap of the steps to apply stucco on an exterior wall

1) Clean the work surface;
2) Wet the surface 12 to 24 hours before completing the work;
3) Prepare the mix and make it homogenous;
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.

 

Salle à manger plafond stucco

Stucco on interior walls

We all have nightmare visions of stalactite ceilings like those found in 1970s bungalows. Both impractical and out of date, 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, opting for softer textures inspired by homes in the southern United States or in the Greek islands! See in the example above how stucco fits perfectly in a decor that is far from outdated.

Author: Karine Dutemple

Translated by: David Ben-Zaken

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