Stucco can transform a home from an unattractive wood-framed house to a beautiful masonry stucco finish. Because it is always applied to another material, it can take on any shape or form. Whether it is a straight wall or a curved post, stucco can transform an ugly block foundation wall into an attractive footing wall. In many areas stucco has been used to create stylish garden walls. It can also give your project a variety of finish textures. Stucco is also popular because of its durability and uniquely textured appearance. It is one of the few building materials that can go on in a round surface without any special cutting. Nevertheless, problems can arise with this weather-resistant masonry shell. Usually, stucco is a great material to use because it has maximum durability. This being said, it still has to be maintained to be able to keep its beauty. One of the ways that stucco was maintained in the past was to whitewash it. This had to be done every year and was quite time-consuming. Nowadays, we have several methods to maintain stucco. One of the best ways is to use a masonry base paint. The best part is you don't have to use white. It can be any color that you want. There are some rules that you should know when painting stucco. Especially if we are talking about new stucco. Before painting, brush off any deposit, flaking or efflorescence. Then prepare a weak muriatic acid solution to bath the wall in. Next, rinse the wall with clean clear water. For stucco that has cured for less than 30 days use an alkali resistant primer and a 100 % acrylic latex exterior coat. If you do a superb job of painting your stucco it should last quite an extensive time. One thing to remember, fresh masonry will contain alkaline in it. It can burn through paint. The alkaline will neutralize with time by reacting with the carbon dioxide that is in the air. Depending on the weather a complete curing process may take a year.
Sometimes your stucco will need more than just paint to sustain it. Over time, water and winter freeze can turn a minor crack into a critical problem. So let's talk about some ways of repairing your stucco. Even a narrow crack can cause a problem. One of the main ways that this can happen is when water gets in through the crack and expands in a freeze-thaw cycle. What you have is a large crack or a hole in your stucco. Worse yet if the water sets behind the stucco for any amount of time. It will rot the understructure. The area that seems to crack the most is the area around the windows and doors. At the first sight of a crack, take a brush and clean it out good. Then seal it with a flexible exterior caulk, such as 100% silicone based caulk. If the damage is a little bit larger then just a crack, you may be missing a part of the stucco. In this case, you will need to patch the hole in the stucco. This is done by preparing the area to be patched. Start by clearing away any loose material that is in the area to be repaired. Next, make sure that the mesh is fastened well to the backing material. Apply a coat of bonder to the edges of the hole you are patching. Then, take a trowel and place a scratch coat over the wire mesh. Let it dry several hours and then apply a finish coat. Depending on the type of texture or finish that you are trying to match, there are several ways to finish the stucco. Finally, cure the patch by covering it with a piece of plastic. Let it cure for 48 hours. Stucco can be difficult to match even if you know what color was used. The best way of achieving a professional looking job is to paint the whole wall after all the patches have been made. To create a good stucco repair, the surface that you are applying the stucco to must be clean and free of dust, dirt, grease, and efflorescence. One of the most constructive ways to check the surface that you are preparing to apply stucco to, is to spray it with water. If the water is absorbed by the surface then, the stucco will bond well. But if the water beads up in little droplets the stucco will not bond well.
Here are some of the tools that you will need to work with when applying stucco over a wood wall. I like using gloves on my hands as they protect your hands from the cement and lime that can burn your skin. As well as a good pair of safety glasses to protect your eyes. Next, you will need some tools of the trade. Like a hammer, stapler, utility knife, hand shears, chalk box, raking tool, mortar hawk, hoe & shovel. If you don't have a mortar mixer, you can mix your stucco in a wheelbarrow. One way to minimize the loss of material when applying stucco is to use a mortar hawk and trowel. While holding the hawk against the wall with one hand, you can spread the stucco with the trowel in the other hand. As you work your way up and down the wall, excess material will fall back into the mortar hawk and you can reuse it. The most common method of applying stucco is over wood. To start you need to apply a good grade of felt paper. At least a 6 pound felt. Making sure to wrap around corners and overlap courses of felt by at least 6 inches. After you have covered the wall with felt, its time to install a base bead around the bottom of your wall. Start by snapping a chalk line to guide your base bead and follow it around the bottom of the wall. Next, secure the base bead with roofing nails flange side up. With the felt paper and bottom base in place, start applying the explained metal lath. This can be done with roofing nails or staples making sure of continuous layers of support. After the metal lath installs the corner bead, this will create a neat edge between wall surfaces. Stucco is applied in three coats. Starting with the scratch coat that you apply over the metal lath with your trowel and hawk. After the scratch coat, you will apply the brown coat utilizing a long trowel or float to spread out the brown coat in even layers. Last, we come to the finish coat. If you want, you can add a powdered colorant to the finish coat of stucco and add color to the wall. This last coat of stucco should be applied in a thin coat of about 1/8 of a inch thick. Its best if you can choose an overcast day to stucco on. Excessive heat can dry out the stucco prematurely, which could cause shrinking and cracking. The ideal temperature to apply stucco is about 65 to 70 degrees. As always never mix up more stucco then you can use before it sets up.