There comes a point when building a new house or remodeling an old one becomes a necessity. The materials that you use will affect not only the cost, but the overall look you are trying to achieve. Stucco is only one of the many options to choose from and has been used for centuries by designers all over the world. Stucco is a material that can be given many different textures to achieve all kinds of different looks. It has been used by artists and architects alike to achieve these different looks and textures for different types of beauty in artwork and houses all over the world. Architects use stucco as an interior and exterior design element, but more commonly it is used to strengthen and design exterior walls. How to apply stucco depends mostly on the kind of wall that it is being applied to.
When stucco is being applied to a concrete or mason wall, only a bonding agent, made by many different companies for the purpose of concrete use, is need before you begin the application. Once the bonding agent has dried completely, the first layer of stucco can be applied to the wall. This initial layer of stucco should be between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick, and should be misted with water periodically until it has slightly hardened. Once it has slightly hardened, the stucco should be scratched, by using a plasterers' rake or other scratching tool, to a thickness of at least 1/8 of an inch and then allowed to finish hardening completely. This process will take anywhere from 36 to 48 hours and the stucco should be misted with water periodically to keep the surface moist. The final coat of stucco should be applied with the desired texture (for the finished look) and be between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick. This final layer should also be misted periodically while hardening, again for 36 to 48 hours.
Applying stucco to wooden walls involves a little more work in order to achieve the same desired results. The wood should first be covered with 15 pound roofing felt and then covered with 17 gauge metal netting (also called wire lath). This is important so that the stucco has something to bond to, such as the bonding agent used on the cement walls. The netting and roofing felt can both be found at most home improvement stores. Once the netting is properly secured, the process is pretty much the same as before. Begin with a 1/4 to 1/2 inch scratch coat that has been gently forced into the wire lath. This is important because it is used as support in the event of settling of the building to prevent cracks. Once this initial coat has slightly hardened, it should be scratched to at least 1/8 inch thick and allowed to harden for 36 to 48 hours. The final, textured coat should be applied as desired and again allowed to harden completely. Misting the stucco layers during the drying process is always an important factor in how to apply stucco.
Painting or otherwise coloring the stucco is usually the final part of the application process and gives the walls their own unique look. Cement dye can be added to the stucco when applying the final coat and is usually the option that is used due to being the fastest option. When cement dye is used, there is no waiting period once the project is completed to admire the beauty of your work. If using this method, however, it is important to make note of the colors and amounts of each that are used to achieve the desired color, so that the next batch of stucco can be an exact match. When paint is used (interior or exterior), your wait time should be approximately six weeks before you begin painting to ensure that the stucco is completely finished before applying.
No matter how new you are to the art of stucco, the process is easy to learn but a little time consuming. Stucco should be mixed in batches that can be used within an hour and a half of being mixed so that it doesn't dry out. The curing time per layer are at least two days and if paint is chosen over the cement dye the process of applying stucco takes even longer. The key to a successful job is patience. Patience is needed to use this art, whether you're an artist or an architect, but the finished product should be well worth the wait.
Where Can I Buy Stucco Supplies? Offline and Online Shopping
Of course, if you've decided that stucco is the perfect candidate for your building or remodeling project, you're going to have to pick up the materials somewhere. Most hardware stores should have a stock of everything you need. Home Hardware and Loews will both do the trick, but any local store should also be able to meet your needs. The best thing about going to a store (as opposed to shopping online) is you can get the advice of experts who spend all day around building and remodeling supplies, and probably have firsthand experience with stucco application. You might be able to pick up a few tips and tricks that can make the job easier, as well as get guidance for quantities and varieties of stucco. Stucco mix tends to cost around 50 cents per pound at Home Hardware, so you can budget accordingly.
You can also purchase stucco mix online. Quikrete, the brand that you would likely end up purchasing from a hardware store anyway, has an online store from which you can purchase stucco mix directly. There are plenty of other online retailers of stucco mix and supplies, and prices tend to be similar - heck even Amazon.com is selling stucco mix now. The one big downside of purchasing online is that you will have to wait, and usually pay, for shipping. Home renovations usually are not the types of projects where you want to be waiting around for supplies to arrive.