Making the decision to use stucco for a building design is a great way to begin the journey of redesign. Before beginning the process of applying stucco to exterior or interior walls, it should be determined whether or not stucco wire, also called wire lath, should be used. Whether or not wire lath needs to be used depends on the material of the wall that the stucco will be applied to. The only type of wall that wire lath is not needed for is concrete or mason walls, which only requires a bonding agent that can be purchased in cans online or at a hardware store. Different types of lath should be used for different kinds of walls and studs, but it should be used regardless, for the purpose of supporting the stucco after it is applied, in the event of the building settling and shifting over time and the prevention of cracks in the stucco due to various weather extremes. The stucco wire is placed on the walls before the initial coat of stucco is applied, but before the edging or other trim work.
As with any building supplies, the lath must be prepared before being applied. To prepare the stucco wire for placement, stretch it out along the wall and remove any excess lath using wire cutters (or scissors if they apply). Be sure to trim around windows, doors and other obstacles when fitting the stucco wire to the wall so that the edges of these areas can be anchored as well as the outer edges. This will ensure that the edges do not give out after the stucco is applied. Beginning in the center of the wall, pull the wire taut to form a "box" using nails to hold the wire in place. Working outward from the center, more nails should be used to continue making the "box" bigger, keeping the wire tight as you work. Begin between eight to ten inches from the center square and be sure to keep the nails on the studs so that they are securely anchored and do not come loose. Gradually finish this pattern out to the edges of the walls so that all of the stucco wire is secure. When the entire wall is finished and all of the stucco wire is stretched and nailed down, the corners should be anchored so that they do not break loose after the stucco is applied. When choosing the type of stucco wire to use, keep in mind the kind of wall that it will be attached to.
The most common types of stucco wire are wire mesh lath, metal stucco lath, and fiberglass stucco lath. Wire mesh lath is best used on wooden walls that require building paper or roofing felt. It is attached to the wall over the paper or felt using large nails or screws and the initial coat of stucco is gently forced into the mesh when it is applied. Metal stucco lath is used primarily on walls with steel studs but can also be used on wood walls. This stucco wire should also be applied using screws or nails for support. Fiberglass stucco lath is a fiberglass mesh that almost feels like a thick material. This type of stucco wire can be applied using staples instead of nails and can typically be cut using industrial scissors rather than wire cutters. Fiberglass stucco lath is preferred by many contractors because it is less likely to rust over time and is safer to handle in regards to sharp edges and getting cut when putting it up. It is also less likely to let in water behind the stucco.
Whatever type of stucco wire you may choose or be required to use for any particular job, it will more than likely take a little extra time to complete the job due to its installation. It is an important part of applying stucco, however, and guidelines should be followed to ensure adequate support for the stucco wall when it is completed. The application of stucco wire will help in the prevention of cracks in the stucco, from building settling and weather conditions, which will keep the beauty of the building longer and lower maintenance and repair or replacement costs in the long run. When preparing to build, re-build or remodel your home, consider all of your options for the design of the walls and remember that one of the most important components of a stucco wall is the stucco wiring that supports it. Without solid support, there is no wall.
Where Can I Buy Stucco Supplies?
Before you begin the application of stucco wire, you're going to need to get all the necessary supplies. A local hardware depot should have a number of types of stucco wire in stock, as well as stucco mix and any tools you don't currently own. Home Hardware and Loews should both be able to accommodate your needs - but whatever your local hardware store happens to be, make sure to call ahead as to not waste a trip. The great thing about going into a hardware store and not buying supplies online is that you can get expert advice from the salespeople. Most hardware store salesmen and saleswomen have real life experience with remodeling/building and can provide guidance with material choices and amounts. If you're going to pick up the stucco mix at the same time as the wire, and you might as well, it will cost you around 50 cents per pount, so you can plan your budget accordingly.
You can also purchase your stucco mix online. The leading brand in stucco mix is Quikrete, which has a website from which you can order their stucco mix directly. Other online retails such as Amazon also have stucco materials, and prices don't tend to vary all that much. 50 cents for a pound of stucco mix is fairly standard, and you will find the same goes for stucco wire. The downside of an online purchase is that it forces your building or renovating to wait for the purchase to arrive at your doorstep. If time is of the essence, it is a much better option to drive down to your local hardware store and get the supplies there.