What are the Best Tips for Applying Stucco?

Ken Black

Basic tips for applying stucco include choosing the best stucco for the job, understanding how much to apply and when, and making sure that you have a clean, even surface before beginning. With these tips in mind, applying stucco is something that most homeowners can do themselves. Homeowners can acquire the skill relatively quickly, and it is typically not very difficult to make the job look professional the very first time.

Stucco is applied with a trowel.
Stucco is applied with a trowel.

Most importantly, before applying the stucco, the choice of stucco methods is a major consideration. Two major variations exist, hand spreading and spraying. Although either application is good for applying stucco in a variety of situations, most apply outdoor stucco using a hand spreading method. Most spray stucco is used indoors, but there is no hard rule. Spraying makes the job go faster, but hand application allows for more control and a more even coating.

Traditional stucco is porous and should be avoided in wet climates, but paint can help the material last longer in rainy weather.
Traditional stucco is porous and should be avoided in wet climates, but paint can help the material last longer in rainy weather.

After choosing the method for applying stucco, the next step is to make sure the work area is clean. This will not only include removing any dirt or debris from the surface, but also peeling any paint and wallpaper off of the area. If this is not done beforehand, the stucco could begin to chip and fall off prematurely.

For manual application, only put a little on the trowel at a time. This allows the user to spread it evenly without having to worry about moving too much of the material around. Also, keep an even amount of pressure on the stucco in order to make sure the coverage is uniform.

The first step for applying stucco spray, is to make sure it is mixed thoroughly. The stucco comes in a powdered form and must be mixed with water until the point that all lumps have been taken out. As the spraying takes place, the sprayer must continually move back and forth across the area to make the coating as even as possible.

Depending on the material to which the stucco is being applied, some preparatory work will also be required. If applying stucco to wood, workers must put a felt covering over the wood so that the stucco stays attached. If applying it to bricks or concrete, the worker must first brush a concrete bonding agent onto the surface.

Remember to apply a scratch coat of stucco before applying the final layer. Wait an hour and then rake through the coating to a depth of an eighth of an inch (3.175 mm). Wait at least 48 hours before applying the final coating, making sure to mist the scratch coating periodically.

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