Stucco Application: A Guide

When it comes to stucco application, as with any do-it-yourself project, the most important part of your success is in the planning. By following this simple step-by-step guide, you can ensure a job well done.

Tools and Materials

  • Mortar
  • Bonding agent
  • Finishing Trowel
  • Plasterer’s rake
  • Garden hose
  • Roofing felt
  • Metal netting
  • Galvanized roofing nails

Please note: The last 3 items are only required for wood walls.

Step 1: Preparation

For stucco application on a block wall, brick or concrete, you simply apply a bonding agent, or dash-bond coat for adhesion. For wood walls, a bit more preparation is needed. First, attach roofing felt. Next, cover with 17-gauge metal netting, minimizing the number of seams, and using galvanized roofing nails.

Step 2: Apply Scratch Coat

With a finishing trowel, apply a layer of mortar between ¼- and ½-inches thick. While you apply, push the mortar into the metal netting, so some netting is visible, to keep the coating attached. Allow your scratch coat to dry slightly and then scratch across the surface in long horizontal lines to the depth of about 1/8 inch. For this, use a plasterer’s rake or a tool made of wood and galvanized nails. It is essential to finish a wall once you start it, to avoid lines from starting and stopping in your stucco application.

Step 3: Keep your Surface Wet

Mortar will have maximum strength if it slowly cures while damp. Let your scratch coat dry for 36 to 48 hours, but wet it periodically with your garden hose. The number of times you will need to wet the surface depends upon the weather.

Step 4: Apply your Finishing Coat

It is at this stage that you can add color to your stucco by adding powdered pigment and water. The pigment and water need to be thoroughly mixed, before adding to your stucco. For the final coat, use a finishing trowel and apply another coat of mortar, that is approximately 1/8 to 1/4 inches thick. Once you have applied the finished coat of stucco, you can finish with your choice of texture.

Step 5: Textures

Combine stucco’s strength with beautiful textures, and you have a wonderful appearance with practical value. The right texture can provide light contrast or depth, and even mimic other construction materials. A smooth texture merely requires smoothing the final layers a few times, with a wet steel float. A stippled appearance is created by patting the drying wall with a stiff bristled broom. Make waves by drawing across a smoothed surface with a paintbrush; the stiffer the brush, the deeper the pattern. The possibilities are endless.

Step 6: Finishing Up

Once you have applied your finishing coat of stucco, and given it the desired texture, allowed the stucco to cure. Allow several days of damp curing and mist occasionally. If you plan to paint, wait at least 6 weeks for the stucco to completely harden, and use paint specifically formulated for concrete. Finish the project by caulking around windows and doors.

Stucco application is so simple, that it is a do-it-yourself dream. And, because it’s malleable, you can have any finished appearance you want. Now, all you have to do is get started with your stucco application.