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How To Stucco

How To Stucco

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Many people believe that stucco belongs exclusively outside the comfortable walls of a home. This is a horrible myth, and a deprivation of good quality styling for homeowners everywhere. After seeing a few project ideas on how to stucco an interior wall, I decided to give it a whirl. Let me tell you, my living room has never looked so good. It gave an entirely new feel to the house, a fresh look to a room desperately crying out for a change.

Whether you are looking to redo the exterior of your house, or you have a plain wall or room inside your home that you are dying to give new life to, stucco offers a unique and beautiful look to any surrounding. It is easy to learn how to stucco, and the project requires little time and money (though you will have to allow several days for the drying process). Below, you will find some of the necessary materials, texturing ideas and steps and tips on how to stucco. Learn the technique, incorporate these suggestions within your own ideas, and sit back to enjoy your job well done. Don't let this travesty of where and how to stucco continue unchecked.

Let's start with what stucco is, what you will need, and the basic steps of how to stucco. Stucco is a plaster compound made of cement, fine-grained sand, hydrated lime (in some cases), and water. How much water you use will depend on the climate, present weather conditions, and material of wall or substrate you are applying the stucco to.

Basic process:

Start with a good foundation material. Stucco will adhere well to a solid clean cement or masonry wall. (If you are dealing with an older wall, make sure the entire surface is clear of any paint, dirt or other material that may prevent the stucco from bonding to the wall). If you don't have this, you should use wooden or metal slats (laths), wire mesh, or some other form of substructure to ensure that the stucco can get a firm grip on the surface material. Poor adhesion will cause loads of unnecessary problems. This additional layer should be set apart from the base wall to allow air and prevent rotting and mildew formation from the moist stucco solution.

It is a good idea to dampen the surface area immediately before you begin to stucco. This will ensure that the wall does not extract all the liquid from the stucco the moment it is applied. Apply a base coat (approximately 3/8" thick) of stucco. This layer is known as the scratch layer because of the next step.

Let the scratch layer dry for a few hours. While still damp, run diagonally criss-cross ridges over the entire surface. What you are doing is creating a track pad for the final stucco layer.

Most people let this dry completely, and add another scratch layer on top of it. Allow one to two days for each layer to dry.

Finally, smooth a third layer of stucco (approximately 1/8" thick) along the wall allowing the stucco to settle into the tracks.

If you wish to add detail or design, now's the time to do it. You can create many different effects using simple tools, basic shapes, and household items. Be creative, but be gentle as the stucco is pliable, and a mistake in the pattern is difficult to fix. (See tips below for easy application and pattern ideas.) Stucco can also be painted any shade to match the room's existing color or give a new look to your indoor/outdoor setting. You have time to think this decision over, though, as stucco can be painted wet or dry. You can apply your layers of stucco, and during the interim drying period, choose the shade you would like to paint it.

You can use small household items to create beautiful professional-looking effects. Finishes include traditional smooth, raked (for this use a bristle brush, and apply short gentle strokes to create the effect), wavy (drag your trowel lightly over the stucco in random locations), imprints (paw or foot prints, shapes like half-moon, squares etc., leaves), swirl (this needs to be done very carefully with either your trowel or a brush. Gently rotate your wrist in a counter clockwise motion in various spots all over the wall-creates a fantastic result). For a grainy texture, add more sand to the substrate, and mix it in very well. A broom can also create very nice finishing touches to stucco walls.

Here are some tips to make your project a little easier.

To test your wall for proper bondage, sprinkle a small amount of water in any area. If the water absorbs quickly, this is a good substance for stucco application.

Incorrect application can result in many problems such as bubbling, rotting and cracking. Make sure to follow the rules!

Is your stucco hardening immediately upon application? Your mixture is probably not wet enough. Add a little water to the compound, and apply to a sample path of wall. Do this until desired consistency is obtained.

Use a spray bottle (the gentle mist pressure only) to keep stucco moist and prevent cracking or drying out too quickly.

Dampen the untouched surface material occasionally to ensure it does not draw out the liquid from the stucco causing flaking and drying.

A mistake in pattern can be fatal to your beautifully applied stucco wall. I recommend drawing out your design ideas on graph paper before actually attempting to create it in the moist stucco.

Make sure the laths are all uniformly installed and sturdily attached. Many forms of problems including different types of cracking and stucco shifting can occur from improper lath application.

I would suggest hiding any valuables, children, and the family cat before you start this project, because once you learn how to stucco you will want to lather this stuff on everything. Use restraint, internal stucco designing must be done in moderation. Too much will give your cozy home a rigid, cave-like appearance. Exterior stucco application can handle a much larger quantity. Large sections of wall or entire frontal housing can be decorated with this beautiful design. When applied correctly, stucco offers a rust, rot, and fire resistant wall covering that also looks great! So get your trowel and float ready for some resurfacing fun!

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