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What is Stucco?

Stucco is a facing material that can be applied to any flat or curved surface. It is installed by hand or by machine creating a finish coat that can be varied by changing the shape and size of the aggregate, adding color, and the method or equipment used for plastering. Different finishes can be achieved by using a plastic trowel, a metal trowel, a sponge, and a sprayer.

There are many different forms of stucco. Stucco can be known as a “traditional” stucco system, a “three coat” stucco system, a “hard-coat” stucco system, or a “synthetic” stucco system. During the application and drying period, temperature should be above 40 *F and below 100 *F.

Traditional, three coat, and hard-coat are all referring to the same thing which is stucco on top of wire lath. Metal lath is used as a plaster base where stucco is applied to surfaces that will not provide adequate mechanical keying or bond for the plaster. Stucco on wire lath is a scratch coat of Portland cement, a brown coat of Portland cement, and then a stucco finish on top of the brown coat. The stucco material is comprised of Portland cement, aggregate (sand), water, lime, and admixtures/additives. Portland cement is used in concrete, mortar, and plaster. It serves as the binder or “glue”. Portland cement includes a combination of calcium, silicone, aluminum, iron, and gypsum. The name “Portland Cement” was derived from its similar characteristics of a type of building stone that was quarried on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England.

Synthetic stucco is the stucco material that comes ready-mixed in a bucket or the synthetic stucco system known as EIFS. Synthetic stucco is acrylic-based. It has polymers (plastics) that make the material more workable and elastic. The function of a plasticizer is to improve workability. This kind of material comes ready to use out of the bucket. It has a lasting uniform color, and a high resistance to soiling, mold, mildew, and algae.

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