stucco recommendations please ....


Old 02-27-12, 07:03 PM
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stucco recommendations please ....

I want to stucco a complete house. I have done a lot of reading up on suggested construction.

I have stuccoed over a block wall before with great results.

I am planning on a standard stick construction, installing foam board over the sheathing (till debating on this ... had not planned on it but reading it seems most contractors do this as a thermo barrier and as a moisture protector for the sheathing .... although some contractors are just installing felt paper over the sheathing).

So first, any suggestions on using the foam board ???

Second, most contractors use some type of mesh over the foam (mechanically fastened to the underlying sheath material). A few are using a fiberglass cloth over the foam. Any suggestions?

Finally, for trim items. I realize you can get pre-coated trim ... but it is expensive. If I cut trim out of foam then how do I get the stucco to stick to it? I can't imagine trying to get wire mesh to form over it ( or maybe that is what I need to do). I was thinking about the fiberglass cloth but I remember trying to get it to stick on the underside of a boat with no luck. I can just picture trying to get it to stick on the underside of trim details and watching it fall off.

Again, any suggestions?

Just FYI ... I am trying to build a long lasting. minimal maintenance, custom house on a very very tight budget. My wife is paralyzed from the shoulders down and requires a very custom house. We have already purchased the land. We talked with several builders but it seems we just would not qualify for enough of a loan to build with them. After a lot of research, I think by being my own general contractor (I have already per-qualified with a bank who will let me do this ... that was a challenge) and doing a lot of work myself (I will have 8 months to build) that I can just squeeze a house into our budget.

Thanks ..... Mike
Old 02-28-12, 11:37 AM
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What part of the country are you in? It would take a treatise to answer all of your questions.
There are three systems commonly called "stucco"
1. Real stucco: three coat work over usually woven wire lath. The lath looks like chicken wire but is 17 ga 0r 16 ga 1 1/2" mesh. The thickness of the stucco from the face of the lath is about 7/8"
The finish coat is colored and textured as you like.
2. Thin coat stucco. This is one or two coat work. It is applied over usually 20 ga 1" mesh chicken wire. It probably has fibreglass reinforcement in the mix. If it is one coat it is colored throughout if tow coats only the finish coat is colored and textured as you like.
3. Exterior Insulating Finish Systems (EIFS) This is applied over foam and uses high priced, high powered polymer modified or polymer based Portland cement basecoat with a colored finish coat of acrylic material. It is reinforced with fibreglass mesh embeded into the base coat. In this system the trim shapes can be installed with the foam and meshed at the same time as the field. This is the least physically strenuous of the three but it also the most complicated technically.

As far as trim shapes in the other two systems they can be applied after the brown coat (brown coat is the coat before the finish coat) Around here there is no mesh used over the trim shapes but some special basecoat similar to the base coat of the EIFS systems or the basecoat of the one coat systems is applied directly over the shapes. Shapes are strictly optional.

If I were building for a long lasting minimal maintenance house I would use three coat work. It is probably cheaper than the EIFS and is much more durable than EIFS, especially if you live in hail country. I have a couple of times put conventional 3 coat work over foam but if you are really set on the foam then compromise and go with the thin coat system one or two coats is your choice. Don't be tempted to apply it too thin.

Hope this helps.
Old 02-28-12, 06:49 PM
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I live in VT ...

I just moved from SC to VT ... thus one of my problems. I can't find anyone up here to give me advice on stucco. In truth, it is just not a popular finish up here.

I had originally intended to got with a three coat ( or some say two coat ) system directly over the sheathing. The thing I am finding ( in my online research) is that there is a water ( rotting) problem with stucco.

The recommendation has been to add the foam over the sheathing. This is suppose to keep the sheathing warm and thus stopping moisture from condensing onto it.

Also the foam acts as a thermo barrier over the studs.

If I could get away from the foam, I would.

My logic, by the way, for the stucco was this ... we looked at vinyl siding ... cheap but looks bad in a few years ... also cracks up here in the cold. Brick brick $1 each, 7 per foot. Wood siding .... $3 - $4 sq ft .... lots of maintenance.

It seems I can do stucco for about $3 sq ft ( 3 coats, quikcrete) and it will have a minimal maintenance and look good for years to come.

Thanks .... Mike
Old 02-29-12, 05:16 AM
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I used to live/paint in fla where stucco is fairly popular. Whenever stucco was applied to a wood frame house they put up roofing felt, then the wire mesh followed by 2-3 coats of stucco. I never heard of any issues with the plywood/osb getting wet..... but it is a different climate. I would think that the additional insulation the foam provides would be a good thing.
Old 02-29-12, 07:12 AM
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I don't know stucco but I know cold climates and the foam is a good thing in them.

I'd keep looking for someone local who knows stucco - having no one in the area and no houses with this finish would be a red flag for me.

Have you thought about fiber-cement siding?
Old 02-29-12, 10:28 AM
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There are cold places in the country where stucco has been on walls for almost 100 years. The felt, if done properly is a moisture barrier from outside moisture. Building paper or felt breathes as does Portland cement plaster and allows internal moisture to escape. I have personally seen houses that have been stuccoed for 75 years with no insulation in the walls, cellulose insulation in the walls and fibreglass batt insulation in the walls all with no problems with rot due to either outside moisture or inside moisture. This is in the plains where it can get to double digit negative temperatures regularly in the winter and some triple digit summer temperatures when the air conditioner keep it bearable inside.

In these older houses there is one consideration, however, they are not as tightly built asmodern houses. But there is yet another consideration, stucco probably seals a house better than anything other exterior cladding.

Do a look for a website called "badstucco" I think it is still up if you look for it. There are good and bad examples of layering the felt or building paper and proper and improper flashings, wall kickouts and the like that all contribute to a good stucco job.

Being a plasterer, I would go for stucco no matter where I lived. I have never, but once owned a house that was not stuccoed by the time I sold it. I lived in a brick house and while I could have stuccoed it I could not bear to cover up that pretty brick for the sake of pretty stucco.

There have been some problems with EIFS in the past. I think those problems have been solved and preventive measures incorporated into the systems. EIFS is still very complicated to do properly.

I would stucco, I might or might not put a foam thermal break behind the stucco. As many fasteners as it takes to hold the stucco would still put a lot of sites for heat conduction through the foam.

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