How to Make an Opening in Stucco Exteriors

What You'll Need
Safety glasses
Work gloves
Tape measure
Stud finder (optional)
Builders level
Utility knife
Electric drill with 1/4 -inch masonry or wood bit
Circular saw
Reciprocating saw
Pry bar
Wire cutters
Hacksaw (optional)

When your house has stucco exteriors, cutting an opening in your wall for a door or window in can be a challenge for the average do-it-yourselfer. But with reliable instructions, and a list of materials and tools that you'll need for the project, you should be able to manage this project without big problems.

Step 1 - Mark the Opening on Your Wall

Locate on the interior wall surface the area where you'll be cutting your opening, taking into consideration the projected size of your opening.

Step 2 – Remove Your Interior Drywall and Insulation

Use a stud finder to locate horizontal centers of the wall studs within the area you've identified as your opening. Make a vertical line on the drywall, marking the center of each stud, representing the top and bottom of the rectangular opening you'll be cutting. At the top line of the rectangle, measure up 1 1/2 inches and make marks at each end. Using your level, draw a horizontal line across the wall, at these marks. Do the same at the bottom edge. This extra space will allow you to install a top and bottom plate to secure your opening, without reducing the size of your opening. Identify the 2 studs that will the be the side edges of your opening. With a metal straightedge held vertically on one of these 2 studs, draw a vertical line. Cut through the drywall, along this line, using a utility knife. Do the same at the other outside edge and along the top and bottom lines you've just drawn. Then, remove the drywall within that perimeter.

Step 3 – Mark the Perimeter of Your Opening

Using a drill with a ¼-inch bit, drill a hole through the exterior wall at the 4 corners of the wall opening you've cut in the drywall. On the outside surface of your exterior wall, locate the holes you drilled. Draw a level line between the 2 bottom holes and the 2 top holes. These lines represent the bottom level of your opening. Then, draw 2 vertical lines to represent the 2 outside edges of your opening.

Step 4 – Cutting through Your Wall

Before cutting through the wall stucco, put on your safety glasses, work gloves, and respirator. Using a circular saw with a masonry blade attached, adjust the cutting depth to match only the thickness of the wall stucco. Cut the stucco around the perimeter marks you made, and begin removing the stucco within this perimeter. If necessary, you can break up the stucco with the use of a hammer. If you need to pry away pieces, use a pry bar. Use wire cutters to cut through the mesh that is now exposed.

Step 5 – Removing the Wall Studs

Using your level, draw horizontal lines across the surface of the studs at the top and bottom of your opening. Cut through the studs at these lines. Now, you're ready to frame your window or door opening.