Stucco Application: A Complete Guide

Stucco application is a simple technique by which to give more life and a sense of class to your house. Applying stucco is well within the skills of most homeowners, but to have the best results, one has to have the knowledge of some minor tricks. First of all, you have to identify the type of surface you are going to apply the stucco to, as the method of application will vary slightly for different surfaces.

Concrete Wall

When applying stucco to a concrete or brick wall, you must first apply a bonding agent to the wall and leave it to dry completely. Once that has dried, apply the stucco directly onto the wall, starting first with a scratch coat of around a 1/4- to 1/2-inch layer of stucco. Once the stucco is slightly hardened, scratch it to a depth of 1/8 inches and leave it to harden and dry completely for the next 36 hours, misting the surface occasionally to keep it moist.

Wooden Wall

When it comes to applying stucco to a wooden wall, the wall needs a different preparation from what a concrete wall requires. First you have to attach a 15-pound roofing felt over the wall and then cover it with a 17-gauge metal netting. Once everything is in place, you can apply a scratch coat made of a 1/4- to 1/2-inch layer of stucco, making sure to force the stucco into the netting. As with concrete walls, once the stucco is slightly hardened, you scratch it to a depth of 1/8 inches and leave it to harden for around 36 hours. Remember to mist the wall periodically to keep the stucco moist.

Mixture Preparation

One simple trick in getting a very good stucco finish is in the mixture preparation. If the stucco mixture is prepared by an experienced person, the consistency of the mixture will always be the same, thus saving time and quickening the process of stucco application. When the stucco is not always consistent, every time you have to apply a new batch, you need to work at the new consistency through trial and error until you get the desired finishing effect to continue from the already applied stucco from the previous batch.

Crack Formation

Cracks do not happen for no reason. When a crack forms, it is normally the result of bad workmanship. The most common problems are that the wrong amount of water was used during the mixture preparation, the wall was not kept damp enough during the 36 hours of hardening, or else the second coat was applied too quickly over the first coat without giving the former the appropriate time to dry and harden as required. Cracks are not easily fixed, and therefore, they must be avoided as much as possible.


Stucco applications normally last for years and even decades if they are applied correctly and inspected for any signs of damage or wearing off every year. First wash the wall well from any dirt to reveal the surface and check for any signs of damage. Particular attention much be taken when checking the areas where the stucco joins another surface, such as around a window. Make sure that areas around windows, doors or other surfaces are still well sealed and that no openings that might allow water to seep through and underneath the stucco are present.