Why Use Stucco For My Home?
Stucco has been used in architectural structures since the Greek and Roman era and during the Renaissance. It spread throughout Europe and gradually became popular in America. Stucco is a finishing plaster composed of sand, lime, water and other ingredients. It is a strong, attractive and damage resistant covering for walls and ceilings. It is an excellent building material for hot areas as it helps to regulate the temperature. It is non-combustible and its surface burning properties include no flame spread and no smoke development.
Currently, there are two distinct types of Stuccoes –
Traditional/Hard Coat Stucco – This is basically cement mixed Stucco. The traditional stucco is durable and able to withstand harsh environments. It is porous and can breathe, so, dries quickly and resists water damage.
Conventionally, lime was used with sand and water. As lime is slightly soluble, the mixture has a self-healing tendency. At present, stuccoes are usually made up of Portland Cement, sand and water resulting in a hard and brittle variety.
To install hard coat stucco, first the substrate is installed followed by a metal lath and then a coat of stucco is applied with a trowel. It is allowed to set and then another coating is applied. Normally, the process involves a scratch coat, a brown coat and a finish coat (may be colored).
Stucco can also be applied on a paper and wire. The coats should be thicker. The first coat (scratch coat) covers the wire. It needs to be scratched as soon as it sets. The second coat (brown coat) gets bonded to this coat and as usual the finish coat is the outermost layer.
Synthetic Stucco – Since 1950s, a number of houses were built using a variety of synthetic materials resembling stucco. Fibers and synthetic acrylics were added to the cement stucco mixture to add strength and flexibility. In general though, the synthetic stuccoes are less heavy and hence, more susceptible to a hard blow. They are a one-coat stucco system unlike the three-coat traditional ones.
The most common one is EIFS or Exterior Insulation & Finish Systems. They are glued or mechanically attached to the substrate and usually composed of three layers. The innermost layer, mostly made up of polystyrene like material, is a foam insulation board. The second layer is a base coating attached to a fiberglass mesh and the final layer is a finish colored coat. It became popular because of its easy installation, low cost and better insulation properties. The only disadvantage is moisture absorption which causes water damage to the building.
A variety of stucco colors/paints are available. Colorants are inorganic pigments which can adapt with the high pH value of cement. They can be either natural like, Ochers and natural earths or artificial, such as man made Iron Oxides. Natural colorants remain unaffected to UV rays and are more pleasant to our eyes. But, the range of shades and the tinting strength is less when compared to manufactured colors. Man made colors, on the other hand, offer a wider range of shades such as dark blues and greens as well as various earthy tones like, yellow, brown and reds. They also possess excellent UV stability due to the presence of inorganic pigments.
Home Stucco Construction Project Timing - Doing it Right Vs Right Now
Plaster and stucco are different not as much in their ingredients, but in how they are applied. Typically, plaster is used on inside walls and stucco is used on the outside of buildings. The original components of plaster included lime or clay with sand and straw. Animal and plant fibers were often added to add strength to the plaster, especially when it was being used as stucco (exterior wall finish).
Stucco as we know it today started being produced in 1824 when a man named Joseph Aspdin created what is now called Portland cement by cooking and processing clay and lime together in the kitchen that he used as his laboratory. Portland cement added much to the durability of stucco, and was able to withstand the elements on exterior walls.
Though stucco homes didn't become popular until twentieth century America, mentions of plaster and stucco can be found dated way back to ancient Greece. In fact, the word "plaster" is an ancient Greek term meaning "to daub on". Throughout the years, stucco has been an important part of safe and stylish exterior architecture.
There are so many benefits to using stucco for the exterior of your home or business it's no wonder that it has been around for so long! Stucco is very durable and lasts forever. It is both fire and water-resistant. Since it does not trap water, it will not rot or grow fungus, which improves the quality of the interior of your building as well. It retains color for years on end. Essentially, what these all add up to is that stucco saves you money. You don't have to maintain it by getting rid of rot or continually painting it throughout the years to keep its bright color. It is a highly efficient and beautiful exterior wall finish for any building.
If you decide to hire stucco contractors for your stucco application project, make sure you hire people with experience. Also make sure that they are people who are willing to listen to your specific needs and ideas. Stucco can turn the exterior of your home or business into a stylish, efficient and beautiful building!