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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.

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Stucco is also known as 'Portland cement plaster'. It is generally used in building repair, to repair leaky windows, decorate exteriors or for any other decorative purposes. Restoration companies use it for restoration projects as it is widely available in various textures and colors.

Classifications

Exterior stucco can be classified into two types, hard coat stucco and exterior insulation & finish system. Hard coat stucco is commonly used for homes. It is generally cheap, thus gaining popularity for commercial projects. It is a little expensive comparatively and is mostly used in commercial constructions.

Hard coat stucco is generally applied in one coat, two coats and three coats together with a cement base. Three coat system provides 2 rough coats with cement and one finish coat while the one coat process provides the facility of one rough coat and one finish coat. One coat process is much simpler, cheaper and time saving, hence gaining popularity these days. One coat system provides almost the same benefits of three coat system. However, three coat process is much tougher than the other and can withstand cracks in most critical weather conditions.

Typical Benefits

1. Attractive Look: Stucco can increase the looks of a house. Therefore, it is preferred to use in the interiors of the home. The different design and stonework can add tremendous beauty to your home. Its use is equally appreciated for exterior parts of your house. Various pigments are available to enhance its beauty further.

2. Reduced Cost and Maintenance: It is generally cheaper than other available building materials. It is also maintenance free in comparison to other construction materials and far better than paint. For painted surfaces, you consistently need maintenance which makes it more costly. Stucco applied surfaces don't need any fixes or maintenance for many years. Pigments can be used after it has completely dried.

3. Highly Durable: No building material can beat the durability of the stucco. If applied correctly, it can stand for many years without any maintenance. Seeking professional assistance for such project is a good choice.

4. Architectural styles: Stucco can be used in different architectural styles, especially Spanish. However, an expert artisan can produce great design work using stucco.

5. Good Weather Repellent: Stucco is best for extreme weather conditions and is extremely helpful in blocking rain water. This is fire proof and thus your home can withstand against heat damages.

It is mandatory to use stucco siding correctly in order to utilize its full benefits. You can consult professional services to help you out in this regard.

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