How to Pebble Dash a Wall
If your home improvement project involves stucco in Southern Highlands, you will want to be sure you find the right contractor for the job. It is always important to hire good contractors, but it is especially important when they will be doing work such as stucco installation, which is not as common as other contracting duties. You need to work with a people who know how do to the job properly, so you can be sure it will get done right the first time.
When you get the bids, make sure to ask if the work will be guaranteed once it is completed. A quality stucco contractor will stand firmly behind their work, so don’t hesitate to ask this question. If the labor and material are not covered by some form of guarantee, you should quickly move on to the next bid. There are plenty of contractors out there who are willing to stand behind their work, so there is no reason to work with one who isn’t.
Stucco can be messy business. Make sure there is a plan in place to protect the rest of your property from the mess that can be made when stucco is put in. You don’t want to be left with a huge cleanup project after your contractor has left the job site, so ask specific questions as to how they will keep the rest of your property as clean as possible.
Hiring a stucco contractor doesn’t need to be a long and drawn out process, as long as you know what you are looking for from the start. Use the points above to guide your search, and only hire a contractor once you are fully satisfied that they are the perfect selection for the work that you need completed.
How to Patch Exterior Stucco Cracks
When fall inevitably comes each year, home owners who have been "thinking about" renovating their home with stucco suddenly realize they're running out of time, and give their contractor(s) a call. All of them. The resulting mayhem is an influx of home owners requesting a contractor do their home before winter so that they can enjoy their new beautiful home's look and increased energy efficiency. The contractors who make most of their money during the summer, begin to quicken the pace to accommodate this work before winter, often at the expense of quality. Each stucco construction project is not given it's due diligence, and critical portions of work are ignored such as contracts, weather barriers, proper surface leveling, warranties. Even not so "critical" but finishing aspects such as proper moulding selection is often ignored.
The average stucco construction renovation will take about 3 weeks, with a 2 week lead time. This can all be expedited with an experienced project manager, but most home owners opt to do the managing themselves, sometimes naively. With 5 full weeks required from the time you SCHEDULE the contractor, you really need to start looking for prices about 7 weeks in advance. Generally, the stucco construction season (for Toronto) will end towards the end of October. This means that if you're not looking at the beginning of September, you need to exercise a degree of caution about getting your project done before temperatures drop below acceptable levels. EIFS manufacturer guidelines state:
Do not proceed with application of base coat and/or finish coat at ambient air temperatures below 5C (41F)
Applying the material in these temperatures may cause it not to cure properly, resulting in improper adherence to the substrate, and subsequent delamination - in English, your walls could fall off. The weather can't be blamed for all problems though, and you do need to pay attention to make sure your contractor is doing all the layers properly. No weather barrier means that water can get onto your substrate. Adhesive not being done in vertical channels means that water can become trapped against the substrate. Not meshing styrofoam fully can mean cracks developing, and water infiltrating your walls. Not mixing the base coat in the proper ratios or applying it too thin can result in a weak and easily damaged wall surface. Not spending enough time "floating" (troweling) the finish coat can result in discrepancies in the texture, which really just looks awful. Having a third party project manager or home inspector come once or twice a week to inspect the quality of work for a few hundred dollars is very inexpensive compared to having to rip the stucco off your walls and redo it in 5 years.
Aside from application problems, you want to ensure you give yourself enough time to really think about what you want for this project. Too many home owners take the first, cheapest guy they find and go ahead without a contract, resulting in them not knowing exactly what is "included", and a lot of "extras". Doing your due diligence includes researching items you need included with your project, such as flashing, replacing old substrate, whether a weather barrier is required or not, in what order to proceed with renovations... the list goes on. In short, don't go into a project without being fairly confident you know you have the details worked out, and use a contract to clarify those details.
Even moldings are sometimes not given their due consideration. Proper molding selection will help manage water runoff, further protecting your walls. They can direct water away from window openings - which tend to be the most susceptible to water damage, and kick water off the walls - preventing the black or white water streaks you often see below window sills. Using a wall band at the base of a high traffic wall can protect your wall from being hit by snow shovels, moving furniture and even cars. The same protective quality can be said of quoins or pilasters on the corners of your wall.
When renovating your home, it's important to focus on more than just the initial cost of stucco construction. You need to do your research to ensure you don't get "ripped off", and you need think about future maintenance. If you can't realistically put in the time to make sure you have everything included, get multiple estimates, have a contract made, and think about how to reduce future maintenance costs, you are better off waiting until spring to have your project completed. You will lose 1 winter of lowered heating costs, but prevent thousands of dollars in possible damage.
How to Apply Exterior Stucco
The stucco method of repair work is an absolute must for people in the maintenance field. Holes in the wall just seem to happen. Cracks in plaster ceilings can be a nightmare to repair. Any one who has owned an apartment building know the value of someone with the ability make these repairs.
When you do have a hole in a wall or ceiling, first thing is to back the hole with something so the stucco doesn't fall through. Holes up to the size of what a doorknob might make, can be repaired in this way. After filling the hole with backing, use Sheetrock compound or plaster to fill the hole even or a little above the surface of the wall. A 6 inch putty knife is great to start with.
Next apply Sheetrock tape over the hole and past the edge at least several inches. Use the putty knife to push the tape into the wet mud. Apply a second coat of compound or plaster over the tape. Now we wait. A household fan can be used to help speed the drying time.
Your repair is dry when it turns completely white, do not try to sand or make it any smoother while it's drying. This will only make a mess you'll have to sand out later. You'll have plenty of time to make it right on the next coat.
Apply another coat of your product over the first. This time use a ten inch putty knife and expand the layer you put on past the edge of the previous coat. First pull the knife across the repair centered. Next pass, you'll stay half on and half off your patch putting slightly more pressure on the half off, this will smooth the edge. Then repeat the half on half off method on the other half, making sure to always put more pressure on the half that's off.
If you have a badly cracked ceiling, this type of repair can be used to skim coat a small area or an entire ceiling. Repairs to cracks can be made in the same way as we fixed the hole. A vinyl adhesive caulking, can take the place of our newspaper. This will help to keep the cracks from reappearing. Tape is also not necessary with this method.
If you have loose plaster. Ceiling washers as their called are available at most hardware stores as well as building supply houses. These are a large beveled fender washer with a hole in the center. Using a Sheetrock screw they can pull loose plaster back to their lathes. These small beauties can turn a rip out job into a repair job, saving thousands of dollars.
After caulking your cracks, run the six inch knife across them with compound, or plaster. Apply thin coats and make sure to let them dry thoroughly between coats. Keep using a larger knife with each coat. The feathering technique explained before runs true here. Have fun with it. Remember one very important thing, when you stucco the next coat can fix anything.