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.
The Many Benefits Of Stucco
Choosing the right exterior housing material can be a difficult search for the homeowner building a house, or for the homeowner remodeling their home's exterior. With all of the options available, it can be difficult to choose the one that will be the best fit for the house, the best bargain for the money, and the most durable. There are several options today that are very popular including stucco, siding, and brick. Each option has pros and cons, so finding the one with the most benefits can be difficult. To help in the search, a few of the many benefits of stucco are listed below.
One of the reasons that so many people value stucco as an exterior building material is its versatility. It's great for both residential and commercial uses and can be used on many different architectural styles. It can be directly applied to a solid base, such as a concrete or masonry wall. This makes it ideal in more than one application. Two of the major benefits of stucco are its durability and breathability. When dried, stucco is extremely hard and very impact-resistant. It will stay in place for decades. It's also fire-resistant. Because of its breathability, stucco is an ideal exterior material in a variety of climates. Whether it's applied in a hot and dry area or a warm and wet climate, it will stay intact for years. If water gets behind the stucco, it won't become trapped there because the material is able to transmit moisture and water vapor. This drastically reduces the chance of mold or rot. These benefits make it a great exterior material.