Stucco is an inexpensive and low maintenance material used on the surface of buildings. It gives both an aesthetic and a durable finish. Exterior stucco finishes were traditionally made from a mixture of lime, sand and water. But today lime is mostly substituted for Portland cement. The traditional lime mixture is stronger than the Portland cement mixture.

Exterior stucco finishes are a preferred choice for many homes because they are very accommodating. Modern stucco finishes are mixed in with your color of choice. They will retain it when applied and thus match other features of the same color. It can be applied on wide ranging materials including wood, steel, concrete and brick walls. The material is resistant to fire and quite durable.

Common stucco finishes

There are many different types of stucco finishes for you to choose from. These include the following:

Sand or float finishes

This stucco finish has sand incorporated into it. Different gauges of sand are used to create a finish that can be heavy, fine or in between. This kind of finish is mostly used for commercial buildings. It is easy to apply and a single coat can be used. It is also easy to repair when the original color has been matched.

Lace finishes

These exterior stucco finishes are also known as Spanish or skip-trowel finishes. They are some of the most common finishes and are preferred by because they hide imperfections very well. Their application is in two coats done by hand and using the traditional stucco made of lime. They can achieve a coarse texture, a fine texture or a medium texture that is neither too fine nor too coarse.

Dash finishes

These stucco finishes are applied in three coats and can be fine, medium or heavy. The application can be by hand or using a small hopper gun. This exterior finish is easy to identify because on observation it looks like the material incorporated gravel. Indeed some people do this to achieve a more rough finish.

An exterior pebble dash finish is one that incorporates materials such as pebbles, crushed glass, gravel and even shells to the final coat. This kind of dash finish is common in Europe.

Cat face textured finishes

These are smooth finishes with inclusions or rough areas incorporated to achieve the desired look. The inclusions vary in frequency, the shapes, sizes and direction depending on the final result that is required. They are normally applied in two coats that are either sprayed or applied using a trowel and then finished off by hand.

Smooth stucco finishes

Smooth finishes incorporate colors well. They are popular among finishes because of this. It is a difficult finish to achieve and also has the added disadvantage of cracking easily and being difficult to repair.

Common Problems with stucco

Exterior stucco finishes are durable. Weather conditions, poor workmanship during installation and ground shifting affect stucco. One of the most commons problems that stucco homes experience is cracking. Cracks can be classified by their types. Some of the common cracks experienced with exterior stucco finishes include:

Spider cracks

The presence of these cracks indicates that the base coat did not cure properly. The weather on the day the stucco was applied may have affected it as well as improper mixing of the materials and adding too much water. These cracks are a bit hard to notice unless you are specifically looking out for them. Repairing them may simply involve filling the crack with a rubber butyl caulk and then priming it. However to make sure that there are no underlying problems, consult a professional.

Hairline cracks

These are very thin cracks no more than 1/16th of an inch thick and they many times can be found in new homes. These cracks result from various things. It could be heavy construction equipment vibrating or because of extreme weather conditions. Hairline cracks can also be fixed with latex or silicone caulking. It is always good to repair them as soon as they appear to avoid bigger problems.

Large stucco cracks

These cracks are usually larger than a 1/16th of an inch and may indicate structural problems. It is always advisable to seek the help of a professional when dealing with these cracks. They will be better suited to investigate the structural issues and address them.

The exterior stucco finishes are wide ranging. Each can be varied in its texture to suit individual tastes and preferences. The common problems associated with stucco finishes have simple solutions most times. It is always important to get a seasoned professional to do your stucco finishing for you. This way you’ll enjoy it for the longest time without major problems.