Applying Stucco in Exterior Homes & Houses
Information on applying stucco in exterior homes & houses, how to apply stucco and care and repair it.
¶ Stucco. - All expedient for rendering either rough stone or brick walls pleasant to the eye is found in stuccoing; that is, external plastering. An argument against stucco is, that it is an architectural fiction; but this consideration, so important in the eyes of the architect, is outweighed by the practical advantages gained by its use. Nor are these alone embraced in the facility with which the asperities of a stone or brick surface are concealed, or the opportunity afforded to portray a resemblance to fine range-work. A coat or finish of stucco protects the wall and enhances the warmth of the building, and its color can be modified at any stage, at a very slight cost, to suit the taste of the proprietor; and it becomes, therefore, to all who wish to procure the greatest amount of beauty and comfort at a minimum expenditure, a material of no small value.
¶ We are aware that there exists a great prejudice in this country, in the minds of both architects and others, against the use of stucco for house exteriors, but that it is strictly just, seems scarcely supported by facts; no doubt but the art, practiced by bad quality builders, has suffered much depreciation in consequence, in the eyes of the public; but when we remember that a great proportion of the exterior of the finest modern buildings in Europe are built of brick and stucco we ought to be incited to pay attention to the true secret of success. It is, after all, very simple, as we shall show in how to apply stucco for the do it yourself enthusiast.
¶ Lime of the best quality, fresh from the kiln, dry-slaked (that is, not slaked to a paste) and screened by a fine sieve or inclined screen, is the first essential ingredient. After thoroughly washing the sharpest sand that can be procured, to remove all particles of loam or clay, mix it with the lime in powder, in the proportion of two parts sand to one of lime; then add water, and temper it thoroughly, and the stucco is ready for laying on. Care must be taken to remove with a stiff brush or broom all particles of loose dirt, mortar, etc., that might otherwise interfere with the adhesion of the stucco. Apply the mortar in two coats, the latter before the former is thoroughly dry; and the permanency of the color will be greatly enhanced if the wash by which it is communicated is put on immediately, so as to set with the stucco, the surface of the latter being floated up to a true surface.
¶ A very durable and cheap species of exterior plastering, extensively used in eastern Pennsylvania, is that known as "rough-cast", a term sometimes carelessly applied to the stucco above described, but differing from it in finish. The second coat is laid on as evenly as possible without floatiag, and a workman follows the plasterer, with his trowel in one hand, splashing on the rough-cast on the fresh surface of the mortar, and brush in the other, by which the work is completed. The ingredients of rough-cast are pure, fresh-slaked lime and well-washed, sharp sand; these are mixed in a large tub of water until the whole is in a semi-fluid state. A little coloring matter, yellow ochre, or some pigment of similar cast, to vary the color from the glaring whiteness of lime, may be incorporated in the mixture.
¶ We have seen houses in Pennsylvania done in this manner that have stood from eighty to a hundred years, the external plastering bearing no evidence of yielding or displacement, but to all appearance as permanent and likely to withstand the effects of time as the stone wall to which it adhered.
¶ To these remarks on stuccoing, we would add, that every precaution should be taken to prevent the walls from becoming saturated with water at the top; this can be provided against by giving a considerable roof projection, and exercising due care in the construction of gutters.
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