Make Your Own Stucco

Find out how you can make your own stucco.

Stucco is a versatile material that can be used as a wall coating both inside and outside your home. Stucco has been used in one form or another for centuries. This material is highly popular in the southern states of the US and is most often found on Spanish style buildings and homes. Stucco is not considered waterproof; however moisture gathered by a stucco finish will evaporate without damaging the material. Stucco can be applied in a natural color or can be tinted or painted. This material can be applied in a limitless array of patterns and designs.

Stucco is something that you can make and apply on your own. A trip to your local home improvement store should net you all the supplies you need for your project. Simple stucco can be made from water, Portland cement, sand, and hydrated lime. You will need a wheelbarrow, a shovel, a metal hoe, and a hose with a water supply. A trowel is a great device for applying stucco to the wall and can help create a pattern as well. A measuring device is also needed. Something as simple as a child's sandbox bucket may work well. Measure the work area before arriving to buy your supplies. Ask an employee to help you decide how much material you will need for the square footage you will be covering.

Here are two simple recipes for stucco you can mix and use at home.

1/2 part hydrated lime

3 parts clean medium grade sand

1 part Portland cement

water as needed

or

1 part hydrated lime

3 parts fine masonry sand

2 parts Portland cement

water as needed

Be sure the surface is prepared for application before mixing your stucco. Interior walls should be clean and free of large cracks. If you are applying the stucco to an exterior surface, use pressurized water to thoroughly clean the area. If you need any soap to clean the surface, be sure that you rinse with clean water as a final step. Allow the surface to dry.



To mix the stucco, add the dry ingredients to the wheelbarrow. Use your measuring device to be sure all parts are equal. Mix dry ingredients until you feel they are well blended. Add water slowly to the stucco and mix as you go. Add water until the mixture takes on a thick paste-like consistency. Be careful not to over-water the mixture. Stucco that is properly mixed will hold its shape if molded with your hand. Only mix enough material for an hour's worth of work. If you mix too much, the stucco will start to dry out and you will have to throw it out and mix more. Don't forget to periodically mix the stucco as you are working to keep it from drying out before it can be applied.

You can add color to the stucco. An easy way to do this is with tinted cement. If you choose to add color to your mixture, make certain that you keep track of the exact amount of coloring you add to each batch of stucco. This will help ensure an even coloring throughout your project. Stucco can also be painted once the finish is set and dried.

If you are applying stucco to a rough surface such as concrete or stone, you can apply it directly to the surface using the trowel. One layer should be sufficient. If you are applying stucco to a smooth wall inside your home, you may wish to use masonry wire to support the stucco. The wire should be attached to the wall and applied in two coats. The base coat of stucco will adhere the wire to the wall and add support for the finishing layer. Do not apply a layer of stucco that is any thicker than one-quarter inch.

It is best to apply stucco on a cool over-cast day. Direct sunlight will make the stucco dry too quickly. This can cause your finish to crack. If you discover the stucco is drying too quickly, periodically mist the surface with water. Stucco should have at least three hours to dry for a stronger finish and longer life. Do not apply stucco if there is a chance that the temperatures will fall low enough to create frost. This will also damage your finish.

While you are applying the stucco you can form it into any pattern or design you wish. Do not start a complicated pattern if you think you cannot carry it through for your entire project. Finishes can be as simple as making marks with your trowel or dotting the surface with a stiff paintbrush if you wish.

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