Stucco Finish

Ready for Stucco

The picture above shows the front with my work completed and ready for stucco installation. It was at this point that we turned the project over to a stucco and wall professional. We used Superior Wall of Estherville, a contractor that specializes in stucco as well as interior dry wall installation and finish.

Installation of sheathing & removal of siding

The stucco installers have their office right next door to our structure so it was very conveneint for them to walk next door, set-up a scaffold, and go to work. The first project, which began the day before, was to instally a special gypsum product to the ground floor calledc DensGlass. This is a fiberglass coated product that is very dense and mold resistant and a perfect base for stucco at the sidewalk level. I asked for something other than the Styrofoam that would be used above because I had concerns about possible damage to the stucco with a softer sheathing. The material, as you can see, is bright yellow and was screwed to the wood sheathing I had installed.

Sheating installation and siding removal

The next project was to remove the remainder of the cedar siding on the second floor and prepare it for stucco. The workers arrived before we got to town so the first two pictures are provided by Ron Myhre, a fellow Ham radio operator and visitor to Brey's Radio. We want to thank Ron for recording these steps.

Applying builder's felt (AKA Tar Paper)

With the siding removed the workers installed builder's felt, also known as tar paper, to the second floor sheathing, which by the was was the orifinal on the building. As with the lower level, there wasn't any rot or deterioration to the sheathing.

Styrofoam Sheathing

The next step was the installation of 1" Styrofoam over the felt. This was attached with screws and large plastic washers. The workers were careful to fit all the joints tightly and also get a tight fit against the windows.

Damaged original stucco

This close-up of the north side of the front shows the damaged stucco that was hiding under the cedar siding. It is also interesting to note the metal brick siding that was under the sheathing. We are not sure if this was the original building siding or if this was used as a stucco backer. At any rate we left all the metal in place and covered the stucco with styrofoam. The remaining stucco on both columns was very solid so it did not make sense to remove it. If you look closely in this picture you can see the dimpled surface where the screws and large plastic washers pull the styrofoam tightly against the surface.

Styrofoam is completed

By the end of the day the workers had covered the second floor wall with styrofoam and would begin the stucco the next day.

Base coat is applied on the first floor

With all the sheathing in place the workers next began applying the base coat. This is a cement based product formulated to be applied as a very thin layer to the sheathing. The first floor had most of the detail work around all the windows and it took about 4-hours to cover it.

Patchwork Quilt

Before breaking for lunch the workers applied small amounts of the base coat over all the screw and washer dimples as well as any other joints or blemishes.

Second Floor is nearly completed

This type of stucco, which has a brand name of Dryvit, has a specific set of steps to complete the stucco. The first step, as shown above, is to trowel a thin layer of basecoat on the sheathing.

The mesh is applied

With the thin layer applied, the workers spread a thin mesh fabric over the wet base coat. This mesh is made by the same people that make the stucco materials and by bedding the mesh in the basecoat the final finish is very tough.

The mesh is bedded in the base coat

The mesh is then smoothed with a trowel, which brings the basecoat over it. This means that the mesh has base coat surrounding it to strengthen it and provide a somewhat smooth finish to apply the color to.

The sun required quick action

The workers told me that the warm afternoon sun made this process difficult as they were not able to cover a large area as they normally do. The two worked closely to make sure the basecoat and mesh were applied and ended up smoot h enough for the finish coat.

The basecoat is completed

Late in the afternoon the workers had completed the basecoat and cleaned up all the equipment and supplies. Their plan was to return the next week and complete the project.

Next Page The Trim and Color Portion of this project

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