Help! Stucco is killing me..

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by sidepasser, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    Hope someone here has some advice and is a stucco person or at least knows something about it.

    I am stuccoing the barn/house and I really am about dead..this the hardest thing I think I have done so far. The walls are 10 feet tall and 80 feet long..concrete block and I am using Type S mortar for the scratch coat..

    Why oh why can't I get this stuff 3/8 of an inch thick consistently???? I am using a screed board on the top and the bottom. Is there an easy way to apply this stuff? Or am I just dreaming? I use a mortar mixer (did buy one at HD and must admit it is nice!), but I am killing myself trying to get this scratch coat even. I did learn to wet the mortar after application to float it smooth and not to overwork the mix...but I still have dips..and humps...and jeez, I would give someone a horse right now, today! if they could do this scratch coat.

    I am using premix stucco (with colorant added) as the final coat - comes in a 5 gallon bucket from Master Dry and has a elastomer in it..should be a piece of cake compared to mixing the mortar and applying it.

    Any tips, suggestions?? I did work on the shady side of the barn/house yesterday and today and at the rate I am going I will be doing this in January!! I have laid brick and block and that was easy compared to this!

    Thanks
    Sidepasser
     
  2. dlangland

    dlangland dlangland

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    It does take patience, and if you are like me, the harder you try, the worse it goes, and chances are you are just thinking like a perfectionist. Some irregularity is to be expected if one is not a professional and think of how much money you are saving. If anyone questions your texture, just tell them that is the look you were going after. Sounds like what you are doing is on the right track. Too bad you don't have someone to help or work along side you...makes the time go faster if you just have someone to visit with, but then you would have too different-type textures. Been there done that. Just be patient with yourself. Deb
     

  3. Farmer Willy

    Farmer Willy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I used expanded metal lath on the wall----drive the scratch coat into the lath, it worked well to keep my coat even, made nice corners. Make sure to use coated fasteners on the lath.
     
  4. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    How's the project going Sidepasser? I'm curoius to see how things are going as we are thinking about doing the same thing. Waffling between stucco and siding.
     
  5. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    The stucco project is ongoing - 650 square feet so far and only maybe 1600 more to go. It's cheap to do stucco, the main thing is to have scaffolding for the high walls and good floats and trowels. I also recommend a cheap concrete mixer (or whatever you can afford, I say cheap cause the one I have cost $300 and that is on the cheaper end of things) as you will wear your arms out mixing in a wheelbarrow if you have a lot of stucco to do.

    I am stuccoing over concrete block, so didn't need to put up lathe and wire, but I had to clean the concrete block, remove any uneven mortar edges where blocks join, and fill in any obvious holes. Then it was a matter of buying the Type S mortar (which is what is used around here) and sand, and going to work. I had to keep the block wet/damp so the mortar would adhere well, and then practice on application technique so the mortar would be level. Finally got the hang of it on day four...then smooth out the mortar with a float and allow to dry a little, then take a stiff bristle brush and brush "lines" in the mortar for the top coat. I am using a premixed stucco with an elastomer in it and color for the top coat. That costs around $35.00 per five gallon bucket, but since I don't have to put it on too thick, it will cost me around $500 to do the whole house. You can buy the dry stucco and add the pigment, but on the top coat I would rather just buy it premixed and not worry about the color all coming out the same, I just ordered the number of buckets needed plus two extra, so they will all be made out of the same lot number. You can order a quart to try the color for a few dollars and that is what I think is best, sometimes what you see on a color chart is not what it will end up looking like on your house.

    On the bottom 3 feet, I am buying tennessee field stone (stack) and will lay that up to the stucco.

    Stucco is not that hard to do, just takes getting used to and my arms and shoulders hurt pretty bad the first two days, but then I guess all the muscles got broken in and now it isn't bad.

    I don't like vinyl siding and it is quite expensive here, I figured this whole job, not counting my labor, will cost approximately 4,000 and that includes the tools and the rock. The rock is expensive, about 2400 for 10 tons. I am buying four tons at a time so can break the expense up some. I got an estimate for someone to do this for me and the stucco portion was 1.75 per square foot and the rock was so expensive the guy said I could hire him to show me how to do it, it was around $20/square foot. The exterior of my barn/house is 3200 square feet minus the windows and the ten foot aisleway opening at one end. I may rock around the front door so am excluding that portion as well.

    It's not something I would want to do everyday..but for the cost savings, I'll stick with it. And colored stucco can be made any color you desire!!

    I like a more natural material and rock was about as natural as I could find and the stucco won't require heavy maintenance since the color is in the mix. Painting stucco requires repainting..a big job in some cases, so for a few dollars more, I won't have to repaint. I may have to freshen up the stucco in a few years, but it's better than having to paint. I've been told by masons that light colored stucco stands up better than dark colors due to fading by the sunlight. i am going with a moss green - sort of a grey green medium color. Hope it works out.

    Stucco can withstand high humidity, there are a lot of stucco houses here in Georgia that look wonderful and are many years old. Florida too has many stucco homes, so after talking to a few people who have these houses, they recommended I try it. I don't think I have heard anything good about the EIF stucco, seems that there have been a lot of lawsuits over that due to improper installation and that is not something that I felt comfortable even trying to do.

    Good luck with whatever you decide,
    Sidepasser
     
  6. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    sidepasser...

    Just think, by the time you get through with this awesome project, you'll have the technique down pat... And then, you can have this as a sideline :eek: and start charging the 1.75$/foot... You know, something to do when you're 'not busy'... :)

    My hat's off to you for undertaking this...a whole boatload of work... I would have tried to find some rock, but of course there's always a tradeoff with buying or collecting rock.... the big point which you hit on was the amount of money you were going to save....
     
  7. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    What's ironic is the ridge the house sits on and all down the back slope is nothing but rock...I had to drill down 485 feet for my artesian well, all except the first three feet were through solid rock...but the amount of time it would take to collect that much rock is just too much time. I have built some great rock walls in my raised bed garden just from picking rock up out of the garden over the past ten years.

    If I get through this project I may undertake electrical things..ha!

    Oh I forgot to say earlier, you must apply the flat metal wire around the windows and doors in order to hold the stucco to the wood framing. Get a masonry book and follow the steps and also use the net, there are some good sites on here about how to apply stucco. Just use the one the is similiar to your situation (wood, block, etc.).

    Sidepasser
     
  8. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    Sidepasser , where do you get the Master Dry? I've done a web search for it and cant find it. Is it something you get locally, or did you order it?
    Thanks
     
  9. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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  10. greg273

    greg273 Well-Known Member

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    Even the 'professionals' aren't perfect. Thats something thing I've learned working in the construction business for 10 years and building my own house for the last 2 years. Perfection in this world is hard to come by.
    Have you considered hiring some help? The cost of hiring someone to do a hard job is almost always worthwhile. Sure, it might not be done exactly as you would like it, but it will get done much sooner, freeing you up for other tasks you might like to accomplish. And it won't age you 5 years in the process!! I know, I started to dig my own root cellar in the hard yellow clay of southern Illinois. About 3 days of that nonsense was enough to make me call in the heavy machinery, my friend had a 'bobcat', he came in and did the work in an afternoon. I paid him $200, the hole was dug, and my back felt fine.
    * * * * * * *
    Another time last year, me and my dad mixed and poured a 10x10 concrete pad for a shed I was building. Took us 2 evenings of hard work, and by the time we figured materials and NOT counting labor, we MIGHT have saved $30 by doing it the hard way. A ready-mix truck could have came in an poured the whole thing in ten minutes.

    Dont spend $50 of your energy to save $5 of paper money! Your energy is much more valuble!
     
  11. Hovey Hollow

    Hovey Hollow formerly hovey1716

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    I don't want my walls to look perfect. I don't like the look of sprayed on perfectly even stucco. What I like is what you see in picture books of old Meditteranean style. It is obviously old, hand done, rustic looking. That is the style I would like to go for, so hand done, with all the imperfections is the look I'm after. Of course, there is such thing as too many imperfections or a sloppy looking job. The style I'm going for on my house is Tuscan Farmhouse.
    The cost of having stucco, or siding professionally done means the difference in having it done at all. I just had someone quote us $15,000 to put siding on our house. And, I'm not even that crazy about the look of siding. If we do stucco and do it ourselves we can do it probably for less than $2,000. Plus the satisfaction of a job well done and "I did that!" is PRICELESS! It's another skill you have perfected, another notch in your belt. Another step in becoming self-sufficent (and in style at that!)
    Sidepasser has given me the inspiration to decide to go with the stucco.
     
  12. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    Well the cool thing about the Master Wall is that the color will be consistent and they can match any color, as long as you give them the color code.

    Here's something that will help you pick your color and it is freeware, the coolest little program I have ever had the pleasure to use.

    http://www.cbnsystem.com/services/home.asp

    go to downloads and down load the cbn color selector. You can pick and choose hundreds of colors and apply them to houses or take a picture of your house and the colorize it. It has paint, stucco, concrete, and stain and if you update the color charts you will have hundreds of colors to choose from. It's fun and gives you an idea of what color and style your house will look like. Best of all it is free!

    I like the old style stucco too, but it will sure make you tired putting it on, best to do a section of your house at a time and not get depressed if it takes you longer than you think!

    Sidepasser - stucco queen