General Description of Stucco Systems
Stucco consists mainly of portland cement, sand and water and is similar to concrete. Prehistoric stucco was performed on dwellings 4,000 years ago such as the pyramids of Egypt and structures in Central and South America . Stucco loves water and will continue to harden for 40 years.
Stucco is environmentally safe and clean. Stucco allows for air infiltration, keeping your home fresh and comfortable. Stucco will outlast the life of your home. Stucco is a barrier to termites and woodpeckers. Stucco does not burn, thus giving you increased fire protection. Stucco can be easily repaired. Stucco provides a solid hard wall that offers security and protects against the weather. There are two types of stucco systems:
Three Coat Stucco System
Stucco starts with the lath (rhymes with bath). Lathing begins with a metal weep screed that is installed around the bottom of your home. Next, the exterior walls of your home are wrapped with a weather resistant black paper similar to roofing paper. The purpose of the black paper (or similar product) is to create a back-up weather resistant membrane just in case any water gets past the stucco. If any water does get past the stucco, the water will run down the face of the black paper and exit through the metal weep screed at the bottom of your home. Next, a metal woven wire (looks like chicken wire) is installed over the black paper. The purpose of the woven wire is to support the newly applied wet stucco until it can dry.
After the lath has been completed the stucco is applied in three layers referred to as scratch, brown and texture coats. Color can be added to the texture coat. One advantage of stucco is that there is a never ending variety of textures ranging from a smooth, “egg shell” type texture all the way to a heavy lace texture.
Stucco is compatible with most paints, coatings and special finishes. If your stucco has had color applied to the texture coat, there is no requirement for any additional finish such as paints or coatings. Many stucco homes have a paint, coating or special finish applied at the time of construction. It is normal for stucco to take on certain color variations as time passes, especially in high rainfall areas. As time passes, some homeowners find the color variations are acceptable while others prefer a “new” look, which can be achieved by applying appropriate paints, coatings or special finishes.
One Coat Stucco Systems
One popular variation of the Three Coat Stucco System is referred to as the “One Coat Stucco System”. The name “one coat” is misleading. The One Coat Stucco System substitutes the scratch coat of stucco with a one-inch thick foam board (or other board product). The requirements for the brown and texture coats are the same for both stucco systems. All finish options are the same for both stucco systems.
Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS)
EIFS is an exterior wall system that is sometimes confused with stucco systems. EIFS is not a member of the concrete or stucco family. The only similarity between an EIFS system and a Stucco system is that the two systems may look the same when completed. EIFS systems consist mainly of a foam board covered with a special finish. EIFS is normally found on large commercial projects like the Las Vegas Casinos. Your home has a stucco system installed as discussed above. Your home does not have an EIFS system installed.