When it comes to our work in Los Angeles and other Southwestern United States locations, we see a lot of exterior stucco work. Naturally, we also see a fair amount of poor stucco installation. And if we aren't engaged in stucco repair, our customers often ask us if we can paint their stucco exterior or fix the color fading.
The short answer is that, yes, we can do all of this; but it's not exactly like traditional painting. So let's take a step back for a moment and talk about stucco itself.
When people in the trades talk stucco, we're typically referring to Portland Cement Plaster, an admixture of sand, lime and water. Three coats of plaster are required for stucco exteriors. First, the scratch coat, which is the thickest of the three. The scratch coat is applied up to a 1/2” and with enough pressure to fill the openings in the lath (a metal net to which the plaster adheres). Then comes the brown coat, which is required to flatten the plaster surface and build the stucco up to 3/4” thickness. Finally, the Color Coat, which is the stucco coating with which we're chiefly concerned here. The Color Coat is a decorative surface, which can have several different surface textures and colors.
Exterior Stucco Color Coating requires a skilled professional for application. Add too much water and the color pigments can migrate, creating an uneven look. And if the amount of water added to each stucco batch varies, there will again be color variation. Excessive water in the finish coat can also cause fine check cracking in the stucco, which is unsightly and will eventually need repair. Color Coat is finished by hand and is generally a pastel or color similar to stained portland cement.
I've completed several projects where we have had to re-color coat a home in place of painting the stucco. There are a few upsides to Color Coat: it lasts longer than a coat of paint and will have the appearance of the original stucco. The only drawbacks are limited colors and the additional expense. Color Coating will be inexpensive up front, but will cost less over time. The annualized cost for stucco with life expectancy is less than paint.
If you have an additional questions about Color Coating stucco, give us a call or email us.