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Thread: Stucco Finish

  1. #1
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    Default Stucco Finish

    I'm seem to be bidding on a lot of custom homes now that have stucco finishes. In particular I'm working with an architect from the Taliesin Institute that has a finish on the exterior he calls a cement plaster finish. My understanding from the architect is, it's just a really smooth stucco finish.

    Does anyone have any info on this type of finish. Also I'm looking for a stucco contractor, maybe some members here in the midwest knows of some stucco contractors in my areas I could contact.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Michnick View Post
    Does anyone have any info on this type of finish.
    Ed:

    Are you painting the stucco after the finish coat?

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Allan,

    It's my understanding eveything will be left as natural as possible.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Its a different 'blend' of additives. Silica sand is used instead of regular sand and different proportions of lime is used.

    Make sure you get a sub thats done this before. Its the most difficult stucco to apply.

    On a side note. This stucco top coat cracks, or at least shows cracks, more than any other stucco.
    Andre T.

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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    I would never do cementitious stucco in the midwest. It will crack no matter how well it's done. There is one house in my neighborhood that is stucco and both the original house (1920s) and the addition (2003) get patched up every year.

    The GC had to get a stucco crew from out of state to do the addition and they did a superb job. I watched it. They also told the HO it would crack. It does.

    There is a good reason real stucco is not popular in our climate. Synthetic stucco, now that's a different animal. Have it on my own house (STO). No problem.

    If you ever visited Taliesin before the renovation about 10 years ago, you would understand that Frank Lloyd Wright, brilliant as he was, had a total and crass disregard for good building practice such as material selection, weatherproofing details, etc. The place was literally falling apart.

    To Wright, looks trumped everything and anything. I hope his disciples are a little more grounded in reality. Judging from your post, maybe not.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Ed:

    Some of my stucco homes are painted with elastomeric paint, but a few are not painted and the coloring (if there is any), is integral in the stucco. If there is no coloring, you get a more grayish looking finish, as you would expect. I actually currently have a house that has the brown (2nd) coat being applied, the finish coat will be an integral color finish and not paint. The first 2 coats are applied the same, no matter if it’s painted or integral. The finish on this house is absolutely gorgeous, very old world looking, best I’ve ever seen. We did several samples with my contractor working to get the correct color. You really do need an experienced contractor to apply this, and note, you will get more minor cracking. The type of sand and how it is troweled on will govern the finish and shading.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Thanks for all the quick replies

    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Contractor
    Its a different 'blend' of additives. Silica sand is used instead of regular sand and different proportions of lime is used.

    Make sure you get a sub thats done this before. Its the most difficult stucco to apply.

    On a side note. This stucco top coat cracks, or at least shows cracks, more than any other stucco.
    These are a couple of my concerns I addressed with the architect. We don't see a lot of stucco here in the midwest. On the ones you do see they have an old world look to them. As far as cracking goes, I discussed this with the architect along with control joints, he seemed to have no problem with either. I know sometime you can hide the control joint behind downspouts, guess what, no gutters or downspouts on this house.


    Quote Originally Posted by dgbldr
    I would never do cementitious stucco in the midwest. It will crack no matter how well it's done. There is one house in my neighborhood that is stucco and both the original house (1920s) and the addition (2003) get patched up every year.

    The GC had to get a stucco crew from out of state to do the addition and they did a superb job. I watched it. They also told the HO it would crack. It does.

    There is a good reason real stucco is not popular in our climate. Synthetic stucco, now that's a different animal. Have it on my own house (STO). No problem.

    If you ever visited Taliesin before the renovation about 10 years ago, you would understand that Frank Lloyd Wright, brilliant as he was, had a total and crass disregard for good building practice such as material selection, weatherproofing details, etc. The place was literally falling apart.

    To Wright, looks trumped everything and anything. I hope his disciples are a little more grounded in reality. Judging from your post, maybe not.
    The house will have stucco on parts of the house unless we can find another alternative. E.F.I.S. is definitely not going to happen. Although I used it on the other house I build for this client, and it work out good.
    I'm aware of the issues regarding F.L.W. designs. I'm just waiting for the architect to call out for two different colors of mortar, one for the head joints and another for the bed joints.

    Quote Originally Posted by Allan Edwards
    Ed:
    Some of my stucco homes are painted with elastomeric paint, but a few are not painted and the coloring (if there is any), is integral in the stucco. If there is no coloring, you get a more grayish looking finish, as you would expect. I actually currently have a house that has the brown (2nd) coat being applied, the finish coat will be an integral color finish and not paint. The first 2 coats are applied the same, no matter if it’s painted or integral. The finish on this house is absolutely gorgeous, very old world looking, best I’ve ever seen. We did several samples with my contractor working to get the correct color. You really do need an experienced contractor to apply this, and note, you will get more minor cracking. The type of sand and how it is troweled on will govern the finish and shading.
    I've have seen your homes from the pictures you posted, they are awesome and beautiful. I agree that I need a very experienced contractor, and hopefully I will get some good contacts from this thread.

    I forgot to mention that the soffit will be stucco also. The fascia will probably be some type of metal
    Last edited by Ed Michnick; 09-17-2006 at 10:38 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Ed, I would think that in Chicago there are union plasterers. That might be one way to go. The last plaster crew I used did interior and exterior walls, traditional interior plaster and plaster veneer, exterior stucco, and the smooth exterior that you're after. You can also ask at some of the mason's supply houses, they know the contractors doing different types of work.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    How clever "cement plaster finish" . . . that's err, a finish on err, cement plaster, right????

    The proper name for that finish is "steel trowel" or "smooth steel trowel". I've worked with designers that insisted on it, and it never works out, even with experienced stucco craftsmen. IF you avoid the stress cracks, you still wind up with all sorts of alligatoring and trowel burns in the finish coat.

    I always argue for a change to a light sand finish. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose.

    I have had success achieving a steel trowel finish on a product called "Flex-i-rock". I think Synergy owns the name now. It is/was a fiber-reinforced proprietary stucco mix with lots and lots of proprietary liquid polymers added to the formula. Material costs significantly higher than regular 3-coat stucco.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by David Meiland
    Ed, I would think that in Chicago there are union plasterers. That might be one way to go. The last plaster crew I used did interior and exterior walls, traditional interior plaster and plaster veneer, exterior stucco, and the smooth exterior that you're after. You can also ask at some of the mason's supply houses, they know the contractors doing different types of work.
    I've got some contacts from the plasters union, we'll have to see how their numbers come in. I'm not against using union shops, but sometimes it can cause problems with the non-union subs I use.

    Quote Originally Posted by NW Architect
    I always argue for a change to a light sand finish. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose.
    I've discussed this with the architect and homeowner, and might be a good alternative.

    Quote Originally Posted by NW Architect
    I have had success achieving a steel trowel finish on a product called "Flex-i-rock". I think Synergy owns the name now. It is/was a fiber-reinforced proprietary stucco mix with lots and lots of proprietary liquid polymers added to the formula. Material costs significantly higher than regular 3-coat stucco.
    Is this an E.F.I.S. If it is, no can do, my insurance won't cover it. I searched around for "Flex-i-rock" but couldn't come up with anything.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Quote Originally Posted by dgbldr View Post
    If you ever visited Taliesin before the renovation about 10 years ago, you would understand that Frank Lloyd Wright, brilliant as he was, had a total and crass disregard for good building practice such as material selection, weatherproofing details, etc. The place was literally falling apart.

    To Wright, looks trumped everything and anything. I hope his disciples are a little more grounded in reality. Judging from your post, maybe not.
    I remember watching a big FLW lakeshore home being torn down in my neighborhood as a kid. I asked my Dad why they would tear down a home designed by such a famous architect. He just smiled and said "it probably looked pretty good on paper".

  12. #12

    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    My neighbor did this to his house at the beginning of last month. We're down in south Florida and he has cracks already forming on the gable ends. JTLYK.
    "Measure twice, write it down, cut once!!"

    Adrian

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Here's Flexi-Rock's Evaluation Report
    http://www.icc-es.org/reports/pdf_fi...BO-ES/4617.pdf

    I'm not sure they are still in business. My web search found nothing newer than 2001.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Stucco Finish

    Not sure if you guys are still around, found this great old thread after considering smooth stucco in the Chicago area.

    Our architect thought perhaps smaller sections of steel trowel finish/smooth stucco with control joins might minimize cracking. Any thoughts on cracking in this scenario?

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