Stucco siding is a stucco treatment over rigid panels that are installed on the exterior of buildings to provide protection from weather and temperature. Stucco has been used for centuries for waterproofing walls, but is was not applied to flat panels before the 1920s in Palm Beach, Florida.
Stucco became common practice in the decades following World War II. It was typically oil-based with Portland cement added as an additive for strength and adhesion. The invention of superior latex acrylic stuccos in the mid-1970s helped to extend its use into colder climates such as Montreal and Minneapolis where it was previously thought impossible due to snow damage and freeze/thaw cycles. Now stucco is often applied without the addition of Portland cement.
No restrictions are placed on the type of weather barriers or adhesives used with stucco panels. In northern climates, a combination of synthetic fibers and acrylics is common for improved strength and durability in extremely cold conditions. There are no industry standards for this kind of application, although most manufacturers will provide warranties according to ASTM guidelines for their products.
In southern climates where freeze/thaw cycles rarely occur, water-based acrylic or latex paints may be used or stucco may be left untreated. In stucco siding the same stuccos are often used in both climates if Portland cement is not included.
Stucco siding panels typically consist of a stucco skin over a poured core, although other types do exist. Some stucco manufacturers will incorporate an acrylic stucco surface directly onto a plywood substrate rather than use a poured core. The stucco layer can also be applied to a mineral-surfaced fiberglass mat which is then mechanically fastened to wood studs and either sheathed with plywood or metal siding. Another method for applying stucco mesh fabric over the panels' wood members, then applying stucco it, is almost universal for high-humidity coastal areas.
Stucco siding must be manufactured to withstand potential warping, buckling, splitting and staining due to its porosity, especially in humid climates. Rigid stucco panels are also susceptible to thermal movement that may cause stucco seams to open or separate under the influence of temperature differentials between inner and outer surfaces. Manufacturers overcome this problem by using tie wires spaced every inch or so in stucco joints. The stucco must also have adequate compressive strength so it does not fall off the rigid panels.
Thinner stucco skins may enhance the appearance of stuccos because it can be applied quickly without the use of stucco mesh and stucco base coats. On the other hand, stuccos that are too thin can easily crack or fall off of panels, whereas stuccos that are too thick may remain un-bonded to the rigid panels.
Once stucco siding is applied, it must be kept dry until it has cured fully for at least three days. This is usually done by covering stucco paneling with a hydrophobic sheeting material such as plastic sheeting and masking tape. During the curing process stucco skins will typically shrink away from stucco joints and generate significant off-gassing due to water evaporation. Stuccos may also be sealed with stucco sealers, stucco paints or stucco primers.
For more information or a free estimate, contact Wesley Chapel Siding today at (813) 680-2749!
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