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Stucco is a durable exterior wall covering consisting of cement, lime, and silica applied in several layers over wood or metal lath. Since these layers basically form a concrete shell around a house, a stucco home requires less energy to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter. While similar to plaster, stucco is usually considered as exterior siding and plaster as an interior finish. Stucco can help reduce sound transmission and also is a fire retardant that has saved homes from grass and forest fires. It resists rot, mildew, and molds. Stucco can last over fifty years, depending on local climate and how well it is maintained.

The primary job for a stucco lath is to provide a way for the stucco to bond with the surface of the structure is being applied to. There are generally three different types of stucco lathes to be used in applying stucco.

1. Wire Mesh Lath

This type of stucco lath is generally used over building paper that is applied over a wood sheathing. It is made of 16 gauge wire and in a mesh pattern. It is installed with galvanized roofing nails and can be bent around building corners easily.

2. Metal Stucco Lath

A metal stucco lath is most generally used in soffits or on walls supported by metal studs. There are two types of metal lath. There are those with ribs and those that do not have ribs. Installation is with galvanized nails.

3. Fiberglass Stucco Lath

This is a newer type of stucco lath that is made of fiberglass mesh and comes in rolls. It is very pliable, almost like fabric. It can be applied with staples, or nails and is easily workable with a utility knife or scissors.

Each type of lathe creates a bond between the stucco and the building it is being applied to through a mechanical bond. This is created through the mesh in the stucco lath itself.

There are two ways to apply stucco: by hand with a hawk and trowel, or using a stucco sprayer tool. The first layer of stucco is usually about a half-inch thick, with a second layer applied about a quarter-inch thick after the first has dried.



Stucco is a durable exterior wall covering typically made from a combination of cement, sand and lime mixed with water. ©2011 Unknown