When you are looking to buy or build a house, knowing the materials of your exterior is important. Not every home is built the same way, and you will often see stucco as the exterior surface. If you aren’t exactly sure what stucco is and how it protects your home, then it is highly recommended that you explore the uses of stucco. Just like concrete, it is a mixture material and there is a set time for it to actually cure or dry. How long does it take for stucco to dry? It takes 90 days for all the layers of stucco to fully dry, even if it feels dry after a few days.
Let’s take a look below to understand more about stucco.
What Is Stucco
Stucco is often the material you see on the siding of a home and sometimes inside a house for a decorative look on walls and ceilings. It can be painted once it is dry and is made of binder, aggregates and water. When it is wet, it turns to a plaster. While we see it on homes in the Northwest, it is more common in Florida, Texas, and the southern half of the U.S. As mentioned above, it does produce cracks when the home settles or has other issues.
How Many Layers Are There
Every stucco building that is built has three layers of stucco. The main layer is called the scratch coat. The next layer is brown or earth color and then the top is the stucco coat. The stucco coat can be painted or shaded. Also, the second layer must fully dry, as well as all layers so the water has enough time to evaporate.
Sometimes people think that after a few days it is dry because it feels firm or it is not. The drying time for stucco is 90 days! After 90 days, you can pressure wash it or clean it but don’t do it before the 90-day mark.
Sometimes, after a few days of installation, the surface of the exterior stucco or top layer may feel firm on touching. However, that doesn’t signify that the stucco is dry and it is not.
What Can Affect The Drying Process
Weather conditions can affect the curing of stucco. Let’s look at these below.
The brown coat needs to be mixed with a specific amount of water and mixed the same amount of time that the stucco is. This is a process in which the coats need to be identical to the amount of time that is needed to dry.
The moisture level of the stucco mix and the atmosphere pose concerns for stucco drying. The higher the humidity levels, the longer it takes for the stucco to dry. High humidity contributes more water molecules to the stucco mix. This creates the driving force for the proper chemical reactions for stucco drying.
1. Fragile Stucco Installation – this happens if the air is dry as it pulls water from the stucco and dries all three layers quickly, but this isn’t good and makes it fragile.
2. Stucco Dries Properly – an atmosphere of cloudy, cool, and dampness.
3. Improper Drying – stucco does need to be kept damp, but if it rains, the water will wet the stucco too much and it won’t dry the correct way. A cloudy day is the best weather to apply the stucco.
The outside temperature range that stucco likes to dry in is between 4 to 32 degrees Celsius, which is 40-90 degrees Fahrenheit. The summer and fall months are the best time to install stucco outside the home. Again, when the brown coat is applied as well as the stucco coat, they need to be done at the same temperature in order to be effective. Moisture content affects how both will dry.
How Much Does It Cost
Stucco can cost about $8-$12 per square foot to add it to your home, which includes labor and materials. It will also depend on where you live as to the cost to have it applied. If you are needing new stucco siding, a job may cost about $10,000 or more.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know about stucco, there are a few things to pay attention to.
One of those is if you are wanting to stucco over wood. Stucco can be applied over wood but you need to have a professional do it. It is not something that someone who isn’t a professional can do and it involves a lot of materials.
If you find that there is a crack in your stucco, don’t fret yet. If it is less than 1/8 in. in size, it can be fixed easily with Quikrete or a repair kit from a local store. This is something easy that a homeowner can do on their own.
Lastly, you may have a gap between the foundation wall and the home. Don’t be too eager to seal it right away as it needs time to settle. However, with basic took and polyurethane caulk, you can do this project on your own.
When Do I Call A Professional
Call a professional when you have stucco issues that are bigger than 1/8 inch, as well as layering the stucco on the house. It isn’t an easy task and you may need a professional to help you. Stucco takes 90 days to dry and if you aren’t familiar with the steps to apply stucco, hiring a professional is the way to go. It is really important that this is applied correctly so that your house is solid and doesn’t develop any issues.
Hiring a professionally licensed building contractor who specializes in stucco is the way to go. Giving your stucco the time it needs to dry is important. However, knowing that you can’t watch what the weather does for 90 days, nor make sure that the stucco is applied during the optimal time of the year so you may need to call your local home inspection team. They can take a look at the stucco as part of a full home inspection. Call on Boggs Inspection Services so they can check your stucco during a home inspection in the Olympia, Washington area.