Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Painting the House Part 1 : Stucco Tutorial

Last September, we started painting the exterior of the house.  Yep, I said started...we never got past the first 25%.  At the time, it made perfect sense.  We were having pavers installed for the pool deck and wanted to go ahead and get the back painted before installation.  Chris was in school, and I was in my first trimester of pregnancy.

For the past year, almost every day when we'd go for a walk or run, we'd laugh at how the back of our house was a different color than the rest of it.  We were busy working on the nursery, and then the whole having a baby thing left us with very little free time to paint this big 'ol house.

And then I found this :

Do you see all the cracking on the side?  And the rust coming through?  It was worse on the other side of the trim, but I couldn't wait to take a picture, we just started poking to see how bad the damage really was.

Taken  after we poked around some - it wasn't quite this bad to start off with!
It was bad.

And then Chris got out his side grinder and went to town.

Most sane people probably wouldn't have gotten that far, especially not with a 4 month old, but we're not sane sometimes.  We've done a little bit of stucco patch work, and neither one of us have been happy with the outcome.  This, obviously, needed more than just a patch job.

I gave Chris the green light to go ahead and see how bad the damage was, which meant he just keep breaking it apart until we got to good boards, by convincing him that we've needed to paint the house for some time now, so we'll just do the stucco work, and then repaint the entire house.

Logical, right?

Chris bought into it.  A few weeks later he questioned why he ever let me talk him into painting the entire house because of a little stucco trim work, but that's another post for another day.

Back to the stucco...

We decided we were going to google and utube "how to stucco", and then go to the big orange box store and have the guys there help us with getting supplies.  Then Kalia needed a nap, and to be fed, and a diaper change, and to be played with, and we realized that we might have bitten off a little more than we could chew.

So, we caved in and decided to get a few quotes.  If the quotes were reasonable, we'd pay someone to do it.  If they were absurd, we'd go back to plan 1, and just accept the fact that it was probably going to take us 10 times longer than normal to get it done.

First quote came in at $225.  We had a few other places we were going to have them repair too, so we thought that was pretty reasonable.  The second quote came in at $1500.  Wha???  We asked a buzillion questions and they both were using the same exact methodology.  Um, we'll take the $225 guy please.

We took pictures and asked lots of questions during the process, so that we'd know how to do stucco work if we ever needed to again.

Here's what the stucco guy was starting with.

And here's the how-to for any of you over-ambitious diy'ers out there!

First he cut back the rest of the old stucco work to make it nice and even.

Then he added the new trim boards (pressure treated wood) to fit.

Next, he took this piece of mesh and wire with paper backing :

And put it over top of the wood boards, securing it in with nails.

After that, he nailed in the protective vinyl edges.  The vinyl edges are an upgrade from what was previously there.  Most old houses used metal galvanized edging, which was why we had the rusting in the first place.  Well, that combined with the fact that the previous owners had the sprinklers spraying on the house.  We moved them out shortly after we moved in, but the damage was already done.  Water plus metal is no good!

Just an fyi, all of this stuff can be found at your local home improvement store.

To keep the edges secured, he added staples along with the nails.

We had another area that was starting to show some wear, so we decided to go with a quick patch approach on fixing it.  To do this, he needed to chip out some of the old stucco to give the new stucco something to stick to.  It's basically roughing up the surface like you would for most paint projects, but instead of sanding, he used a metal scraper.

This is what it looked like after he was done chipping it off.

To bond old stucco with new stucco, some type of liquid bonding agent is needed.  It kind of looks like Elmer's glue.  He applied this using a sponge to all of the areas where the new stucco would go on top of the old stucco.

That's just the prep work!

Next up, the mixing.  To create the sand finish to match the existing stucco work on the house, he mixed sand in with the stucco mix. He recommended not going too heavy on the sand to keep the final product strong.  The mix was approximately 50/50.  He mixed this dry in a large wheel barrow.

After dry mixing, he put the mix in buckets and added water.  To mix the stucco, sand, and water he used a drill with a stirring tool to make a very smooth final mix.

The actual stucco work itself is a lot like working with grout.

Just put the stucco on your trowel and spread.  He used a tray to hold the stucco, which seemed a lot easier than dipping the trowel into the bucket.  I'll have to remember that for future projects!

Then smooth it over the surface,

until your area is completely covered.

Finish by taking your soft sponge and gently wiping until you have a smooth surface.

And that's it!  It's definitely a lot of work, but at least we know it's do-able for the next go round.  The stucco guy even took off $25 for stepping on a plant (it'll come back), and for us giving him water.  What a guy!

Anyone out there willing to tackle stucco work on their own?    Make sure to stay tuned for more house painting projects.  It's quite a bit of work, but it's looking a-mazing!

Hope everyone's having a great week.  Happy Tuesday!

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  1. Glad to see you are back to blogging!! We've missed you!

    Wow - that stucco project looked easier than I thought it would be!! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. That is hilarious that you stood over the guy almost the whole time taking pictures, lol! I had no idea you had to have this much repair work done.

  3. Good to have you back in blog world! =) Those first few pictures look crazy with so much going on! Good thing you guys had a good guy to fix it for you.

  4. Looks like the guy did a great job and it didn't cost much. Too funny that he discounted for stepping on a plant. I had guys pore a sidewalk and ruin a good portion of my plants. There was no discount! Oh well! Perhaps he just liked being on camera :)

  5. this has nothing to do with stucco. i'm just wondering how you guys and sweet baby are doing. that is all.

  6. Thank you for sharing such valuable information and tips. This can give insights and inspirations for us; very helpful and informative! Would love to see more updates from you in the future.

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