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At What Temperature Can You Apply Stucco?

If you're planning to do a project at home using stucco, you're probably wondering if it can withstand certain weather conditions. And what's the right temperature to apply them? No worries. We've done plenty of research to find you the answer!

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Stucco can be applied in both warm and cold temperatures. It's workable on temperatures above 40°F (4.4°C) but not more than 100°F (37.8°C). Anything more or less than the numbers given will make it hard for you to work with stucco.

But that's not all there is in applying stucco in certain temperatures. There's more to learn about stucco. With that said, let's dive right into this topic!

Why Does Temperature Affect Stucco Application?

To understand how stucco works, first, you have to know what makes up stucco. Stucco is made of aggregates, binders, and water. Similar to cement.

The water makes it possible for chemical reactions to occur, and when the temperature isn't stable enough, it will affect the liquid and, eventually, the plaster results.

Here, temperature plays a huge role in the curing process of stucco. If the condition where you apply stucco is below 40°F (4.4°C), the chances of cracking and breakage are likely. Other than that, you also have to pay attention to the temperature dropdown.

Plasterers know that applying stucco during the summer will dry much faster and slower in the winter. This is why scheduling is essential to avoid these harsh weather conditions.

Even if you apply stucco above 40°F during the day, the temperature might drop in a few hours, making it prone to breakage. This is important to look out for because stucco needs to be protected from freezing temperatures while curing for at least 24 hours.

This is why it's important to avoid freezing conditions in applying stucco.

Sun exposure also plays a huge role in curing stucco too. With temperatures exceeding 100°F (37.8°C), the workability of the stucco will be reduced.

With spiking temperatures, there is less humidity and more sun exposure. When this happens, the liquid in the stucco will evaporate quickly—causing it to set earlier than expected.

What Should You Do Before Applying Stucco?

If it's winter or fall in your area, but you want to start that home renovation you've been looking forward to, there's a way to apply stucco. Just make sure to follow the precautions strictly.

Some plasterers will use a heating device to keep the area warm, but it's rather costly. In that case, plasterers will heat the water mixture when the temperature is cold.

They would heat the water to 120°F. By doing so, the temperature of the wall surface would neutralize. Eliminating the need to use heaters.

Make sure that the area is adequately ventilated. Air circulation is necessary for curing to happen. Avoid using kerosene or gas to heat the area, as they can cause rapid carbonation of the stucco material.

Tents are also recommended to keep the temperature below freezing point. It can also protect the stucco from rain and strong winds.

Additionally, do not apply stucco in extremely hot weather to avoid early curing.

Follow the techniques mentioned to avoid this from happening:

  • Use cool water in the mix
  • Plan construction day ahead of time
  • Moist cure/water cure the plaster
  • Cover the plaster with a tarp to protect it from extreme heat or wind
  • Work in cooler temperature
  • Do not apply stucco on hot surfaces
  • Use a workable kind of stucco

Usually, contractors would hesitate to apply stucco in unfavorable weather. But if they proceed, they will tell you that the process will take much longer and require more effort than usual.

It's essential to set this expectation ahead of time.

Other than that, there will be additional fees if the weather is extremely cold because of the methods and resources that the contractors will use.

How To Apply Stucco

Before applying stucco on your concrete wall, prep for better results. Clean the surface and fill in any cracks or holes.

It's also essential to identify what type of surface you will apply the stucco other than concrete. Follow this simple step-by-step guide for better results when using stucco.

Two Story White Stucco House with Stairs and a Red Door

Step 1 - Prepping

Prep the concrete first by brushing a layer of bonding agent. This will act as glue to help the stucco adhere to the concrete.

Step 2 - Mixing The Stucco

The next step should be easy. Mix the stucco mixture with the indicated amount of water. The consistency should be a thick paste, like oatmeal, for example.

Avoid a watery mixture for the best results. You should be able to mold the mixture into a shape.

Step 3 - Applying The Scratch Coat

The Scratch coat is the first layer of concrete. The first coat should be between 1/4 and 1/2 thick. Doing so will ensure that the final coat will bond perfectly to the wall.

Use a finishing trowel to apply the coat evenly and let it dry halfway through.

Check out this finishing trowel on Amazon

Step 4 - Scratching The First Coat

This is a necessary step to make the first layer useful. By scratching the first layer, you will ensure that the final layer will adhere properly. You only need a plasterer's rake to do this successfully.

With a sweeping motion, glide the rake horizontally throughout the coat. Once that's done, let the coat dry for 36 to 48 hours. While letting it dry, spritz a bit of water on the surface to cure the stucco.

Plastrerer man putting wet thermal glue mortar on rock wool slab (mineral wool, mineral cotton).

Step 5 - Final Coat And Curing

This is the final and most crucial step. Using the same trowel, apply the final coat over the first coat. Apply at least 1/8 to 1/4 thick paste.

Here, you can add a texture on top of the stucco or let it dry. Afterward, let the final coat cure. While at it, you can also water-cure it.

To learn more about textures and finishes, read this post, "7 Types Of Stucco Finishes."

Is It Better To Paint Stucco With Brush Or Spray?

White grunge structural plaster texture background

Brushing stucco with paint is not recommended. It is better to use a roller or an airless spray. The two tools are better to work with.

If you're painting on a relatively wide area, it's better to use an airless spray. But a roll can do the trick if it's a small area.

Check out this paint roller kit on Amazon

How Do You Clean A Stucco Surface?

Male builder in work overalls plastering a wall using a construction trowel.

Stucco doesn't need much maintenance. Considering how exterior stucco is exposed to the sun and other environmental factors, it can be damaged or collect dirt.

A paint job every once in a while will help you avoid such damage from happening. You should also clean the surface at least once a year.

Scrub the stucco with a dampened nylon brush or a cotton rag with some elbow grease. This will remove the buildup of dirt and grime.

How Long Will Stucco Last?

A man is applying stucco on the wall, plastering, coating the wall by spraying stucco with a stucco sprayer., At What Temperature Can You Apply Stucco?

Stucco should last between 50-80 years. It's one of the most durable surfaces on the market and doesn't need much maintenance.

Due to its durability, stucco is relatively cheap. It costs around $8-$12 per sq. ft. to install. That already includes labor and materials. But some factors come into this calculation.

Building design and the number of floors significantly affect the cost. A typical stucco siding job may cost around $10,000 or more.

If you want to learn more about stucco's lifespan, read this post "How Long Does Stucco Last?"

To Wrap It All Up

Stucco is a versatile material for arts and crafts and heavy-duty work that requires plastering. It must be plastered correctly to make your stucco plaster firm and strong.

This means avoiding extreme temperatures. Anything below 40°F or above 100°F is a no-no. But if you need to use stucco even in such harsh temperatures, follow our tips or contact a contractor.

We hope this post helped you with your stucco questions: good luck!