Stucco Installation Process

Stucco remediation involves the complete removal of the old, damaged stucco system and the installation of a new one. Remediation is often done when underlying damage caused by water has been identified. The installation process for new stucco includes 14 steps. These steps can be grouped into four categories: Preparing the worksite, internal protection, stucco application, and exterior waterproofing. Altogether, this process may take up to a few weeks to complete.

Preparing the Worksite

Step 1: We will erect scaffolding around the building so that it meets OSHA standards and ensures a safe working platform. The scaffolding will remain in place for the duration of the project. It is used for the removal of old stucco, repair of underlying damage, and application of the new exterior. At the end of the project, it will be removed.

Step 2: The old stucco will be removed from the surface of the building. The underlying structures beneath the stucco, such as the wire lath and waterproofing will also be removed. The removal process starts at the top of the wall and works down. The debris will then be removed from the worksite. Any internal fixes that need to be made will be done at this point.

Internal Moisture and Temperature Protection

Step 3: A Drain Screed is installed at the base of the wall. The role of the Drain Screed is to prevent damaging moisture buildup within the wall. The Drain Screed is a special type of weep screed that allows moisture to escape from both the bottom and top of the wall. Condensed moisture can flow out of the bottom while evaporated moisture can exit through the top.

Step 4: A 2-ply Jumbo Tex 60® weather-resistant barrier (WRB) is installed across the entirety of the wall surface. Sheets of the WRB should have a 2-inch vertical overlap and 6-inch horizontal overlap. The overlapped seams are then taped with weather-resistant tape. This layer protects the underlying materials of the wall, such as plywood, from getting wet and rotting.

Step 5: Driwall™ Rainscreen is applied over the WRB. A rain screen is an exterior wall drainage mat that provides a sponge-like layer between the WRB and stucco. The rain screen helps the interior of the wall dry in two ways. It allows water to drain down to the weep screed and allows air to circulate through the sponge-like cavities.

Step 6: E-Z Beads are flexible strip seals that are installed around windows, doors, and other frames. They create watertight seals between the frame and the stucco once the stucco has been applied.

Step 7: Flashing is installed to direct water away from walls and openings. There are three main types of flashing. Standard flashing is used around doors and windows over the E-Z Bead seals. Head flashing is installed above all windows and doors to direct water off to the sides and away from the openings. And kick-out flashing is installed at roof wall vertices to prevent water from running off the roof and down a perpendicular wall.

Step 8: Expansion joints are installed to protect against cracking. Rising and falling temperatures can cause wall materials to expand and contract at different rates. This in turn can lead to stucco cracking, which then allows moisture to intrude into the system. Expansion joints are installed at points where different materials are connected and help to relieve the stresses associated with expansion and contraction.

Three-Coat Stucco Application

Step 9: The final layer beneath the stucco is a 2.5 gauge, galvanized, self-furring wire lath that is installed over the rain screen and E-Z Beads. This wire lath will serve as the backing that the stucco is applied to. It gives the stucco something to adhere to and adds rigidity.

Step 10: The first of three stucco coats is the scratch coat. This coat consists of a mixture of sand, cement, and reinforcing fibers. It is applied directly to the wire lath. Then, its surface is scratched horizontally to allow the next layer to adhere to it better.

Step 11: After the scratch coat comes the brown coat. The brown coat is made of the same sand, cement, and reinforcing fibers as the scratch coat. The main difference here is that the surface of this coat is not scratched.

Step 12: The finish coat is the third coat of stucco. This coat is made of traditional textured stucco and is what gives the wall its aesthetic appeal. In the past, this coat would have been the only coat. But the current three-coat system is much more robust.

Exterior Waterproofing

Step 13: Acrylic finish is applied to the finish coat to protect it from damage. It can help protect a bit against blunt damage and scraping. However, the primary reason for the acrylic finish is to add waterproofing so the finish coat doesn’t absorb moisture.

Step 14: The final step in the process is the caulking of any and all seams. This adds one, final layer of sealant to the most common water intrusion points.


The modern stucco installation process is much more involved than it was in the past. However, this leads to a much better end product that lasts for decades. The process begins with the preparation of the worksite by erecting scaffolding and removing the old exterior. We then install the internal moisture and temperature protection that will keep the system free from leaks and mold growth. Next, the three-coat stucco is applied. And finally, some exterior waterproofing is added.

Friel Plastering

If the exterior of your home or business is showing signs of aging or underlying damage, it may be time for remediation. Stucco remediation involves the complete removal of the old exterior wall system and installation of an all-new one. Contact the stucco experts at Friel Plastering for a quote.