What is Stucco? How to Mix Ingredients

What is Stucco and How to Mix the Ingredients?

What is it?

Stucco is a cement-based plaster that is often colored and used either on the interior or exterior of homes. Stucco is often used when a brick or stone appearance is needed on a building, but the cost to use the original materials is too costly.  One of the benefits of using stucco is that it lasts longer than most traditional forms of siding like vinyl or wood siding. 

Stucco Ingredients:

The materials needed for Stucco, sometimes called “portland cement plaster” are plastic cement, sand and water. If regular cement is used, hydrated lime should be purchased also to make the plaster workable. No lime is to be used with plastic cement because it is complete as formulated.

Plastic cement is a specially formulated type of cement for use in plaster and sometimes masonry. Plastic cement contains all the necessary ingredients, other than sand and water, to make a suitable mixture for troweling onto walls and ceilings. Most plasterers prefer straight plastic cement to avoid possible confusion at the mixer for the ease of application. Some plasterers use a mixture of equal parts of plastic and regular cement. Either formulation is msuitable. A few plasterers still use regular cement to which Flintkote Type S lime is added in the mixer. Unless hydrated lime is added to regular cement, the resulting plaster may be difficult to spread and will not cling well to lath on walls and soffits. No lime should be added to a half-and-half mix of plastic and regular cement.


Three general classifications of sand, by gradation, normally are available from a dry material yard. They are concrete, sand, plaster sand and masonry sand. Concrete sand, being fairly coarse, would make a good quality plaster wall but is difficult to spread because of coarseness. Masonry sand is too fine for use in the two base coats of portland cement plaster because it may induce cracks in the plaster. A typical plaster sand used by almost every contractor in the area is called Oly #2, and is mined in the Felton area of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Oly #2. has a gradation that contributes to ease of spreading, yet is not so fine that it will induce cracking. Oly #1 is masonry sand, not to be used in the scratch and brown coats of cement plaster.

Plaster sand should be clean as well as properly graded. When sand is delivered to the job site, it should be protected against contamination from cigarette butts, scraps of gypsum board, dirt, oil and grease, paper or other harmful contaminants. One may use a cubic foot box to measure sand into the mixer or be guided by shovel count. Normally mixer operators use shovel count and add between twenty and thirty shovels of sand per bag of plastic cement or to the equivalent of a bag of half-and-half plastic and regular, or to a bag of regular plus lime.

Any water supply suitable for human consumption is satisfactory for mixing cement plaster. The most important factor is that one NEVER SHOULD ADD AN EXCESSIVE AMOUNT OF MIX!


Use only enough water to produce a spreadable mix. Any additional water will weaken the finished plaster unnecessarily and may induce cracks.


If one elects to use regular cement, bags of hydrated lime must be purchased at the same time as the other materials. When adding lime to regular cement in the mixer or whatever tools you’re using, it is customary to use about fifteen pounds of lime for each 94 pound bag of regular cement. The plasterer should be guided by Table 47-F of the Uniform Building Code in this regard.

Lime is not needed to make plastic cement more spreadable.

Mixing Stucco

The minimum volume of plaster sand per bag of cement is three cubic feet. Note that a bag of cement contains one cubic foot of material. The Uniform Building Code (UBC) has established a formula for the first (scratch) and second (brown) coats of cement plaster. That data is found in Table 47-F of the UBC. A copy of this can be found on M&M Home Exteriors website. The maximum ratio of sand to cement in the first coat is four cubic feet of sand for each cubic foot or bag of cement. In the second or brown coat, a maximum of five cubic feet of plaster sand is permitted for each bag of cement.

Check out our reviews of the best cordless drills to use when using a paddle to mix your cement.

The preferred sequence of adding ingredients to the mixer is to pour some water into the mixer, followed by part of the sand. Add the necessary amount of cement, one or two bags, depending upon the size of the mixer. Add more water as required, then the balance of the prescribed amount of sand, with additional water as needed to make a workable mix. Be very careful about adding the last bit of water because it is possible to add too much liquid and make a sloppy mix. The danger of adding excessive water is that it would lead to possible weakness in the plaster wall, plus formation of cracks or checking in the complete wall.

Allow the plaster to mix in the machine four or five minutes to gain full benefit from the air entraining agent interground with the plastic cement in the factory. Entrained air is beneficial in improving workability of plaster and reducing the water:cement ratio.


Finish Coat (often called the color coat):

The finish coat, which is the third coat of plaster normally applied by plasterers, is manufactured stucco. Stucco contains all the necessary ingredients to achieve the desired color and texture except for the addition of water at the job site. As is true of the two base coats, only enough water to achieve workability should be added; otherwise pigments may migrate, and the result will be a mottled wall.

Another problem related to excessive water in the finish coat is formation of fine check cracking.

One should be very careful when mixing colored stucco that the same amount of mix water always is added to each batch of stucco, to prevent color variation. It is important that the mixer and working tools be kept clean and free of contaminating mold, dirt, grease or other offensive materials.


The scratch coat should be the thickest of the three coats. If the amount of mix water is controlled properly, one can lay on a half-inch of scratch coat successfully. The first coat must be applied with sufficient material and pressure to solidly fill all openings in the lath. Allow the scratch coat to take up slightly before scoring the plaster lightly in the horizontal direction only. The score marks in the first coat should be shallow.

The brown coat is considered a dressing coat to help level the wall to good alignment, as well as to build the base plaster out to a thickness of three-quarters of an inch before allowing the brown coat to moist cure and then dry in preparation to receive the color coat. Please use a stable ladder when working in high areas.

The brown coat should be brought out to proper thickness; troweled, rodded and floated to a suitable surface, straight yet sufficiently rough to provide adequate bond for the finish coat. Compaction with a shingle float is beneficial. UBC requires that the brown coat be in place seven days before the finish coat is applied.

The plasterer will decorate the surface of the applied color coat with a textured finish, which may be a dash texture, sand float finish, mission texture or other attractive surface decoration. Cement plaster should not be troweled smooth, nor should it be overworked with the tools.

Minimum thickness of all three coats must be seven-eighths inch over frame construction.


Curing portland cement plaster is a matter of retaining enough water within the thickness of plaster to chemically hydrate the cement paste that provides strength and other attributes of plaster. Periodic moistening of the plaster is beneficial to keep water in the plaster membrane. Moistening should be done during the cooler periods of the day; in the morning, late afternoon and evening. If the wall is intensely hot, thermal shock with possible attendant cracking may occur when cold water strikes a hot wall.

Replacement of moisture in the wall by hosing is needed during hot weather, windy weather and during very cold weather. Moistening is necessary during very cold weather because cold air frequently is very dry air, and has the capability of drawing moisture out of the plaster at a rapid rate.

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How to Remodel a Bathroom

The Ultimate Guide to Remodeling a Bathroom

The bathroom in your home is one of the most highly used rooms in the entire home. If you haven’t changed anything in years, it may be time to change things up a bit. One great way to do this is to remodel the entire bathroom. This way you’re starting from a “clean slate” and can decide to go with a modern bathroom design, or something more traditional.

Not sure where to begin? Here are some steps and tips that can help you out if you want to know how to remodel a bathroom on your own.

Examine and Measure

The very first thing that you should do is examine the space you have and then take some accurate measurements of the area that you have to work with. It can also be a good idea to examine and measure adjoining rooms as well. In some cases you can get rid of a closet that is in the bathroom or adjoins the bathroom to add a bit more space. These measurements are going to be important, so make sure you do it carefully.

Then use graph paper to accurately put tine measurements onto some graph paper.

Draw Out the Bathroom

After you have the basics all drawn out on graph paper, the next thing you need to do is to draw out the rest of the bathroom. Draw out where you want to put in the bathroom fixtures, such as the sink, shower, toilet, and any other furniture you may want to add in. This way you have a layout to work from and you have a good idea of the space you are going to have for everything.

Choose a Design

No doubt you want to have a design for the bathroom. There are many different themes that you can choose from. Choose one that is going to go well with the rest of your home and one that will compliment the space you have available as well.

If you don’t have a large amount of space, don’t go with a dark theme. Instead, choose a lighter theme that will make the bathroom look bigger.

Also, make sure that you go with a design that you are going to like as well. You don’t want something you will quickly get tired of.

And no, maybe we all can’t have a bathroom like the one in the picture, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t upgrade what we have.

Pick Out Furniture and Fixtures

When it comes to how to remodel a bathroom, the next step is going to be to pick out furniture and fixtures. You already know how much room you have, and you have already picked your theme.

Ensure that the furniture you choose will fit in the room comfortably and make sure that you go with fixtures that are going to compliment the bathroom decor that you have chosen.

Of course there are many other things that go along with remodeling your bathroom, but if you want to know how to remodel a bathroom, these are some basic steps to get you started. Use them and you’ll be well on your way to a bathroom that looks great.

How Much Does it Cost To Remodel a Bathroom?

One thing you may be wondering is how much it costs to remodel a bathroom. Most people are really unaware what it will cost to totally remodel a bathroom, so being well informed on remodeling costs can be helpful.

Before you even start out with the bathroom remodeling, it is a great idea to figure out the budget you have available. No matter how much it costs to remodel a bathroom, you are only going to have a set budget, which means you will have to take the time to find out how much you can afford, and then what you can do with that amount of money.

Once you know your budget, then you should look into the cost of supplies for the remodeling project. Usually it’s a great idea to save about 15-20% of the budget you have for any emergency costs, since they do occur. You may need to think about the cost for having an electrician or plumber do any needed professional work.

In some cases you may be able to do a lot of the work on your own, such as decorating, tiling, and painting, but some projects like plumbing should be left to a professional if you don’t know what you are doing. This will impact the cost of the remodel.

If you are not sure of how much it costs to remodel a bathroom, there are some websites out there that can help. Some websites provide great estimating tools to help you get a close estimate of what they remodel will cost. There are various scenarios that you can choose from, such as bathroom size, location, supplies, and work, and when you answer these questions, they provide estimates to you on the cost to expect.

Doing your research is also going to be important if you want to know what it will cost you for this project. Talk to professionals in the business, talk to people who have done this project themselves, and even talk to helpful sales people that sell remodeling supplies. Just choosing between Liberty Ascent ii vs Saniflo toilets can be the difference of a few hundred dollars.

All this research can help you to find out more about the expected cost of the remodel.

Think about the cost of your supplies when you want to know how much it costs to remodel a bathroom. Consider the costs of flooring, sinks, showers, toilets, paint, bathtubs, and accessories. All of these costs will add up. Of course, the most important thing you can do is to properly do your research and plan out your remodel within your budget. This way you are aware of the costs and you can make adjustments to fit your budget needs.

How to Remodel a Small Bathroom

When it comes to how to remodel a small bathroom, you’ll definitely need to do a whole lot of planning. Not only will you want to make sure that you use your budget wisely, but you also need to have everything just so to make the best use of your space. It can be a bit difficult to remodel a smaller bathroom, but with a bit of effort and research, you can definitely make it work, creating an incredible small bathroom.

The first thing that you need to do is to reduce the size of your furniture and accessories within the small bathroom. If you use larger items within a bathroom that is on the small side, it will make it seem even smaller.

Using big laundry hampers, large shower stools, huge sinks, and crowding up your corners will only succeed in making the entire bathroom look smaller. Going with smaller sinks, smaller showers, or smaller accessories can make a huge difference, giving the look of more space within the small bathroom.

Wondering how to remodel a small bathroom? One of the simplest things you can do to make a big difference is to go with just a shower instead of having a tub in the bathroom. This helps to save a lot of space, providing you with more available space to work with. Adding glass sliding doors to the shower will give the appearance of a larger space too. Adding ShowerMeister waterfall showerheads also increases the water pressure so even in a small space you can get a luxurious shower experience.

Consider using sink and toilet fixtures that are smaller. There are tankless toilets available that take up very little room. You can even find small vanities, some that attach to the wall and some on a pedestal, that really will cut down on the space that you use. This too helps you to better use the space within the bathroom.

When considering how to remodel a small bathroom, simply adding in a large mirror can make a huge difference, especially with the right lighting. The reflection along with the light bouncing off the mirrors will make the space in the bathroom look much bigger for you. Adding in windows or skylights can further make your bathroom look larger than it really is.

Using colors that are light within your small bathroom is a must as well. The light colors open up the bathroom and make the space look larger for you. If you think that all light colors is boring, then add some touches of bright or dark colors here and there for a beautiful effect that makes your bathroom look bigger while looking trendy and beautiful at the same time.

How to Remodel a Master Bathroom

Tired of that old look in the master bathroom? Well, for a reasonable amount of money, you can make a huge impact with a remodel of this bathroom. However, you may wonder how to remodel a master bathroom for the best effects. The good news is that there are some great things you can easily do to make a huge difference within your master bathroom.

One thing you will want to do when you are remodeling your master bath is to increase the space that you have to work with. If you have any way to expand the bathroom, considering doing it. Adding a few extra feet of square footage within the bathroom can really open it up, giving you even more possibilities for you to work with.

You can put more windows in the bathroom as well, which will not really add space, but it will make the room look much bigger. If you don’t have the room for windows, a skylight can provide the same effect.

Wondering how to remodel a master bathroom? Well one great option is to add some storage areas to your bathroom. More than likely you have quite a few personal care products in the bathroom, and increasing the storage space can help you to better organize your bathroom. You can add in shelves, drawers, carts, or even cabinets to increase the space that you have for storage.

Changing the flooring in your master bathroom is a great choice when you are remodeling. One great choice in flooring is to go with ceramic tile, and natural tones will make your bathroom look larger. You can use throw rugs as accents and to keep your feet warm as well when you install ceramic tile.

One of the top priorities when you want to know how to remodel a master bathroom is to keep the bathroom very relaxing and comfortable. You can do this by using colors that are relaxing and calm. Perhaps choose neutral colors with splashes of color in the accessories that you choose. Use soft light with beautiful light fixtures for a relaxing setting. Even adding a nice chair in the bathroom can provide you with more comfort and the opportunity for relaxation.

Your master bathroom should be a place that you can relax and enjoy, but of course it should be functional as well. By adding extra space, new flooring, storage space, and making it a relaxing place to be, you really will have the bathroom of your dreams.

How Long it Takes to Remodel a Bathroom

If you have decided that you want to remodel your bathroom, one of the biggest questions you may have is how long it takes to remodel a bathroom. There are many people that have the idea that it will be a quick and easy task, but a real remodel can take quite a bit of time to complete.

Let’s take a look at various tasks that you may need to complete, how long they will take, and then how long the entire remodel will end up taking you if things go as planned.

The first thing to consider when trying to figure out how long it takes to remodel a bathroom is how long the demolition phase is going to take. This includes tearing out the old bathroom and any parts of it you don’t plan on using in the future. Usually this will take about two days, but if you have materials difficult to move or the bathroom is a second story one, then it can take a bit longer to get this phase completed.

Any carpentry you need done may take another couple days, but if you don’t have to fix the structure underneath, you can skip these two days. Getting the plumbing in is going to take 1-2 days as well, depending on if you are bringing in a toilet and tub. The electrical work then should only take about a day as long as you have a professional doing it.

The insulation will be a quick job, only taking about half a day, and then you have the drywall hanging and finishing, which will take about 2-3 days total. Now tilework can take quite a bit of time, especially because you have to give it time to dry. Usually it will take about three days to get this phase completed. The flooring will take a couple days, but if you to with tile floors, it can take a bit longer.

Then you have the cabinetry which will take about a day and the fixtures will also take about a day to get fixed up. Along the way you may also find you need a bit of extra time for other things that crop up in your remodeling project, which may add a couple of days to the process.

This all adds up to about 18 days, but this is only an estimate when it comes to how long it takes to remodel a bathroom. You do need to remember that things don’t always go as planned when you are doing a re modeling job. In fact, they rarely go as planned. Also, you need to remember if you are working on the remodel on the side, which is basically just in your spare time, then this can take a lot longer, since you’ll only have a few hours a day to work on the remodeling project. In this case it could take a month or more for you to complete this project.

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