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Builder's Guide to Stucco Lath & Plaster
Book w/ CD-ROM

Builder's Guide to Stucco Lath & Plaster


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Builder's Guide to Stucco Lath & Plaster

By: Max Schwartz, Walter Pruter

Stucco is a durable, low-maintenance exterior surface widely used on homes throughout the world.

This practical manual covers every aspect of stucco design, construction and repair.

You’ll find techniques for attaching stucco to wood frames, steel frames, sheathed material, or masonry. Includes step-by-step instructions on how to install flashing, corner beads, casing beads, control joints, weather-resistant barriers, exterior insulation systems, and one-coat stucco systems.

Shows the recommended method for mixing and applying stucco, both manually and by machine, and illustrates techniques for producing different textures and for creating decorative plaster work such as implants and molds. Explains how to estimate labor and material costs for stucco, as well as equipment rental fees. Also includes practical instructions for stucco maintenance and repair.

COMPANION CD-ROM - The book includes a CD-ROM with the complete text in Adobe PDF format, for jobsite reference and quick word search. (There is no print feature on the CD-ROM.)


1. Stucco Basics, 1

What is Stucco?, 1
The "Foundation", 2
Base/ Subsurface, 2
Plaster Coats, 4
Stucco Application Checklist, 6

2. Base/Substrate Preparation and Flashing, 9
Importance of the Base, 9
Are You Ready?, 10
Masonry/Concrete Construction, 11
Wood/Metal Frame Construction, 18
Flashing, 22
"Accessories" Are Not Optional, 28
Galvanized vs. Zinc, 31
Metals vs. Plastics, 31
Seals and Caulking, 31
Control Joints, 32
Beads, 36
Grounds / Base Screeds / Weep Screeds, 36
Integration of Accessories, Lath and Barrier, 37
The Weather-Resistant Barrier, 43
Felt, Kraft Paper or House Wrap?, 43
Installing the Barrier, 46
Lath, 49
Metal Lath to Wood Framing, 49
Metal Lath to Metal Framing (Using Screws), 50
Metal Lath to Concrete and Concrete Masonry, 50
Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), 55
One-Coat Stucco Systems, 60

3. Plaster Mixes, 63
Different Coats = Different Mixes, 63
Portland Cement, 63
Sand, 64
Water, 64
Precautions While Working with Cement, 65
Mixing Scratch & Brown Coats, 66
Mixing the Finish Coat, 68

4. Applying Plaster, 71
How Many Coats?, 71
Is the Weather Right?, 72
Are You Ready?, 73
Hand or Machine Application?, 74
Machine Placement and Set-Up, 75
Application Patterns, 80
Application Techniques, 81
The First (Scratch) Coat, 81
The Second (Brown) Coat, 83
The Final (Finish/Texture) Coat, 86
How Thick?, 86

5. Plaster Finishes, 89
The Final (Finish/Texture/Color) Coat, 89
Preparing the Surface, 90
Texture Finish Choices, 90
Achieving Finish Textures, 96
Built- In Color, 98
To Paint or Not to Paint?, 98

6. Decorative Stucco, 101
Shapes attached to stucco (plant-Ons or Implants), 102

7. Properties of Plaster, 105
Structural Strength, 105
Plaster in the Northridge Earthquake, 109
Thermal Properties, 112
Insulating Qualities, 112
Fire-Resistive Properties, 113
Water-Resistance, 121
Acoustic Properties, 122
The Acoustics of Typical Walls, 123

8. Cost Estimating, 125

9. Stucco Maintenance and Repair, 135
Identifying Damage, 135
Paper and Lath Repair, 137
Cleaning Plaster, 141
Refinishing or Changing the Color, 143

10. Glossary, 145

11. Associations and Major Manufacturers, 157

12. References / Bibliography, 165


A. History of Stucco, 169

B. Cement Manufacture, 179

C. Governing Codes and Specifications, 185

D. Scaffolding and Safety, 231

E. Stucco and Related Details, 247

INDEX, 279

About the Authors:

Max Schwartz
Since serving in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, principal author Max Schwartz has worked as a consulting civil and mechanical engineer. Licensed in several states, he's worked jobs from small residential developments to major industrial facilities, from the California suburbs to the Central American rainforest.

A recognized authority with extensive experience, Mr. Schwartz has lectured and taught civil engineering at UCLA Extension, and is the author of several standard references on engineering and concrete construction.

Walter F. Pruter
A recognized expert in the industry, Walter F. Pruter currently serves as president of the International Institute for Lath & Plaster ( a national effort to provide accurate information on lath and plaster construction), as well as a Senior Consultant to the Western Wall and Ceiling Contractors, Technical Services & Information Bureau, and is a Co-Director of the Lath, Plaster & Drywall Information Bureau.

Mr. Pruter authored the Plaster and Drywall Systems Manual, has edited a number of coursebooks on plaster and stucco and has contributed noteworthy articles to several magazines and journals.

284 Pages - 8-1/2x 11 in.


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