A Uniform and properly installed Stucco system will make an effective barrier against pests like scorpions, termites, water damage, and dry rot. It can increase your home's appeal as well as protect your investment.
There are six main stucco finishes on the majority of most southwestern homes with conventional Stucco.
#1 Skip trowel: The most popular finish hides the most uneven surfaces. This is the most diverse texture with many signature differences. It can be applied in varying different densities, knocked down or smoothed over. It also can have a directional quality or applied in patterns such as diamond or fan patterns with usually a very lace like texture. One technique is indeed called Spanish Lace.
#2 Cat Eye: Is a semi-smooth finish with intermittent semi-circular voids left exposing part of the coat underneath usually about a foot and a half or more apart Also hides uneven surfaces.
#3 Monterey: Is a nearly multi-directional intermittently rough to smooth finish with ripples, easiest to successfully match. Hides uneven Surfaces
#4 Sand Finish: Uses finish mud that is generally mixed with certain uniform silica sand depending on how rough the final finish. It's applied with a trowel and a wet sponge or float used to bring out the sandy texture, "generally with a circular motion".
#5 Smooth Coat: Is a troweled on finish and is generally the most difficult to patch and shows imperfections more readily than most any finish. Think of body work on a car when smooth coat is applied or repaired.
#6 Dash: Is a sprayed on finish and is another of the most difficult to patch and repair. You need the proper equipment, technique, and material mix to get acceptable results.
Why does Stucco crack?
Excluding the usual culprits like settling issues and other internal/external forces. It is important to remember that the finish coat is primarily decorative, the base coat and the substrate must be considered for its structural integrity. The problem is expansion, contraction, and any shifting on the layer below the finish which is usually the cause of cracking on stucco surfaces. Most of the one coat systems in use today employ nylon and fiberglass to add flexibility to these surfaces. This flexibility is enhanced or defeated by using proper or improper techniques and installation procedures. Using either a brush, hard or soft float on the base coat after installation at the appropriate time in the setting or drying process can make all the difference.
Ever wonder why a house right next door has many more or less cracks than your house. A Plasterer's Trowel puts many pounds of force and pressure, thus compacting the Base Coat of the Stucco, if the pressure is not released by the "floating" process., the wall will have too much compaction, reducing it's flexibility to resist expansion and contraction, creating more cracks! Some jobs may not always get the same consistency of care for a variety of reasons including,"Maybe it was Friday" Rush Rush, lets hurry up and go have a beer.