History Of Stucco
Stucco is a popular choice when you want to add extra character to your home’s exterior. From flashy art deco mansions to quaint English cottages to rustic Italian villas, stucco has been spotted on a variety of architectural styles over the years. Ancient builders managed to create structures that survived for centuries and the durability is largely thanks to stucco.
We can trace the history of stucco back to Italy, where builders would apply plaster to brick and wood exteriors. The trend spread across Europe and the Middle East and later reached the western world with the arrival of British architects in the early 19th Century. Stucco was quickly embraced as the “poor man’s stone” because it was inexpensive and could be applied to mimic the look of stones or masonry.
The first stucco facades were made with a mix of lime, sand, and crushed marble. Sometimes the mixture included unusual ingredients like salt, beer, wax, varnish or sugar. Early stucco colors were based on the tint of the sand used in the mix or added mineral pigmentation. It was only in the last century that stucco became available in manufactured mixes with a variety of colors and application methods.
Modern stucco offers a tough exterior facade for homes that is highly durable even in challenging conditions. It has been used around the world in places with blazing heat, frequent rain and even freezing temperatures. In areas where earthquakes are common, people have often relied on cement stucco applied over wire or metal lath to provide stability.
Over the years, the design of stucco has changed subject only to the imagination of home builders and creative architects. You can find stucco used on many types of architecture including Tudor, Tuscan, hacienda and modern styles. Cement stucco applications are a top choice in outdoor theme parks because it is highly durable even with exposure to the elements.
Stucco can be applied to create a variety of textures and visual aesthetics. By changing the size of the aggregate and the consistency of the mix, you can easily manipulate the look of stucco and use it with numerous application techniques. Adding texture to a plaster surface can create depth, the appearance of segmentation, or even give the façade of different materials. Stucco can be applied to mimic the look of wood timbers or stones or even bricks. There are unlimited color options, making it perfect to provide a decorative finish that eliminates the need for painting and lasts for years. Stucco color is achieved by adding pigments into the mix.
Application methods have evolved over the years and modern stucco installation is done by hand and by machine. You can transform the look of an older home quickly by adding stucco over brickwork or concrete walls. It can even be applied directly to frame construction with a little help from a water-resistant barrier and a lath.
A look back across history makes it clear that stucco is one of the most durable building materials that also offers plenty of opportunities for creative expression in architecture.