Stucco thickness

Anyone have any idea if there is a code requirement or specification of how thick the “stucco” finish is supposed to be on a block wall. Keep in mind that none of the builders around here actually do stucco anymore. They put a coat of cement on the wall and then texture it. In fact most plans do not even say stucco any longer, they call it a cementitious finish.

That said, a customer pointed out that on his home under construction, after the “stucco” was applied, you can still see the mortar joints in the block. Is there a standard that would compel the builder to make the finished coat on the block wall thicker?

These photos are after the home was painted and you can still see the mortar joints.

You’re in Florida… give your local stucco (expert) a call… Meeker Industries!

Saw one like that this week. Looked real nice. Not just gooped on in places. When painted it comes out real nice

No. If anything, it will be in found in the finishes section of the FBC. To my knowledge, the only thing to go by is industry standards and plan specifications.

I can’t think of anything in the code other than for true stucco, which you can’t find anymore. The plans normally only say “cementitious finish”. They used to say stucco until Orange county started checking thicness on wood framed walls. Then the architechs changed the plans and took the word “stucco” off.

As Reece stated above I do not believe there is a code we always go for close to what the specs call for on the plans. Usually around 1/2" to 5/8" is what they are looking for. The real idea is just to get the wall straight. Too thick and it cracks too thin and you see everything. what you see is because the way it dried the moisture in the Stucco gets pulled out at different rates from the block and the morter between the blocks. The best way to avoid it is with a nice Scratch coat followed by a brown coat followed by finish. Some think it should dry out between scratch and brown. I personally “think” it is a little sturdier when not bone dry before the brown coat. We used to have a scratch inspection where the inspector would come out and check to see if all holes in wire were filled and all cement and block was covered but that has not been required in my area for some time.

** Below is a scope from a job I did not get Hope it helps. Every builder writtes up their own scope for the Subs to follow**. NOTE THE DAMP CURE I HAVE NOT GOTTEN A PROJECT IN A WHILE BUT I NEVER SEE ANYONE DO IT PROPERLY> AT BEST THEY SPRAY THE HOUSE ONCE WITH A HOSE

TRADE: Stucco

  1. Provide all labor, materials, job site material and conveyance, tools, equipment and supervision to
    complete the turnkey wire lath and stucco application at the houses noted herein, according to: the
    approved plans and specifications; the material manufacturer’s recommendations; general industry
    standards; the Contractor’s requirements for fit and finish, applicable governmental agency codes, rules,
    regulations, ordinances, directives, etc. and according to but not limited to the following detailed Scope
    of Work provisions, listed below.
  2. Provide and apply a bonding agent, suitable for the purpose, to all concrete surfaces that are to be
    plastered. Bonding agent shall be applied no more than 20 hours prior to stucco application.
  3. Provide and install all galvanized wire lathe in accordance to local building codes, using corrosion
    restraint fasteners.
  4. Apply to all exterior masonry or concrete surfaces, a two (2) coat stucco application with a total
    minimum thickness of ½”, which includes a scratch coat, a 2nd coat and a textured, scored, finish coat (as
    specified). Sufficient drying time shall be used between applications of successive stucco coats. The final
    coat application has to be done wall by wall, top to bottom, within the same application period to avoid
    break lines in the final coat pattern.
    Outside vertical walls to have stucco applied below finished floor slab at least 10”. This includes walls at
    exterior of the garage.
  5. Provide and install aluminum soffit vents as required per plans and applicable code.
  6. Provide all equipment and manpower required to hoist and convey all materials at job site.
  7. Be responsible for handling, distribution and security of all Subcontractor related materials and
  8. Provide and erect any and all scaffolding as may be required. Scaffolding shall conform with all
    applicable OSHA related safety regulations.
  9. Apply a skim coat-light texture or float finish to the inside of garage walls and risers. Subcontractor to
    include 2nd coat at garage walls and ceiling, if necessary, to provide 1 hour fire rating. Garage walls to be
    floated smooth or finished with a light texture as noted in the ‘Standard Specifications’. The garage floor
    protective covering, installed by others, shall be removed by the Subcontractor and the debris moved to a
    location on the lot for trash pick-up. Trash pick-up by others.
  10. Wipe down all electrical conduit on garage walls to remove excess stucco in a manner acceptable to the
  11. Protect all adjacent work (aluminum frames, windows, doors, glass, finished concrete surfaces and all
    hose bibs, etc.) by using drop cloths and plastic self sticking film, and shall clean up all floors, doors, door
    frames, etc. of excess material deposits caused by the subcontractor.
    Soffit vents also are to be protected using a suitable material which shall be left applied until removed by
  12. Apply window and exterior glass door protection using self adhesive plastic film suitable for the purpose.
    Plastic film shall be provided by the Subcontractor and applied on the exterior of all windows and glazed
    exterior doors. Plastic is to remain on windows and taken down by the paint subcontractor.
  13. Adhere to ASTM C926 specification as required by the most recent edition of the FBC.
  14. Ensure that all corner bead and plaster stop shall be plastic. Corner bead shall be applied at all
    door/window openings and building corners as required by the Contractor using rust resistant fasteners or
    adhesive suitable for the purpose.
    Page 2 of 3
    Contractor’s Initials: ____
    Subcontractor’s Initials: ____
  15. Install plaster stop above metal roof counter flashing to provide straight edge at wall areas above the roof
    where the stucco application meets the metal roof flashing. Plaster stop shall be installed to form all the
    exterior building banding unless other materials are specifically note on the approved plans. Stucco
    banding shall protrude a minimum of ½” from the face of the finished wall.
  16. Install ‘caulking groove’in stucco at perimeter of all window and exterior door frames to allow for
    application of a proper caulking bead. Caulking by others.
  17. Provide and install Styrofoam banding, mouldings, appliqués, outlookers, etc. per plans using pre
    manufactured hard coat finished styrofoam profiles (approved by the Contractor), applied after the
    scratch coat. Hard coat foam material shall be applied to the structure using an adhesive suitable for the
    purpose. Sample of finish to be submitted to the Contractor for approval.
  18. Provide and install at all exterior wood framed walls paperbacked wire lathe installed with corrosion
    resistant fasteners approved for the purpose. Wire lathe shall have a (2) coat stucco application applied
    using a scratch coat and a final coat to a minimum stucco thickness of 1/2".
  19. Prior to the application of cementitious plaster, provide and install Clinton clothe or other suitable wire
    mesh material properly fastened and lapped over all joints of dissimilar structural materials, i.e. masonry
    to concrete or wood to concrete. In addition a suitable pvc expansion joint material shall also be installed
    horizontally along all junctures between wood and CBS/concrete exterior walls, as required.
  20. Provide and install stucco stop as required at outside edge of ceramic tile address numbers for each home,
    if shown in the ‘Standard Specifications’. Ceramic tile numbers provided and installed by others.
    Location and dimensions of said area to be provided by the Contractor.
  21. Provide and install exterior decorative appliqués at front of homes per plans.
  22. Provide and maintain a full labor and material warranty for all “sales models”, which shall be extended
    through the completion of the community build out.
  23. Provide a damp cure for 24 hours between coats.
  24. Ensure that any cracks in block will be filled with mortar and lathed to prevent future cracking.
  25. Provide and install PVC control joint material (Vinyl Corp or approved equal) along all horizontal and/or
    vertical planes of large areas of cementitious plaster for stress relief as required in ASTM C-1063,
    Installation section. Control joint installation shall be according to the manufacturer’s recommendations
    using corrosion resistant fasteners and non water based caulking or vinolox type material behind all joints.
    Perform the wire lathe and stucco application at the community common area amenities in accordance with the
    approved plans and Standard Specifications listed herein, to be superseded only by the details shown on the
    approved plans.

FBC is 5/8" for block and 7/8" for frame with lath. At least that is how I remember it. Neither one is followed much by the installer.

There are standards for it, if its not in the F.B.C. there is an A.S.T.M standard, which is a nominal 3/8" for a two coat finish. Either way if you can see the block outline it ain’t right.

It is not the installer it is the builder. Believe me you do or are close to whatever the builder has in the specs or you end up redoing a project.

Architects dream up all kinds of crap and to get the job you do as directed or do not get the job or get tossed off it.

Lately I have seen quality control plummet because the builders only now care about price and realize they cannot be sticklers or they will not get fools to do the work for the prices they are doing it for. It used to be about service and quality. It is no longer that way.

In the last 6 + years quality and more importantly saftey has taken a very distance 2nd and 3 rd place to price.

Sad but true.

Maybe once I get in on the builder side i’ll be able to affect change. It may just be sooner than later :slight_smile:

Minimum stucco thickness over wood backing is 7/8" 3 coats.

Minimum stucco thickness over wood block is 1/2" 2 coats.

Thank you for the responses. You have been a big help.

Would it be too much to ask for Pre-primed fascia trim?;):slight_smile:

The FBC2010 references ASTM C 926. The portland cement association has that data clearly stated here PCA.

Good stuff, here is more…

Stucco Guide


Good stuff, here is more…

Stucco Guide](

Stucco Thickness Table.pdf (98.9 KB)

03/25/13 update
a keeper, imo


All good information. Thanks all.

Keep us posted on what happens.

and you as well :mrgreen: