How to Apply Stucco Lath

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Stucco is an exterior finish material that is popular for its versatility and ease of installation. Stucco can be applied over almost any surface, including masonry, wood and steel framing. The following steps will ensure that your experience with stucco is one that lasts.

Things You'll Need

  • Plywood sheathing
  • Zinc or galvanized 16-18G wire mesh
  • Waterproof building paper
  • Wood staples
  • 2" nails
  • Hammer
  • Install wood sheathing as a base. Use nails or screws to cover metal framing or wood siding with a layer of plywood. It is not necessary to install plywood sheathing when applying stucco over brick or block.

  • Apply a coat of building paper to waterproof the surface.

  • Secure a layer of building paper to the plywood sheathing. Do this using wood staples.

  • Overlap the paper by about 2" at the seams to ensure no moisture can seep through.

  • Use 16-18G wire mesh to install a metal lath coat.

  • Use 2" nails to secure the wire mesh to the building paper and plywood. Again, overlap the wire mesh a few inches to ensure there are no gaps.

  • Complete your nailing pattern.

  • Use 2" nails at a pattern of every 16" across and every 6" vertically. This will create maximum support for the lath as it carries the weight of the stucco.

  • Follow the directions on your stucco mixture to apply a scratch coat of stucco over the lath layer.

  • Apply a 1/4" coat to finish the job.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wire mesh with 1-2" openings works best for stucco application.
  • Don't neglect the final nailing pattern step. A few nails will hold the metal lath in place by itself, but may not support the final weight of the stucco.

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