How to Use Dryvit


For centuries, stucco has been a leading exterior cladding choice for commercial and residential buildings. Relatively easy to apply, resistant to bugs and moisture, and long-asting, stucco, which is a Portland cement mix, has understandably been the choice of many builders to handle their exterior finish details.

Dryvit is changing that--slowly but surely. Dryvit takes the best of stucco and combines it with a light-weight insulation system that greatly enhances the value of the system when compared to traditional stucco. Since Dryvit is installed over a type of Styrofoam backer, it is easy to create striking architectural details that surpass what is available with traditional stucco.

Things You'll Need

  • Sheathing
  • Trowel
  • EPS foam insulation
  • Cement adhesive
  • Fiberglass mesh
  • Topcoat
  • Exterior caulk
  • Apply the sheathing to the exterior wall. Sheathing for Dryvit is typically a paperless gypsum panel designed for exterior use such as DensGlass Gold by Georgia-Pacific. Plywood and oriented-strand board are sometimes used as well. The sheathing should be screwed in place and not nailed, following the manufacturers guidelines.

  • Adhere the expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation on top of the sheathing by using a trowel to apply the adhesive on the face of the sheathing and then pressing the EPS in place. This adhesive is commonly a Portland cement-based product that comes either pre-mixed or as a powder that requires the addition of water. EPS is a white Styrofoam product that is similar to the ubiquitous white coffee cups and is commonly available in 2-feet by 4-feet sheets.

  • Install the base coat which consists of a fiberglass-mesh that is adhered to the EPS with the same cement-based adhesive used to attach the EPS to the sheathing. Trowel on the adhesive and then embed the mesh. Trim any excess mesh with a utility knife.

  • Apply the topcoat with a trowel. Topcoats come premixed in one- and five-gallon buckets and are available in a variety of colors--although they can be easily painted once they are installed and cured.

  • Caulk any joints between the Dryvit and surrounding materials, such as brick or concrete. Use a quality outdoor caulk such as NP1 by BASF/Sonneborn.

Tips & Warnings

  • EPS comes in varying thicknesses, from 3/4-inch to 4-inches. The thicker the panel, the better the insulation value.
  • The fiberglass mesh used in the base coat ranges from 4-ounce to 20-ounce ratings, with higher ratings providing greater impact resistance.


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