How to Install & Apply Stucco to a Backer Board


Stucco is a mortarlike coating applied to a house’s exterior to create a strong, long-lasting, weather-resistant coating that can be painted or allowed to weather naturally. While stucco can be applied directly to many surfaces, for maximum durability a specially designed backer board is usually installed against the existing wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife
  • Power screwdriver with Phillips-head bit
  • Coated backer-board screws
  • Cement bonding agent
  • Stucco
  • Bucket
  • Finishing trowel
  • Plasterer’s rake
  • Brush or sponge
  • Measure and cut backer board to fit the application. Score the backer board with the utility knife, place the scored line on a hard, straight-edge surface, such as the edge of a board, and push to snap off. Finish cutting the paper backing with the knife.

  • Attach the backer board with backer-board screws and a power screwdriver. For exterior walls, install backer board over foam-sheet insulation. Make certain the screws go at least ½ inch into the wall, past the board and sheet insulation.

  • Apply a cement bonding agent to the backer board and allow to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Mix the stucco according to the manufacturer's instructions and apply a primary “scratch” coat with a trowel. Work in a straight line, one wall at a time, to minimize lines. Allow it to harden slightly and finish by smoothing with a plasterer’s rake. Allow the scratch coat to cure for 48 hours.

  • Dampen the scratch coat and apply final ¼-inch-thick finish coat with the finishing trowel. Texture as desired with a brush, sponge or trowel. Allow at least six weeks before painting.


  • Photo Credit window against white stucco wall image by Bo Widerberg from
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