How Do I Attach Metal Lath to Wood Framing for Stucco Coating?


Erecting a stucco wall is a fairly lengthy process that can provide an aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound surface. You must install stucco stops, building paper, flashing and control joints, in that order, before applying stucco. Small jobs, such as covering an interior fireplace with stucco, only requires the installation of building paper as a moisture barrier. The final step before laying out the stucco material is to attach the metal lath, which provides the stucco with a firm and solid surface to which it can adhere.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal lath
  • 2-inch corrosion-resistant, wide-head roofing nails
  • Tin snips
  • With tin snips, cut the metal lath to fit the project area. Cutting the lath into workable sections is acceptable as long as each piece of lath overlaps adjacent pieces by a minimum of 2 inches. Position the lath against the wall so that the lath feels rough as you run your hand down the surface and smooth with an upward movement.

  • Hammer two roofing nails 8 inches apart in a vertical line near the bottom center of the lath angled down and to the left of center. Position each nail within the lower-left corner of one of the square openings in the lath.

  • Repeat, with two nails positioned similarly but to the right of center and angled down and to the right. This creates the start of a second column of nails.

  • Hammer nails upward from the start of the two columns spaced every 8 inches. Angle the nails away from the center of the sheet of lath.

  • Hammer more nails in vertical columns spaced 8 to 10 inches apart working outward from the center of the metal lath, with the nails angled down and away from the center of the lath.

  • Drive in nails for the final columns along the last vertical strip, both sides of the section.

  • Erect additional sections as necessary making sure each section of lath tucks into the stucco stops above and below the area. Cut the lath as necessary for a proper fit.

Tips & Warnings

  • Stucco stops, which are long J-shaped channels nailed to the wall above and below the area for the stucco, and building paper are necessary for larger walls to create the proper moisture barriers. Flashing is metal strips along roof lines and above window or door frames used to channel water away from the wall. Control joints allow for wall joints, such as the joint between floor joists and the wall, to expand. Flashing and control joints are not required but are helpful. All four portions of installing a stucco wall must be installed before attaching the metal lath to the wood framing for large walls. Interior walls or small sections do not require the additional elements.

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  • Photo Credit stucco texture image by MAXFX from
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