How to Install Stucco Wire

Stucco wire, or wire lath, is installed before the first coat of stucco.
Stucco wire, or wire lath, is installed before the first coat of stucco. (Image: construction worker image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

Stucco wire, also called wire lath, is installed before applying the foundation coat of stucco to a surface. The wire acts as a support system to support the weight of the stucco and prevent the stucco from developing cracks during weather extremes or shifting as the building settles. Stucco wire is installed after edging materials.

Things You'll Need

  • Stucco wire
  • Corrosion resistant large-headed nails (7/16-inch head, 1-½ inches long)
  • Hammer
  • Wire cutters
  • Gloves

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Start at one side of the installation area. Wear gloves while handling the wire to prevent cuts. Place the stucco wire in position with the grid of the wire vertical and horizontal. Trim the wire around obstacles with wire cutters.

Create a “box” with four nails into studs near the center of the wire. Use a hammer to drive large-headed nails into the corners of four opposite corners with each of the starting four nails. The horizontal nails will be 16 inches apart on center. Install nails vertically approximately 10 inches above or below the first two nails. Keep the wire tight between the nails.

Choose one vertical row to install the first row of nails. Pull the wire tight against and either up or down from the original “box” in a single row, spacing the nails approximately 10 inches from the previous nail in the column.

Repeat the process with the opposite two vertical nails in the original “box.” Keep the wire tight between each nail by pulling the wire away from the original “box.”

Install a nail at the top and bottom of the space between the two original rows.

Repeat the process of pulling the wire tight and nailing into studs working with the next stud over from the original columns of nails. Complete one side and then the other, working with each stud next to the previously installed nails.

Place an additional piece of stucco wire on outside corners that extends from the first stud after each side of the corner. Begin nailing from the center on one side of the corner, fold the stucco wire over and pull to secure the other side of the corner. Always start nailing at the center. Pull the wire away from the centers and install a second row of nails at the first stud after each side of the corner.

Cut the wire for inside corners to prevent damage to the entire wall during shifting of the building. It is easier to repair damage in the corner than a crack that will occur on the whole wall as the building settles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Trim around outlets or other openings after installing stucco wire.
  • Make sure the stucco wire is tight between nails. Shifting wire will increase the potential for the stucco to crack over time.

References

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