The History of Stucco

The History of Stucco

April 26, 2021

Stucco has long been used as a sturdy, insulating exterior building covering. In fact, its use dates back to the ancient Greeks, Romans, Mesopotamians and other early cultures. Humans have been using this versatile material for over 9,000 years. Read on for an overview of the history of stucco and how it has evolved for today’s use in Bluffton, SC.

What is stucco?

Today, stucco is made with Portland cement, lime and water to create a thick paste that dries hard. Modern stucco is applied in a three-step process. First, a “scratch coat” is applied to the building, either to stone or to a wood-framed building covered in metal mesh. This typically consists of cement and sand. After it’s applied, it’s scratched to provide more area for the subsequent coats to bond.

Next, the leveling coat is applied. This is a thicker layer that’s made from cement, sand and lime and is smoothed out to create a uniform look. It’s left to cure for seven to 10 days before the third and final coat can be applied.

Finally, the color or finishing coat is installed. This can be textured or scraped smooth. The color coat can be dyed to create different color effects, or it can be left natural. When it dries, it offers a clean, uniform look that helps insulate and protect the building.

History of stucco

Stucco originated in several ancient cultures, including Greece, Rome and Mesopotamia, about 9,000 years ago. It was used in everything from building interiors and exteriors to art like sculptures and reliefs. Stucco was used for buildings as early as 1400 BCE. It adorns the walls of ancient buildings like the Great Mosque of Samarra and Egyptian tombs.

As stucco continued to be a popular building material, the ingredients changed. During the Middle Ages, medieval Europeans added substances like beer, hair, eggs and more to help the plaster adhere properly. It was often applied over brick or stone buildings to smooth the look of the walls.

Stucco today

Modern stucco uses Portland cement—a baked conglomeration of ground limestone, iron, clay and shale—to help bind the stucco together. When added to water, it reacts and creates a hard, durable substance.

Stucco is most often used in the American Southwest, thanks to its insulating and heat-reflecting properties. It bears a close resemblance to adobe, which makes it perfect for Southwestern-style architecture. However, homes throughout America are finished with stucco regardless of climate. It performs well in a number of different weather conditions, and lasts for decades.

Today, stucco can be dyed and texturized to create the exact look you want. If you’re considering a stucco exterior, you’ll be pleased with the results—not only will it make your home look great, but you can enjoy lower energy bills thanks to its great insulation.

For more about how stucco has evolved for today’s use in Bluffton, SC—or to book our stucco contractors—get in touch with the team at Spring Construction today. We’d love to discuss your project!

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