How Do I Apply Stucco over Brick?

B. Turner
B. Turner
A power washer may be used to clean brick.
A power washer may be used to clean brick.

Stucco is an exterior finish material made from sand, cement, and natural lime. This material offers a highly textured, versatile finish option for any type of surface, including brick and other forms of masonry. Builders and homeowners often apply stucco over brick or masonry walls to cover ugly or damaged surfaces. Because brick is so porous, the surface must be carefully prepared to ensure the stucco application will be successful.

Loose brick and mortar should be replaced before stucco is applied.
Loose brick and mortar should be replaced before stucco is applied.

The first step to applying stucco over brick is to add or repair flashing around doors and windows. Any incomplete or damaged flashings around these openings can lead to moisture damage after the stucco has been applied. Next, the walls should be cleaned to ensure all dust and contaminants have been removed. This is often accomplished by power washing or pressure washing. Finally, any major repairs should be complete, including replacing missing brick or mortar, or removing loose or crumbling sections.

When applying stucco on brick, it's helpful to wait for the right weather to avoid problems with freezing as the stucco dries. Apply a concrete bonding agent using a paint brush or roller, then allow this bonding agent to cure according to the manufacturer's instructions. This type of agent helps to seal the brick, allowing the stucco to bond securely.

Wet the entire wall with a garden hose before attempting to apply stucco over brick. Mix the stucco according to the instructions on the package, then use a trowel to apply the first coat to the wall. Start with a 1/4-inch (6.35 mm) scratch coat. After this coat has dried for a few hours, run a plasterer's rake over the stucco to create a lined texture.

Give the scratch coat one or two days to cure, then apply a second coat of approximately the same thickness. Use a trowel to vary the texture and create the desired appearance. Keep the stucco moist for the first week so it will dry slowly and resist cracking. Wait at least four to six weeks before attempting to paint fresh stucco.

While it's fairly easy to apply stucco over brick, it's often more of a challenge if the brick has been painted. Before attempting this type of application, sandblast the paint to reveal the raw surface of the brick. This increases the strength of the bond between the stucco and the wall surface. If sandblasting is not an option, add a metal lath to help the stucco better adhere to the brick.

How Long Does Stucco Last Over Brick?

A stucco overlay can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years, depending on how, when, and where it is placed. How long any stucco treatment lasts when placed over a brick surface depends on three major factors. First, the brick surface has to be prepared properly for the stucco to last. Second, the stucco needs to be applied correctly or it will not endure as long. Third, the location of the stucco can affect how long it remains.

Proper Preparation

If the brick surface is dirty, wet, crumbling, or moldy, the stucco layer on top will not last as long. It is important to clean, dry, and repair the underlying brick first to get the best seal and performance out of the stucco over it. If one does not take these initial steps in the stucco process, the stucco will likely fail and have to be redone much sooner. Even if the stucco lasts, it may not look good if the surface underneath is not sufficiently ready. Dirty, wet, moldy, or broken brick surfaces underneath can cause bumps, discolored spots, or undesired patterns and lines in the stucco.

Correct Application

One also has to apply the stucco correctly for it to look good and stand the test of time. Stucco works best and lasts the longest when it is applied thickly and evenly. It should be applied during warm, dry conditions rather than cold or hot and humid ones as well to help its endurance. Finally, applying the stucco in multiple steps and layers also helps ensure its longevity.

Location

Though stucco layers over brick tend to last longer than natural brick, they do still deteriorate over time. Where the stucco is located can make years of difference as well. Indoor stucco applications often last longer than outdoor applications, especially when they are in a temperature-controlled environment. Harsh weather conditions like wind, rain, snow and high humidity can erode stucco away faster. Indoor stucco that is protected from these elements usually lasts longer. The general climate of the area also plays a role in how long stucco lasts. Dry, arid climates preserve stucco best overall, while hot humid climates with large amounts of precipitation tend to be the worst.

How Much Does It Cost To Put Stucco Over Brick?

In general, stucco costs more than brickwork but less than natural stone. On average, a person can expect to pay about seven dollars per square foot to apply stucco, though some applications cost as little as four or as much as ten dollars per square foot. Stucco's overall cost depends on the preparation work required, the type of stucco used, the location of the stucco, and the reason for its use.

The more preparation needed, the more expensive the whole process might be. Power washing, repair, and mold removal can make a stucco project a lot more expensive to complete. Some stucco base materials cost more than others as well, so a person can spend more or less depending on what type they chose to use. For example, natural stucco is usually less expensive than synthetic stucco, but it is also somewhat less durable and has a more distinct look to it. Outdoor stucco and stucco used for insulation purposes also tend to be more expensive as they often require larger quantities of stucco material to achieve the same longevity and look.

How Does Stucco Over Painted Brick Work?

When placing stucco over painted brick the process requires a few extra steps to ensure the durability and desired appearance of the stucco. Painting brick usually changes the brick surface from absorbent to impermeable and the stucco will not bond as well to a painted surface. To obtain the right stucco look and function, the paint mostly has to be removed. This means that before the stucco can be applied, the brick will need to be sanded down to reveal the natural brick surface under the paint. After the sanding process, the brick will then need to be cleaned and given time to dry before the stucco can go on.

If a person chooses to forgo this step, the stucco will likely fall away more quickly and have to be redone more often. The color of the paint may also make this process more difficult and expensive. Darker colors can be much harder to cover over, thus the stucco layer will usually need to be thicker to sufficiently cover it up. Usually, it is best to apply stucco over natural, clean, dry brick surfaces to achieve optimal stucco longevity and look.

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    • A power washer may be used to clean brick.
      By: AlcelVision
      A power washer may be used to clean brick.
    • Loose brick and mortar should be replaced before stucco is applied.
      By: Stihl024
      Loose brick and mortar should be replaced before stucco is applied.