We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How do I Finish Stucco?

By John Kearns
Updated May 16, 2024
Our promise to you
HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At HomeQuestionsAnswered, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

There are a couple of things to consider when it comes time in a home construction or home improvement project to finish stucco, whether interior or exterior. Finishing stucco could refer to the final curing process involved in making the wall coating durable and long-lasting, or it could refer to texturing the cement to create a particular design. In either case, the process of finishing stucco is relatively easy, although it does take time.

Stucco, made of silica, lime, and cement, is popular as a finishing surface on both interior and exterior walls. It can be both functional — covering an entire wall — and decorative — used as a trim or accent, whether simple or elaborately detailed. Its popularity stems from its flexibility, relative ease of use, and durability. Its ability to accept a variety of colors is popular with homeowners looking for a home exterior color outside a basic color palette.

The process necessary to finish stucco is relatively easy, but it has multiple steps. After the first coat of stucco is applied, it must be allowed to dry for several days, though a periodic misting of water is necessary for the layer to set properly and avoid cracking. That coat of stucco is then scratched to help the finishing coat adhere, and the top coat is applied. It is to this top coat that color is added, if desired, before application. What happens at this point depends on how the homeowner wants his house to look when complete.

Some homeowners prefer to finish stucco with a smooth texture that can be accomplished by using a steel trowel to create an overall flat surface. Other homeowners want a bit more of a design element included, so they finish stucco with one of dozens of decorative textures. These include textures known as laces, dashes, and floats, to name a few. Some textures used to finish stucco require that the undercoat be completely covered by the top coat, while others need a bit of the undercoat showing through.

Such textures can be accomplished using a variety of tools, though many use only a simple trowel to apply and smooth the stucco as necessary. Others styles used to finish stucco require that one use a steel joint rod or comb to scrape the top coat. A float — a flat object that can be used to flatten stucco before a trowel is used — also can play a role in achieving the desired end result.

Once you have finished your stucco project by achieving the desired texture, there are still a few steps to finishing the overall job. Just as with the undercoat, the top coat requires several days of drying — with the occasional misting to ensure that the product sets properly — to fully cure. While it's easy to add the desired color to the top coat before applying it and paint is not necessary to protect the stucco finish, anyone wishing to paint their stucco is advised to wait several months after application before doing so. This gives any remaining moisture in the stucco time to escape and prevents that moisture from creating bubbles that will cause the paint to begin peeling.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon140007 — On Jan 06, 2011

The first coat in a stucco application is the one that should be "scratched" such that the following thicker brown coat will adhere later. The second coat is the "brown" coat which evens out the uneven surfaces. The final coat is the color coat.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

HomeQuestionsAnswered, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.