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What is Stucco Foam?

C.L. Rease
C.L. Rease

Trim and accent pieces constructed of stucco foam add personal touches to a stucco-sided home without specialized tools or knowledge of stucco required for installation. Stucco foam trim begins with an internal wire mesh support structure that might be made out of fiberglass or steel wire mesh. Rigid foam covers the support structure to add shape to the wire mesh. A stucco-like coating makes the foam match stucco. Proper installation and protection ensure that a piece of installed stucco foam remains in place and sound for its designed life expectancy.

Applying stucco foam requires no specialized concrete fasteners. Construction adhesive applied to the flat mounting surfaces — located on unfinished side of the foam — provides a structural connection approved for even the strictest hurricane codes. The glued piece of foam will require support until the adhesive cures for the time specified by the construction adhesive manufacturer. Unprotected stucco foam requires protection from moisture while the adhesive cures to ensure that the foam material is not saturated. Water saturation inhibits the construction adhesive from bonding to the foam and causes certain types of stucco foam to break down.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Covering the foam during the construction glue curing period with plastic provides adequate temporary protection against water intrusion. Permanent protection requires the application of an exterior paint. Interior paints break down when exposed to moisture and ultraviolet (UV) light. Oil-based exterior paints with a UV protectant will keep moisture from damaging stucco foam.

Like natural stucco, routine inspection of the paint covering the material ensures the greatest life expectancy. Chipped paint or deep scratches in the paint remove the protecting ability of the paint. Early damage detection ensures that the top coating of the foam remains intact. If the top coat fails, the foam will lose its stucco appearance and require replacing. Removing damaged foam damages both natural and synthetic stucco, because the construction adhesive used to install the foam breaks the bond between the stucco and the structural material holding stucco to the house.

Proper care and maintenance will keep stucco foam structurally sound and looking good for the life of a house. Should minor denting or cutting damage occur, an authorized repair company should be contacted to fix and reseal the foam. The longer the damage remains exposed to the elements, the more the damage that will occur to the internal wire mesh support structure. When the support structure fails, the foam trim will need replacement before water intrudes into the stucco applied to the house.

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