How difficult to stucco?

Hiya, I'm in the process of building an adobe courtyard wall at my house. I intend to have it stucco'ed when it's complete. I do 99% of all the work at my house myself (I didn't pump the septic system myself or it would have been 100% :) ). Initially I thought about hiring someone to do the stucco work as I've never worked with it before. But then as I continue on with the wall, I'm beginning to think about doing it myself to save a bit of $$. I have a high respect for plasterer's as I have never managed to get the hang of plastering. To me, it seems like a real art. Am I crazy to consider this? I would be going with the standard 3 coat application (scratch, brown, finish) if that means anything. Just curious. Cheers, cc
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Its not a problem doing the first two coats. I bought sacks of 'ready to use' stucco at H/D and it went on my concrete block courtyard wall nicely. Where the problem comes in for a newbie is the texture of the finish coat and getting it uniform across the wall. I tried to get one of the stucco finishers that did our home or one of the neighbors' but they couldn't get excited about such a small job. I waited for 2 months, then finally did it myself.
R
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Thanks! I kind of figured the base coats wouldn't be a problem. The house, which I'm trying to match, has a texture that I think I'll try to avoid duplicating. I worry as well whether someone would want to come in and just do a finish coat. Seems to me, as you found out, they'd prefer to do the entire job, not just the finish coat.
Heck, it might be nice for once to watch someone else working in the 100 degree heat so I think I'll just farm that portion out. Cheers, cc

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James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

Ayup. Scratch, brown, finish is a traditional stucco application.
If it's of any size and you do this yourself I'd would stay away from the pre-mixed crap (and any advice from Rudy). Much more economical to have a supply yard bring you all of the raw materials. Just let them know how big it is and they'll calc the quantities for you.
I recommend you talk to a local pro first. You may find one willing to give you lots of advice. This is handy as well: http://www.cement.org/bookstore/profile.asp?itemid 049
Post back if you need more advice.
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Stucco ain't hard. Trouble is, just like a thousand other DIY projects, you learn so much on the first job, and make some common mistakes. If you had ten stucco jobs to do, the tenth would look the best, and you would learn a lot of pitfalls and shortcuts on the other nine.
But, you only do one every few years, so don't get the proficiency you would if you fool with it all the time.
Buy some books or get some at your local library. Read all you can in advance, and ask, as here, questions.
Have all your materials and people lined up before you open the first sack. That stuff dries, and it doesn't wait for you to catch up.
It ain't rocket surgery, and if you botch it up too bad, you just put on another coat. I have seen them here in Las Vegas with all sorts of textures and patterns.
Good luck. You're taking the right approach by trying to learn as much as you can first.
Steve
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No offense, but love the mixed metaphor...
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writes:

Thanks. You made my day. I don't get a lot of people who catch it, given the NewSpeak of today.
Steve
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Thanks guys, I think I'm gonna just test the waters with getting some quotes for having this done for me. As I said, I'm worried more about the texturing part than anything else. I'll price out materials only as well and if the difference isn't too bad, I'll pay to have it done. Otherwise, yet another skill to learn! I do work by myself on everything so this could be more of a hassle than necessary. I had heard the stuff dries out pretty quickly which means I'd have to mix very small batches which means, more time. Anyway, I'm a ways off from finishing the adobe wall so I've got some time (whether my back does is another story!). Cheers, cc

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Sounds reasonable to me. Sometimes, it is just easier (and cheaper) in the long run to have a pro do it. They're in, they're out, they're gone.
I do welding. For a $100 job, I might bring $25,000 worth of equipment to your house. It is cost efficient to have someone else do things sometimes instead of renting/buying component parts, and then doing it with little experience.
You are going to have to look at that topcoat of stucco for a very long time. You want it right.
Steve
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