At Last, Stucco Prep

It’s happening, people! But it’s happening very slowly. No stucco yet! I should have known after it took 7 weeks to get fiber cement siding onto the bay in 2014.


First, we had to flash around the patio door. This is one of those “Why didn’t I do this sooner?” jobs. We used ProtectoWrap, which I had left over from the back bedroom windows 4 years ago. Also note that I’ve chipped off loose bits of that beautiful green stucco.


Any wood frame construction requires a water resistive barrier, either a house wrap like TyVek or tar paper. You need 2 layers for stucco though because it can bond to the top layer, so only the bottom layer functions as a moisture barrier. But before we get to that, a super important step is fancy casing around the door. One (partial) layer of tar paper went up first as the tar paper layer should be continuous over the whole wall and overlap the flashing. I used the same 1×4 and back band as on the windows upstairs, partly because I had back band left over.


But it needed to jut out beyond the patio door’s aluminum jamb, so there are rips of 3/4″ marine grade plywood under the casing. The stucco will be thick enough to hide these.


I’ll caulk the door jamb cleanly to the molding and fill the screw holes… at some point.


We had a pleasant surprise hanging the tar paper. The Irishman taught me to hang drywall with glue and roofing nails. I figured that meant roofing nails would again be the best thing to hang the tar paper and lathe, but the brick is too hard to drive them in. That meant a surprise Home Depot run to buy more masonry nails.

Now, you may be wondering why this is a good thing. It goes back to one of my more unpleasant experiences in the bad old days when the house was a mess. I laminated rigid foam insulation and drywall up to the original solid plaster-on-brick exterior walls, but the brick was so soft I couldn’t get nails to grab into it. So I abandoned this job for a year. The aggravation recurred when I hung drywall and woodwork. I ended up using weights to hold my woodwork in place while the Liquid Nails dried.


Anyways, I’m glad to know I can nail up the lathe. But the next step to install stucco correctly is a weep screed, which finishes the bottom and allows any moisture trapped between the stucco and the tar paper to drain out. I installed mine level, which means it nearly touches the ground at one end and there’s a huge gap at the other. Eventually I want to rip out the concrete slab and put down a level surface, probably done with permeable pavers so I can get a subsidy from the government. I’ll add a frieze at the bottom made of cellular PVC since I can embed that into the ground and there will never be moisture problems with it.


Now Saturday was my dad’s birthday, and my mom went to a wedding without him due to a mix-up with the invitaitons. He was glad to miss it and work with me instead. My sister then planned a surprise trip down from Boston, which made his birthday a lot less lame. But check this out, he was too busy working to… react.

Anyways, I’ll be out of town next weekend. That means that this project can keep moving forward at a snail’s pace. Maybe we can get the lathe up after work over the next 2 weeks and be ready to stucco for real? But even with tar paper alone, this wall is the best it’s ever looked.



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