How do I Choose the Best Stucco Texture?

T. Alaine

The seemingly limitless variations on stucco texture can make choosing the right one for your project feel intimidating. When choosing a stucco texture, however, there usually is not a right or wrong option. There might be traditional texture choices for certain styles of architecture or design themes, but you can choose the best stucco texture for your project based on your personal taste and preference.

Stucco is applied with a trowel.
Stucco is applied with a trowel.

Stucco is durable, versatile material with a variety of uses. Logically, you might question whether the same finish used for a garden wall is also the best stucco texture for a home or larger building. Regardless of the finished texture, variations on stucco are generally created from the same base of cement materials and water. This means that the quality or durability of one stucco texture is unlikely to be drastically different from that of a different texture, despite differences in appearance.

Quality and durability are typically unrelated to the texture of stucco.
Quality and durability are typically unrelated to the texture of stucco.

Generally, all stucco starts out the same — the base is made from cement powder mixed with water. The differences in stucco textures are typically created by manipulating a few key variables, such as adding certain ingredients to the stucco base mixture, changing the amount of water used or using certain methods of application. You can add sand grains of various sizes to the mixture in order to change the texture of the finish. Smaller grains of sand create a slightly coarser surface, and larger grains of sand create a more pronounced, rough texture.

Another way you can affect the finished texture of stucco is to vary the amount of water added to the mixture. In order to create looser stucco that can be easily applied in thin layers, you would add a greater than normal amount of water. If you add a lesser amount of water, the resulting mixture will be thicker. Stucco thickness is important when it comes to the last way to manipulate the finished texture, which is the method of application.

The method of application refers to the style of applying stucco to a surface, which can include the tools used and patterns created. Some methods of application work best with thicker, coarser stucco, and some work best with thinner, finer stucco. Resulting finishes can range from smooth to rough, or from plain looking cement to faux wood or brick.

With so many options to choose from, your attempts to select the best stucco texture should begin with a little research. Walking through a home and garden store that sells stucco is a great place to start, and you should make sure to find samples of completed looks. When you find a few options, you might consider the overall style or theme of the structure receiving the treatment. The best stucco texture will not only please you, it will complement the existing decor.

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