How Long To Run Sprinklers

Running your home irrigation system comes with both benefits and costs. The benefits are well mentioned in most of the online resources about the topic. You can surely find a list of them online. But the costs of running an irrigation system are often undermined. One of the costs of having an irrigation system at home is in the water bill. Yes, you may see some extra cost or spike in your water bill. This is especially true if you have a wide lawn area that requires a lot of watering. 

Given this dilemma, some property owners who are conserving water, just let their lawns dry and eventually die. This case is worsened during times of drought when the scorching heat makes the lawn and plants drier than usual, thus needing more water to flourish. Some property owners who even own large types of plants or trees may face a higher cost of the water bill. When this happens, most of them have a crucial question in mind. How long should I run my sprinklers to achieve the optimum watering needs of my plants and at the same time, conserve as much water as I can? 

This is a critical question since the answer varies from many different factors, such as the type of irrigation system that they have, the sie of the lawn area, the type of plants, and even their location. There is also no precise answer to this question, since achieving the balance between saving water and providing water is quite unique for each lawn type. 

Lawn Watering Guide 

In providing a proper watering to your lawn, you don’t have to sacrifice paying a huge amount of water bill. You can strike the right balance by setting up a timed irrigation controller for your home lawn. In this way, you can set up the sprinklers according to each zone’s water need, and at the same time, control the amount of water that will be sprayed. You must first identify the type of lawn or grass that you have and the spray output of your sprinkler system. The amount of spray capacity of the sprinkler head must match the amount of water a specific zone needs. From there, you can tune in your irrigation controller to spray only such amount of water in a limited time, depending on what you set. 

Scheduling the lawn irrigation is another practical way to conserve water and eventually save up on your water bill. This means that you don’t have to water your lawn with the same amount of water every day.  You can also skip a day depending on some factors like a type of plant, size, and weather. Since the average weather data is quite predictable, when matched with a certain location and current environmental conditions, you can have an idea ahead of time how much water your lawn will need for a specific day or season. You can simply set your irrigation system controller to match your estimation. You may continue to make some adjustments from time to time to achieve optimum results.  

Factors to consider in determining how long should a sprinkler system run:

Type of lawn

The type of lawn you have plays a vital role in determining the amount of water, as well as the running time for your home sprinkler system, If you have a bermudagrass lawn or a tall fescue grass, it means that these type of plants performs well on spring and fall season, but they most likely stop growing during hot summer days. Therefore, you can reduce the water spray on these plants during the spring and fall, and simply increase it when the summer strikes. 

Other cool-season grasses are the annual and perennial ryegrass, Kentucky bluegrass and bentgrass. These grasses won’t need as much water in spring and fall, compared to the summer season. On the other hand, warm-season grasses include St. Augustine, common and hybrid Bermuda, and zoysiagrass. They won’t need much watering during the summer but almost stop growing in winter.

Sprinkler system output

To determine the output of water that your sprinkler system spray, you will need to use this measuring technique. Get at least six straight-sided containers of the same kind and size. Place them evenly on the lawn area. You may use empty tuna cans or coffee mugs. Turn on the sprinkler for about 20 minutes, and measure the depth of water in each can using a ruler. Once you get the measurement, multiply the average depth by 3 to get the amount of water (in inches) your sprinkler blows per hour. 

Each lawn has its own watering needs. That is why the amount of time needed to run a sprinkler varies widely based on the factors mentioned above. But just to give you a general estimation, running your sprinkler system for 30 minutes, 3 times a week will give 1 ½ inch of water to your lawn. You can also run it shorter for just 20 minutes, 3 times a week, and will give your lawn an inch of water. But this is just a generalization since weather or climate plays an important role. During summer, you will need more water for your lawn in order for them to be sustainable and healthy. 

How To Get Lawn Care Customers Fast

Starting a lawn care business is pointless if you have all the tools, equipment, and knowledge needed to operate, but then you lack customers. Customer is the lifeblood of any business. You may have the most innovative product, the best customer care, and the most strategic operation, but if you do not have a consistent source of customers, sooner or later you will find yourself out of business. Most of the well- known products in the market aren’t the best, but they have the best marketing strategies that take them to the pinnacle of success and popularity. 

When you are just starting a lawn care business, you aim to most likely grow your business as soon as possible to get the capital you’ve invested in the business. But to expand and grow a lawn care business, you should first gain new customers consistently. But if you care about growing your business so fast that your client-base demands exceeded the core capabilities of your business, it could be detrimental to your business. You must be prepared with the right resources and procedures before acquiring a large number of the client base. 

Ways To Get Lawn Care Customers Fast 

1. Call your family, friends and personal network 

As the common saying goes, “your network is your net worth.” The quality and quantity of the people you know determine a big factor in your success in any business. This is true if you reach out to them and let them know what you are offering. Who knows that they might need your services or someone that they know can benefit from your business. 

This is a no-fail strategy since you are tapping those people that know and trust you. This is an essential step for any new small business owner who wants to start marketing their products and services.

2. Advertise through paid media 

Just because you’re a start-up, it doesn’t mean that you cannot follow the trail of the big companies or corporations that hire marketing agencies to promote their products and services. You simply need a good strategy to use paid media for your lawn care business. Market segmentation and targeting are two of the most effective ways to use paid media services. You don’t want to spend all your marketing budget targeting the audience and market that have no or little interest in what you’re offering. That’s why the most important step in a paid media campaign is research. Understand how it works, how it impacts different groups of people, and how to properly do it may do wonders for the visibility of your business. 

3. Try door to door campaign 

Although this sounds too traditional nowadays, door to door marketing is still a way to go if you do not have much for the marketing budget. This is not only cost-effective but also a great way to freely advertise your business by personally interacting with your potential customers. Doing a door to door marketing campaign comes with a couple of options: 

  • Use door hanger 
  • Hand out flyers and talk to prospects 

Both can be beneficial in building brand awareness for your business, but it is also important to weigh the pros and cons of each. 

If you employ door hangers in your marketing campaign, it could be a lot easier and least time consuming because you don’t have to spend time talking to a potential customer. Getting customers using this method will heavily rely on how well-written your marketing content. 

Copywriting is the top skill that is needed to convert customers using a written brochure or flyer. The glossiness and the overall look of the material cannot outweigh the words written on the material that significantly appeal to the emotional needs of the reader. 

4. Ask for referrals 

Asking for a referral from your existing clients and contacts can help you increase your client base. Since they already experienced the quality of service that you provide, and they already tend to trust you, asking them for referrals is a good strategy to expand your client source. 

Their word of mouth referral can serve as a testimonial to what you’re offering. If they experienced a good service from you, referrals will come easily and effortlessly. 

5. Look for brand ambassadors

In some cases, extraordinary service is not a sufficient incentive for some people to refer or talk about your product. After all, it takes effort and resources to share content and experiences, whether in social media or person. That’s why you should run an incentive for them to become brand ambassadors. In this way, they will be motivated to share their experiences and testimonials with others as they eye for an incentive, prize, or discount. 

Here are some tips on how to create an affiliate program for your brand ambassadors: 

  • Share points to customers who can refer to paying customers. It could be in terms of cash or points that they can redeem later. 
  • Award the referred customers too so that they will be incentivized to avail of your services. It can be in the form of discounts, vouchers, or redeemable points. 
  • Craft a marketing campaign that is easy to share 

Study shows that about 95 percent of Americans read an online review before they make a buying decision. Since online reviews about a particular service or product are found online, you will need more positive reviews from your existing customers. Because of this, you may craft a feedback box where they can freely leave their comments and share their experience. 

Join Facebook groups

Online presence is vital for any start-up business, and since social media is a place where most people connect, you can join some related Facebook groups to connect and discuss the details of your business. Some of these people have questions about a specific subject, and your knowledge and expertise might help them with their confusion. Not only you will develop friendships and connections with people of the same interest, but also, it will give your business a certain level of leverage in the market. 

You may choose to appear as an expert or educator in some of the Facebook groups, answering queries of different people, or you can directly advertise your business with them. Both ways can help your business gain online presence since most of the people in your neighborhood and local areas are on social media. 

Starting your lawn business can be overwhelming. If you used to offer the same expertise as an employee, you may possess the right set of skills, except for the marketing part. It is important to learn how to market your products and services to gain success in any business endeavor that you choose. 

How To Get Spray Paint Off Concrete

Spray paint is challenging to remove in porous surfaces like concrete. Even an unsightly spray paint stain in a smooth, plain concrete wall can turn your wall unattractive. If a spray paint in your wall is troubling you and you’re thinking how to remove it, the following tips below can help you on how to make your concrete wall as fresh as new again. 

Removing spray paint using soap and water 

Soap and water can be natural and economical ways to remove the paint off your concrete wall. You can find it in almost every household. A simple detergent and water would work wonders if the paint is still fresh or if it is somewhat thick that a hard bristle brush can easily scrub it off. Otherwise, if the paint is old and too thin to come off from scrubbing, there are chemicals or solutions that you can use to remove it. Regardless of the thickness or type of paint stain, using soap and water is always worth a try. 

  1. Evaluate the paint stain. Determine if it’s temporary or permanent. 
  2. If it is temporary, it will be easy to get rid of it using the basics – soap and water. 
  3. Simply wash it with water and soap. If you are outdoors, you can use a garden hose that is set on high pressure. 
  4. Dip your hard bristle brush on the detergent solution and apply it to the paint spot. 
  5. Scrub the paint away. Use gentle and circular pressure. 
  6. Rinse it thoroughly with water. 
  7. Keep repeating the process until the paint is totally removed. 
  8. If the paint is permanent, you need to use other solutions to help it loosen. A chemical might be needed. But trying to wash it off using soap and water is still worth a try. You can repeat the process multiple times before deciding to resort to other options. 

Removing spray paint using a pressure washer 

A pressure washer is an advanced way of getting rid of spray paint stains from your concrete wall. It releases high-pressure water spray to get rid of the loose paint from concrete surfaces. This machine can produce pressures from 750 to 30,000 psi. You can use this as the spray paint in your concrete cannot be removed using soap and water and appears to be permanent. 

If you have pressure water at home, this isn’t a problem. But since a pressure washer is not a typical household material, you can borrow or rent if you don’t have one. A pressure washer is available in your local hardware store or home improvement stores. Just inquire if you’re planning to rent one. 

  1. Have your pressure washer ready. 
  2. Set your pressure washer’s power level at 4,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) on a minimum. 
  3. Attach and secure the rotary nozzle tightly to your pressure washer. Set it to high pressure to better get rid of the paint. 
  4. It is better to use hot water than freshwater in removing old paint stains. 

Removing spray paint using a sandblaster 

Sandblasting is another effective way of removing old paint stains from your concrete wall. It works well on removing rust, paint, residue from oxidation rapidly and efficiently.  The sandblaster is a heavy-duty air-powered pressure gun that fires out at high velocity. It is great in removing spray paint on uneven concrete surfaces. The spray paint tends to get stuck in the holes and deep crevices of the concrete, making it hard to remove using the basic solutions. In this case, sandblaster can be used to remove spray paints hiding in between the narrow gaps or deep holes of your concrete. If you don’t have one, you can go to your local hardware store to purchase or rent. 

  1. Prepare your sandblaster tool.
  2. Make sure to wear your protective gear like goggles, respirators, and protective clothing before operating. Take note that sandblasting could cause breathing problems so taking extra precaution is necessary. 
  3. In two separate compartments, put dry river sand or silica and water. Then point the sandblaster to the concrete where you need to remove the paint stain. Switch on the sandblaster and blast off the spray paint that sticks deep into the crevices of your concrete wall. This method is effective in removing fresh, old, and deeply embedded stains. 
  4. Repeat the process as long as you can still see any remaining traces of paint. 

Removing spray paint using a gel stripper 

Another effective way to get rid of spray paint off your concrete is to use a gel stripper. This is a chemical-based solution that works best on old paint stains. Most people opt to use a soy-based gel stripper to remove the paint. This is applied directly to the spray paint by staining or sealing the concrete. You can buy this in any of your local hardware stores or home improvement stores. 

This gel helps the paint to loosen and peel off instead of breaking the paint down. Therefore, this is less toxic than a chemical stripper since it doesn’t have any side effects. One of the risks of using a chemical stripper is it may end up adding pits to the concrete, or it may cause the surface to develop blotches and traces where the paint stain was removed. So if you want to resort to a safer method of removing stain to your concrete, using a soy-based gel is a great option. 

  1. Carefully read and follow the instructions on the product label. 
  2. Weak your protective gear like working gloves before applying the gel. 
  3. Open the gel and apply it all over the spot where the spray paint needs to be removed. 
  4. Let it sit for five to ten minutes or as indicated on the instruction. 
  5. Scrub it off with a brush after.

How to Resurface Concrete Steps

Concrete steps get worn out by use over time. Cracks and pits can appear in it, which can be inconvenient and unsightly. That’s why you should resurface your concrete steps to restore it to its former beautiful state. But how do you resurface the concrete steps? This guide will help you do so!

Here are the things you need to do to restore it to its former glory:

1. Start by thoroughly cleaning the steps

You begin resurfacing the concrete steps by cleaning it first. Begin preparing the surface by sweeping off dust and other foreign materials. If there are weeds at the pits, pull it out. Algae or mildew in the concrete steps? Spray a mix of water and vinegar or bleach to kill it.

2. Pressure wash the dead mold and remaining dirt

After the preliminary cleaning, pressure wash the entire surface to blast off the dead mold and the remaining dirt from the steps. The direction of the pressure wash should be away from you, and do so in one direction. By pressure washing in one direction, it will prevent the removed dirt from returning to the surface.

3. Let the surface dry

After pressure washing the concrete surface, let it dry completely first. Do not resurface while it is wet. Otherwise, the strength of the concrete coating will be compromised. Wait until the concrete surface has thoroughly dried. A good indication is that it is dry to the touch.

4. Prepare the concrete coating

If you see that the washed concrete steps are about to dry, then you should prepare the concrete mixture that you’ll use as a coating. If you want to mix your own concrete, it must have at least a strength of 3000 psi. To achieve it, you must use a ratio of 1 part cement, 3 parts gravel, and 3 parts sand. Otherwise, it’s much better to just buy a concrete resurfacer. Using a cement mixer, mix the concrete of your choice with water until it has a lump-free, smooth peanut butter consistency.

Only mix the right amount you’ll use within 20 to 30 minutes, and mix another batch if necessary.

5. Use weatherstripping to cover up gaps.

Use weatherstripping on edges and expansion gaps where you don’t want concrete to flow. Apply the weather stripping by placing it on the entire length of each joint, which will prevent the concrete mixture from spilling.

6. Fill the gaps and apply the concrete mixture thoroughly

Once the concrete steps have dried up completely, time to apply the concrete mixture! Begin at the top part, then work your way to the bottom step. Fill the cracks and pits first, and then cover all the steps thoroughly. You must use a flat trowel or a squeegee to level the applied concrete mixture evenly.

7. Sweep the still-wet concrete with a concrete finishing brush

Using one gives the concrete coating a non-skid surface, which prevents you and others from slipping off the steps during wet weather. Stroke the concrete finishing brush in one direction only, along the length of the steps.

8. Let it dry and cure

Once you have swept the newly-coated concrete steps, Wait for at least 30 minutes, then remove the weather stripping from the gaps so that it will not be stuck after the concrete dries. Wait for it to dry for at least one day.

And with that, you now have a restored and improved concrete steps in your house! If you think these guides have helped you to fix and restore your concrete steps, do not hesitate to share this with others!  

How to Stucco

Stucco is a mix of different concretes, applied in multiple layers to provide a strong, solid bond to the wall. It has a timeless appeal as it closely resembles mud and adobe. But stucco is so much more. It is waterproof, easy to maintain, and long-lasting. Some stucco types are also affordable, earthquake resistant, breathable in humid temperatures, and attractive whether by itself or in combination with other siding materials like clapboard and brick. However, the stucco application is quite challenging as it requires meticulous preparation of the substances as well as proper knowledge in its application methods. 

Prepare the substance 

If you are applying stucco over an existing wall, you have to check if there is any crack or damage first as these damages may affect the result of the stucco application. If you find any crack or damage, you need to immediately repair it with fresh mortar. Also before applying the stucco, wash the wall using a power washer or scrub it using a combination of water and trisodium phosphate solution. 

Prepare your plywood, OSB, or cement board sheathing. To cover the surface of your stucco project, buy enough galvanized stucco lath and galvanized fasteners. 

Step by step process on how to apply stucco:

  1. Hang a Double Layer of Building Paper

Begin by hanging the building paper at the bottom of the wall and overlay every successive layer at least 4 inches over the one below it. Make sure that the sheets overlap by at least 6 inches once you form vertical seams. Then expand the paper around corners for at least 16 inches. Once extended, using galvanized roofing nails or staples, fasten it in place. 

  1. Install Trim Accessories

Prepare and fasten trim accessories, such as casing beads, with galvanized nails. The weep screed is one of the trim accessories that is very important to let moisture drain from behind the stucco.

  1. Apply Galvanized Lath or Netting

The netting should be attached to the wall using galvanized nails or staples which are long enough to reach the studs by at least 1 inch. Allow at least 6 inches of spaces in between fasteners. Overlap the vertical seams of the lath by 2 inches while the horizontal seams by 1 inch. 

Applying the Stucco

You will need two different types of stucco regardless if you are applying the stucco in a two or three coat system- the base coat formulation which is suitable for undercoats and a lighter finish coat formulation which is great for the topcoat. 

Just like mixing cement, mixing a stucco is straightforward. Simply pour the contents of a bag into a wheelbarrow or mixing trough, then add water as you mix. The proper consistency is very important. Check this by trowelling your wet stucco mix and hold the trowel sideways. If the stucco mix slides off, it means that there’s too much water in the stucco mix.   

  1. Apply and spread the Scratch Coat. Using a square trowel held at a 45-degree angle apply the scratch coat to the lath or netting. Begin applying stucco from the bottom of the wall and work your way to the top. Apply it with enough pressure to push the substance into all gaps in the netting. If there are voids or spaces, apply more. 
  1. Spread the substance using a straight back and forth movement to flatten with a uniform 3/8-inch thickness and straight border darby or a straightedge. Wait for it to solidify. Once the material is stiff, scratch the surface using a raking tool to draw ⅛ inch deep horizontal grooves. Let this scratch coat sit for 24 to 48 hours while maintaining its surface moisture level by misting water. This may avoid shrinkage and crack. 
  1. Apply the Brown Coat

Apply another layer of base coat on the scratch coat to a depth of ⅜ inch. Scrape it using a darby to flatten. If you find any void spaces, fill it with the material to create a smooth, flat surface. The total thickness of the material on the wall should be now 3.4 inches. Allow the brown coat to harden for a few minutes then using a sponge masonry float, smooth the surface. Once again, let it sit for 24 to 48 hours while misting to keep the necessary moisture. 

If you are applying it over masonry or brick, the brown coat is the first and only base coat. 

Step 3: Finish With the Color Coat

Prepare the finish stucco coat by mixing it with water referring to the same texture consistency as the base coat. You may add some stucco colorant if desired. Spread the stucco to the wall using a trowel with ⅛ inch thickness. In order to give the stucco the desired texture, use ling strokers, knife swaths, and other similar techniques. When your stucco is stiff enough, you can use a sponge trowel to flatten the surface. Mist the surface for several days to avoid cracking while it cures. 

How to Adjust Hunter Sprinkler Head

Hunter Industries is a well-known sprinkler system maker company because of its rotary sprinklers, which has found its use in commercial and residential lawns. Each sprinkler from Hunter has the same adjustments you can do to fit your preferences. 

And so, what adjustments will work on all of them? This post will elaborate on what you need to do to accommodate your lawn needs.

Here’s how to adjust Hunter sprinkler heads:

1. Find the ideal nozzle for the sprinkler head

To determine whether the nozzle is fit for the job, it must be able to provide head-to-head coverage is the capacity of the sprinkler to aim and reach another sprinkler head. There are two approaches for this step, which are: looking at the chart provided in the Hunter manuals that detail the characteristics and efficiency of the pieces or trial-and-error process. Hunter sprinklers come with various assorted nozzles. The distance that the water stream will reach is dependent on the size of the nozzle holes. Once you identified the proper piece, proceed to the next step.

2. Insert the chosen nozzle in the rotor body

You can insert the nozzle by pressing it in the opening of the rotor body until it clicks in there. Secure the new nozzle by using the metal end of the rotor key (which, by the way, allows you to adjust the sprinkler heads) into the arrow that is in the raised area of the rubber cap, and then screw it clockwise once set to tighten. 

Word of caution: screwing the nozzle too tight will affect the amount of water sprayed. That’s why you should screw it just enough to be secured and not to limit the water stream at the same time.

3. Set the direction of the right-hand limit

Do this method to assign the limit of travel for the right-hand side. To do so, you must first raise the sprinkler body. Here are the detailed instructions:

  • Insert the plastic end of the rotor key to the hole beside the arrow, which allows you to pull out the sprinkler. Be sure that in pulling out, it has cleared two ridges, which is about an inch before the body completely pulls out. 
  • Then, hold the sprinkler body to prevent it from lowering. 
  • After that, twist the rubber cap to the left-hand travel limit, then rotate it in reverse to the end of the right-hand position. 
  • If the right-hand limit of travel isn’t oriented to reach your preferred area, then rotate the sprinkler body to the right until the right-hand travel limit is at the correct position.

4. Set the direction of the left-hand limit

By repositioning the right-hand limit, the positioning of the left-hand limit alters in the process. That is why you must also correct it. This one is easy to do. 

  • Start by inserting the plastic end of the rotor key to the hole at the rubber cap with plus and minus sign. 
  • Then, rotate the key to the direction indicated by the plus side if you want the left-hand side to cover more, or to the minus direction to reduce the coverage.
  • Once corrected, let the sprinkler body descend, and lock the collar.

5. An alternative method to adjust the right-hand limit

You can use this alternate method to reposition the right-hand limit. To do it:

  • Begin by detaching the inner body assembly by twisting the body cap in a counterclockwise direction. 
  • Pull out the inner assembly, then rotate the rubber cap to the left-hand limit, then to the end of the right-hand rotation. 
  • Make sure that the arrow points at the area where you want to get coverage. 
  • Once done, you can now place back the inner assembly while oriented at the desired coverage and then tighten the body cap by twisting it clockwise. 
  • Then do step 4 for adjusting the left-hand limit.

With these steps, you’ll now have an adjusted Hunter sprinkler head! If you think that this guide has helped you, then please don’t hesitate to share this with others!

Stucco Cracks When to Worry

There are so many reasons why we love stucco. It’s sturdy, attractive, and timeless. But when you see a crack in your stucco, there’s a tendency for you to worry about the overall built of your covering. 

Cracks in stucco happen because of various factors. These include inadequate mixing, poor workmanship, incorrect mix proportions, seasonal changes, and seismic movement. However, there are two leading causes of cracks in stucco. One of those is the house settling process and the other one is shrinkage-induced stresses which usually happens during the dry months. 

Every case is different, but check out these guidelines to see how serious a stucco crack can be. 

Hairline cracks in the exterior

Hairline cracks are not as serious deep cracks but it shouldn’t be dismissed completely. They can pave a way for water and moisture to seep into a wall system, causing further damage eventually. If water enters the inside, the stucco wall will soften the substances, causing the stucco to creak away later on. These water and moisture if gets trapped inside the stucco walls cause additional issues such as mold development, foul smell, paint failure, swollen drywall wood rot, and irreparable damage. Fixing these hairline cracks is akin to an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

Depending on how wide or obvious the crack is, repainting can make these flaws virtually disappear. Even though this type of cracks are smaller than 1 1/16 inches and don’t pose a great threat to the overall integrity of the stucco wall, repairing them immediately prevents it from escalating into bigger and permanent damage. 

Aside from repainting right away, you can also apply a high-quality caulk on the crack. Using a brush dab the caulk while wet. Let it cure and dry for a while then paint the entire spot. 

Large stucco cracks 

Large cracks signal a structural issue. This type of crack is usually deep and therefore, allows the water and moisture to seep into the structure’s envelope and pass freely through walls. It usually starts at the intersection of vertical walls, at the upper corners of door and window frames, or at the connection between wood framing and masonry.

The most “dangerous” cracks are typically wider than 1/16 inches, with unaligned edges. This may signal that structural changes in your house will occur when the foundation settles heavier on one side than on the other as it might cause enough stress for the stucco to crack. It is important to properly investigate large cracks before working to repair them. 

Credit card stucco test 

Follow these easy steps you can do yourself to test how big is the crack in your stucco. 

  1. Use your credit card or any materials alike, go to the spot where you see the crack in your stucco.
  1. Slide your credit card into the crack in your stucco and see if it glides smoothly.
  1. If you can slide your credit card into the stucco crack, it’s time to call for some professional help.

Large cracks of 1/16 of an inch can indicate structural problems that have to be addressed before repairing the stucco. The underlying cause must be treated first before treating the symptom, which in this case is the crack. 

Stucco is your properties’ first line of defense against any harsh climate, attending even to the simplest stucco crack immediately using the best products and methods is important to ensure your home’s strength and longevity. 

How to Apply Stucco

Applying stucco in your home is actually a simple process that requires the right tools and background. Stucco homes come with a lot of benefits like having a sturdy, weather-resistant covering for unfurnished or less attractive surfaces like concrete blocks or clay bricks. 

Below are the steps professionals follow in applying exterior stucco over a steel or wooden base or over a solid wall.

Stucco over a concrete wall or masonry 

Prepare the surface of the wall where you want to apply stucco. If the wall surface has a rough texture and absorbent, you can directly apply the stucco over these solid or rigid surface. Otherwise, if the wall is not absorbent, you can moist the surface with water. If you see any visible contamination, wash the surface thoroughly. Also, is the wall is too smooth like those that are covered by paint or sealer, you can apply the following treatments: 

  • Sandblasting 
  • Acid etching 
  • Bush hammer or roughing 
  • Apply bond agent 

If unsure if the wall can support stucco, apply the stucco using the same process that you apply stucco over a stud wall. Attach a metal lath and plastering over it. 

Make the wall surface wet. In order to improve the suction bond and lessen the amount of moisture the wall absorbs from the plaster, wet the wall surface before the stucco application. You may use a fog spray to do this. Just make sure to damp the surface and not fully soak  Also, if you felt that the temperature is extreme – either very hot or cold, suspend the application as extreme weather could interfere with the curing process.

Prepare the scratch coat by mixing it. The coat must be a mixture of 1 part cement (includes lime) and 2 ¼ to 4 parts sand. Plastic cement is already pre-mixed with lime, making it the easiest to use and mix. Mix it with a dry material like plaster sand. 

Apply the scratch coat.  Trowel a layer of ¼ inch (6.4 mm) thick and apply this with shallow, horizontal lines. Keep the notched trowel perpendicular to the wall as you apply so that the next coat bond on the surface properly. 

Wait for a few hours before applying the brown coat. But if you’re using a modern cement, you can apply the brown coat immediately. No need for a scratch coat to totally cure. Once the first layer of brown coat solidifies, normally after 4 to 5 hours, trowel on the second layer. 

Maintain the proper moisture as the brown coat cures. It is important to keep the stucco moist while it’s curing, usually over the next 48 hours preceding the application. 

Apply the finishing coat. This consists of the mix of 1 part cement materials and 1 ½ to 3 parts sand. You also have an option to add some colors. You can use a texture roller if you are inexperienced at applying with textured finishes. 

Stucco over a stud wall 

Check if the weather is ideal for applying stucco in a stud wall. The ideal weather should be between temperatures of 50 degrees to 50 to 60ºF (10–16ºC). Postpone the working the temperature rises above  90ºF (32ºC)  or drop below 40ºF (4ºC).

Place the sheathing materials. The most common surfaces for stucco are oriented strand board, cement board, exterior grade gypsum sheathing, and plywood. 

Cover the plywood with any of the following – building paper, draining house wrap, or rain screen. You can also use a 15 lb per 100 square foot roofing felt or some kinds of house wrap except a plastic one because it is not designed for stucco. Lay the cover by at least 4 inches (10 cm) and secure them using roofing nails. Take note that most building codes need at least two layers of Grade D building paper or any water-resistant barrier. 

Place the casing bead and weep screeds. At the corners of doors and windows, apply the casing bead as a plaster base. Meanwhile, place the weep screed at the base wall. 

Fasten the metal lath. This is better done by an experienced contractor. However, you can also do it on your own. Nail the lath to the studs at not less than 7-inch intervals. Overlap the lath by at least t ½ inch (1.25 cm) on the side and inch (2.5 cm) at the end. 

Install control joints wherever two different walls meet. Separate the wall into rectangular panels using control joints, with a space between them less than 18 ft (5.5 m) apart, to minimize cracking. 

Combine and mix the scratch coat. Mix from 1 part cement material and 2 ¼ to 4 parts plaster sand. You need to add a hydrated lime if you are using type 1 Portland cement. Mix with sufficient water that you can trowel the stucco. Having excess water makes it prone to sagging or falling off. 

Trowel the scratch coat into the lath. Put the scratch coat using a square trowel while steadily pressing it into the lath. The thickness of this layer should be ⅜ inches. 

Score the scratch coat lightly. Scratch coat refers to the first coat that ensures a strong bond with the next coat. 

Allow the scratch coat to cure for at least 48 hours while keeping it moist. During this stage, it is necessary to protect the stucco from being dry. That’s why sprinkling water or misting the stucco twice a day is recommended unless relative humidity is above 70%. You may also protect the wall with a sunshade if needed. 

Mix the brown coat using 1 part cement and 3 to 5 parts brown coat. Apply another ⅜  inch layer of stucco and screed. 

Let it cure for at least 7 days while keeping the moisture up. Note that the first 48 hours are the most important in maintaining the right moisture level. But it doesn’t mean that you won’t continue misting afterward. 

Apply the finishing coat. This is the final coat that has a ⅛ inch layer. This defines the texture of your stucco wall. 

How to Repair Stucco Hole

Repairing Stucco Holes

Stucco is an aesthetic finish and is also known for its resiliency and flexibility. Although it can survive at any given climate and weather conditions, it is more suited as a siding choice for hot and dry climates. This is because stucco finishes do not do well enough with climates that give excessive moisture and precipitation. However, stucco is not just for exterior walls; interior stucco finishes are a great option and solution for more durable and aesthetic walls, and can also be used to cover up deteriorating plaster walls. With that being said, we can say that stucco finishes are surely low-maintenance. But just like any other household materials, it can also wear down through time, so household owners should not be surprised if they any damage from time to time.

These damages, specifically holes, must and should be repaired as soon as possible as they pose potential problems in the future. It can grow bigger and let water get behind the wall, causing damage to your walls. Sure, stucco damages are such a hassle to deal with, but there are ways to repair it.

What Causes Stucco to have Holes?

Stucco holes are notorious for causing bigger problems and damages. It is very common due to cracks caused by the natural soil movement and expansion that happens in the ground due to temperature. It can also happen for some other reasons, such as:

  1. Stucco getting old
  2. The foundation and settling of the house was too weak
  3. Uneven stucco layers
  4. Did not install weep screed, which allows the moisture to escape the wall above the foundation
  5. The stucco layer that is applied was too thin 

Tips on How to Repair your Stucco Holes

Repairing your stucco holes is relatively easy. By doing it, you should first consider some aspects. Stucco finish hole repairs will always depend on its depth, the length, and the cause of the hole. If the hole is just too small to be noticed or just less than ¼ inches, then it will be relatively easy for you to repair. This kind of hole repair is best done if you are going to paint the wall after the repair. Nevertheless, you must quickly remove all of the caulk that surrounds the hole. If you want to get the best results, painting the repaired area is always recommended.

Here are some tips for caulking your holed stucco:

  • Always remember to apply the caulk in the morning. The sun causes concrete to expand, making the holes relatively smaller than at night.
  • Apply caulk generously. Do not be afraid of putting caulk around and inside the hole as you can easily clean it afterward.
  • Once the caulk is applied, you can always use your fingers to spread the caulk evenly. Make sure that the caulk reaches all of the hole’s edges.
  • Once you applied all the caulk the hole needed, let it dry. If it shrank during the curing process, apply more. 
  • Once it is dry, it is now ready for painting.

How to Cut Stucco

Stucco provides a solid and good looking covering to the exterior of your home. But, there may come a time that you need to make some changes in your house that may require you to cut your stucco wall. 

There are a few different processes to cut through the stucco. Being familiar with different tools, blades, and equipment will help to properly cut through all kinds of stucco plaster. 

The right tools

There are a few different tools you can use to cut through the stucco wall. One of the main tools is a diamond blade or a carbide-tipped blade. These tools make a clean cut through the stucco. Firstly, you must choose the saw that is perfect for your needs. 

What You’ll Need

There are a few different tools you can use to cut stucco. You can use a diamond blade or a carbide-tipped blade in order to make a clean cut through the stucco. Firstly, choose the saw that’s best for your needs:Circular saw – good for cutting a large area

Angle grinder – great for virtually all purposes

Oscillating tool- good for smaller cuts and detailed work

Power drill with a hole saw attachment -great for cutting circular holes

After identifying the best saw for your project, you’ll need these tools on hand as well:

  • Painter’s tape 
  • Work gloves
  • Shop-vac 
  • Respirator 
  • Safety goggles 
  • A helper 

Step 1: Set up the work area 

Before you begin cutting, prepare the area where you will be working to maximize efficiency and avoid accidents. 

You can place painter’s tape around the perimeter of the hole you’re going to be cutting. Since stucco is prone to chips and cracks, taping off the perimeter will help lessen the possibility that you damage the good stucco in the vicinity area as you work.

Step 2: Prepare the shop vacuum 

Cutting through Stucco results in so much dust in the area that could sometimes blur you while working. Having a helper and a shop vacuum can help to manage the dust, making it easier to see your work. It is also important for you and your helper to wear respirators to protect you both from breathing any airborne dust particles. 

You should also make sure that your shop vacuum is totally clean. Otherwise, your vacuum will be ineffective in pulling the dust from your workplace as it will just spit it all out on the other side of the vacuum. 

Step 3: Cutting the Stucco 

When you are ready for the actual cutting, it is also important to know what you need to do depending on the kind of say you’re using. 

Circular Saw

Circular saw is perfect when cutting larger sections. It doesn’t work well with small cuts that required detailed work.

Make sure you are wearing the proper protective gear like safety goggles and gloves for safety before cutting the walls. 

Push the blade guard back of your circular saw and turn it on. Before starting to cut, wait until it reaches full RPM. Finally, make your first cut with the circular saw. Work slowly and carefully to lessen the change of chipping or cracking the stucco. Continue until you’ve reached the edge of where you are cutting and repeat the process if necessary. 

Angle Grinder

An angle grinder is powerful enough to cut large surfaces and is also useful in smaller cuts as well.

Allow your angle grinder to reach its full RPM as you switch it on. Plunge the blade into the surface of what you’re cutting. 

Oscillating Tool

An oscillating tool is a good choice for smaller cuts and detailed work. Just keep in mind that the blades tend to clog as you work.

Switch the oscillating tool, turn the tool on and allow it to reach full RPM. Then,  slowly plunge the blade into the stucco. 

Using a Hole Saw

A power drill with a hole saw bit is best for a circular hole. Load the bit into your drill and tighten it in place. Switch the trigger and allow it to reach full RPM before beginning your cut.