Question: Robert, I recently redid my front entrance landscaping and want to add stone work, which I am limited in ability to complete on my own. I contacted a stone worker who came out to offer a bid. He said that the stucco has to come down, he’d need to set a new scratch coat and then he could set the stone.
I wasn’t prepared for that. I thought they could just put the stone onto the existing stucco for aesthetics. Any way around this greater project they are saying it needs to be?
Answer: Greg, yes there is an option. Not knowing the type of finish on your stucco, I will generalize the terms. The finish stucco, such as the sand finish, needs to be removed from the brown coat … so in this regard the contractor is correct.
At this point a chipping hammer or surface grinder could be used to put what I’d call “potholes” into the brown coat. This will give the new mortar a surface that it could adhere to. If the surface is too smooth the mortar won’t stick, so this step is important.
Once there is adequate roughness to this brown coat, then the mason could install the stone without worry of adhesion. I’ve done this many times over the years and the stone stays in place. Good luck.
Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].