In modern construction, the use of stucco is commonplace; especially for Southwestern design utilizing exterior stucco wall finish. The use of plaster, however, has declined significantly from its traditional widespread use for finishing interior walls. Interior plaster wall finishes have been replaced largely by gypsum board, also known as drywall or sheetrock.
Interestingly enough, the difference between stucco and plaster is more in the intended end use than in the composition. Traditional stucco is made from lime, sand, and water; modern stucco is made from Portland cement and water, with lime optionally added to increase water resistance.
Modern stucco is applied in 3 coats:
A newer innovation in stucco design which has gained interest due to the advantages of green building is straw bale home construction. Walls are made with stacked straw bales, sealed in cement stucco.
Strawbale construction is nothing new. Early settlers in the Nebraska sand hills began using this type of home production over 100 years ago. Some of these structures are still in use today.
Advantages of straw bale construction include:
The recommended method of straw bale home construction begins by pouring concrete for a raised footing to place straw bales on, with framing or upright pole beams to support a roof structure. The raised footings combined with ample drainage are crucial to keep moisture from penetrating and condensing inside the straw bale walls.
Straw bales are arranged on the footing in staggered layers, so that joints between bales in the underlying layer fall in the middle of the bales in the next layer. Bales are tied together with wooden stakes or bamboo pins which penetrate at least two bales. They are then wrapped on both sides with chicken wire or wire mesh, also pinned to the straw bales.
Once the bales are positioned in between and around the framing supports, they are sealed using cement stucco made from sand and Portland cement. When properly sealed, the walls are durable; highly fire resistant and pest-proof.
Utilities are either run inside the walls, the floor, or in the ceiling; doors and windows are set to either the inside or outside of the straw bale walls, with special care given to avoid excess moisture accumulation.
This type construction is especially attractive for Spanish style home construction; it is also viable for stucco fence building.
Undertaking a straw bale home construction project does not require extensive knowledge on how to apply stucco. Even so, those reluctant to engage in such a do it yourself project can enlist the services of a stucco contractor.
Homeowners seeking the services of a local stucco service provider, plaster contractor, or even an Atlanta stucco repair contractor can locate a reliable contractor in their community through HandyAmerican.com.
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