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Stucco Textures: Here’s What You Need To Know

Stucco Textures

Stucco adds something special to your home—a touch of uniqueness that helps it stand out in the community, even when everyone else has stucco cladding as well. Why is that? Because of the texture! Whatever your aesthetic, there are stucco texture types to achieve the look your desire. The flexibility of colors and different stucco textures can create a defining look that you are proud of and makes the house feel truly like a home. 

To help you choose the stucco texture that is right for you, here are several of the most popular options: 

A Guide To Different Stucco Textures


Lace and Skip

Lace and skip is the kind of texture you automatically think about when you imagine stucco siding—and you probably weren’t even aware of that! The texture of lace and skip is ideal for hiding any problem areas and can be used on both residential and commercial buildings. There are a slew of ways lace texture can finish stucco siding, and this provides subtle differences in appearance. 

Key Features of Lace and Skip: 
• Traditional stucco is the common base for this texture type, but you are not limited to that. Synthetic/acrylic stucco works well too. 
• Typically applied by hand but the texture can be sprayed on then flattened using a trowel
• Forgiving texture that hides imperfections well
• Applied in two coats—base coat then texture
• Available in fine, medium, and coarse

Dash Finishes

The dash finish is another style that creates a unique look. Fine, medium, or heavy patterns can be used to complete the texture. Dash can be applied by hand in smaller areas or by a hopper gun for larger surface areas. People often choose dash because it is a budget-friendly option. One person is typically needed to apply the texture, lowering the overall cost of labor. 

Key Features of Dash: 
• Works wonderfully on both synthetic and traditional stucco
• Can be easily patched as long as colors match up
• Can be rough once it dries completely
• The finish is sprayed on, so air pressure creates variances in the weight of the finish—ranging from fine to heavy. 

Cat Face Texture

Among the various stucco texture types, cat face is one of the most appealing. The texture has inclusions, or rough patches, surrounded by smoother surfaces. The variation depends on your preference, so you can have as many or as little inclusions as you like. The end result is a finish unlike any other. 

Key Features of Cat Face: 
• A unique, eye-catching finish that can vary depending on how far apart and how large the inclusions are to one another
• Achieved with either traditional or synthetic stucco
• Can be applied with trowel, sprayed on, or a combination of the two
• Usually uses fine or medium stucco patterns

Sand/Float Finish

Popular in the commercial world, sand/float finishes look airy when fine and denser when heavily applied. A bonus to sand/float is that it is easy to apply and to patch up. 

Key Features of Sand/Float: 
• A versatile and highly popular texture
• Can be used on both traditional and synthetic stucco bases
• Can be applied with a trowel or sprayed on, depending on your preference
• “Green” float is used to finish the texture
• Available in fine, medium, and coarse textures
• Can be patched up easily

Smooth Finish

Oddly, while most believe a smooth texture would be the easiest of stucco textures to achieve, it is the exact opposite. The smooth finish is rather demanding, but the appeal of a flawless, smooth exterior knows no comparison. Smooth stucco textures are very customizable, can be colored, and are quick to clean. 

Key Features of Smooth: 
• Requires synthetic/acrylic stucco
• Can also be accomplished with a fine cement base stucco
• Fine patterns are used to achieve the smoothest end result possible, however medium patterns are required when working with acrylic bases
• Requires use of a pool trowel
• Mottled looks can be achieved by adding color
• Has a high tendency to crack compared to other finishes and can be challenging to repair

Santa Barbara

If you like the character of the smooth finish but want more resilience, then Santa Barbara is for you. This finish requires the use of special sand particles than are much finer and softer to achieve the Santa Barbara look. When done correctly, this finish mirrors the classic adobe style. 

Key Features of Santa Barbara: 
• A traditional type of stucco finish used with traditional stucco materials 
• Smooth when dried
• Available in a broad range of colors
• Applied using two coats with a pool trowel 
• Can be difficult to apply and repair when cracks form
• Mostly seen in Mediterranean style residences

Worm/Swirl/Putz Textures

True to name, the “worm” texture, as known as swirl or putz, looks like an army of worms invaded the wall and left pathways throughout the stucco. Worm textures come in fine, medium, and coarse grades. The look is achieved by using bits of aggregate and pushing those pieces around with trowels while smoothing the rest of the stucco. This leaves those characteristic indentations and grooves on the surface. Although worm is not the most popular style to use, it does add an element of interest to the facade of your home. 

Key Features of Worm: 
• Used mainly with synthetic stucco
• Requires special aggregate to achieve the worm look
• Available in fine, medium, and coarse patterns
• Hard to patch, difficult to install
• Requires application by hand and specific circular motions to get the desired appearance

Wrapping It Up

As you can see, there are several popular options for stucco textures that you can choose for your residence or commercial building. Choose wisely! The end result can alter the overall look and feel of the building, so make sure you know the ins and outs of every finish. 

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