While stucco has long served as a popular exterior cladding for homes, modern homeowners can benefit from materials and techniques used to make stucco more eco-friendly. Greening your stucco not only helps make your home more comfortable and helps you save money, but can also have far-reaching effects on the planet. Whether you're installing new stucco or brushing up your existing finishes, these techniques can help you see your stucco with a more eco-friendly eye.
1. Switch Your Mixture
Old-school stucco consists of Portland cement, sand, water and epoxy. While this mixture is fairly green as it is, you can reduce your impact on the Earth by swapping this traditional mixture for an earth and lime-based blend. By eliminating the Portland cement and epoxies, you also get rid of the associated energy and greenhouse gas emissions that come with the manufacture of these products.
2. Lighten Up
Stucco is easy to color, whether by adding dyes and pigments or with a simple coat of paint. If you're focused on the environment, choose paints or pigments in lighter shades like white, tan and similar hues. These lighter colors reflect the sun, reducing unwanted solar heat gain, lowering your dependence on your air conditioner and cutting both your cooling bills and your impact on the Earth.
3. Build Smart
When crafting stucco walls, start with plywood sheathing rather than OSB to ensure long-term moisture protection. Apply two sheets of building paper -- not one, and skip paper with a plastic coating, which tends to interfere with valuable air breaks within the wall cavity. These air breaks play an important role in moisture control, which helps with indoor air quality by minimizing mold, mildew and excess humidity.
Like all walls, stucco walls benefit greatly from proper insulation, which reduces heating and cooling demand and the associated environmental impact of these systems. When building new, consider using rigid foam for maximum thermal resistance over plywood sheathing. If your walls are already up, invest in blow-in cellulose or fiberglass, which installers can spray through small holes in the interior walls. Before using expanding foam, check with the installer whether your stucco walls are strong enough for use with this product.
5. Seal Cracks
You'd be surprised to learn just how much air can sneak through small openings in solid stucco walls, resulting in wasted energy and money. Keep expensive heat or cooled air inside where it belongs by sealing cracks in your stucco. Fill small cracks with an epoxy filler, and caulk around doors, windows and at all transition areas -- like where stucco meets the siding or foundation. Fill penetrations around pipes and conduits using expanding foam to ensure no air can pass through.
To learn more about stucco, contact a company like Busko Construction.