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Other stories by Steve Thomas

  • Fixing a Botched Trim Job

    A homeowner asks how to repair what looks like a botched job, where new entry doors were installed in a brick home covered with stucco or some kind of cement parging.

  • Q&A: Cracked Manufactured Stone

    Q: Last spring I completed a house with manufactured stone columns on the porches on both the north and south sides. The columns on the south porch have cracked at the corners (see photos below), while the columns on the north porch are fine. The cracks are only on the two outside corners of each...

  • Q&A: Stucco Cracking Mystery

    Q: We have had good luck using the old-fashioned technique for exterior stucco: 1/2-inch plywood, felt paper, wire mesh, then 1 inch of plaster in three coats. Last year our luck ran out. We built a house on a hill where the wind just didn’t stop. A year later, one face — the gable end of a...

  • Q&A: Patching Stucco

    Q: When making a patch in stucco, is it possible to use hydraulic cement or a fast-setting cement for the first couple of layers so that the patch can be completed in one day?

  • Working With Manufactured Stone

    As a veneer on exterior walls or masonry chimneys, manmade stone looks like the real thing, but without the weight and the cost.

  • Getting Started With Brick Veneer

    A brick expert explains what to watch out for when contracting a brick veneer job, from flashing and weep details to properly cleaning the brick at the end of the job.

  • Extreme Stucco

    Hot and cold weather are the enemies of a durable stucco exterior finish. But by following these recommendations, you can apply a long-lasting, good-looking stucco finish in almost any kind of weather.

  • Q&A: Wood Trim with Stucco

    Q: We will soon be building a stuccoed Tudor-style home. Standard practice in our area is to fasten the wood trim directly to the sheathing, then apply a three-coat stucco to the areas formed by the applied trim. How can the trim-stucco joint be detailed to prevent water infiltration?

  • Q&A: Patching Stucco With Mortar

    Q: We blocked over a couple of basement windows in a stuccoed stone foundation wall. What’s the best way to patch the stucco? Can a simple bagged mortar mix be used to cover the block, or do we need to use stucco?

  • Q&A: Preventing Stucco Cracks

    Q: We often get conflicting information from subs about certain stucco details. Specifically, what’s the best way to avoid cracking? Must the scratch coat cure for 48 hours before applying the brown coat, or can the brown coat go on the same day? How long should the scratch coat cure before the...