A.Steve Thomas responds: On any stucco job, you have to expect both the scratch coat and the brown coats to have minor cracking from shrinking. Excessive cracking, however, usually means something was done improperly — for example, the mix may have been "too rich" (too much cement), the stucco layers may have been too thick, or the walls may not have been allowed to cure properly.

A "too rich" mix almost always results in cracking, especially when the coat is applied too thick. Normally, the scratch coat should just cover the wire. The next layer (the brown coat) may be applied the same day, providing the scratch coat has had adequate time to set up. Ideally, both surfaces should be "misted" after they...

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