Sunday, May 1, 2011

Easy Stucco Anyone Can Do...If They Know Jessie!

So the walls were built and the pergolas erected - now it was time to stucco. I know how to stucco - inside. Outside stucco is harder - there are temperature and wind factors that just didn't come up when I stuccoed the fireplace in my living room. There are also texture factors that I had never considered before.

I was worried. Luckily my neighbor Jessie has experience stuccoing and promised to stop by and teach me.

The paper and wire are all stapled to the walls and the bags of stucco are ready to go.

I mixed up the first batch of gray stucco to form our "scratch coat" under Jessie's watchful eye and produced something that resembled cake batter. Jessie scooped some up on his hawk (a flat palate looking thing with a handle underneath) and proceeded to float it onto the wall.

He made it look easy.

He made it look possible.

It was my turn.

Jessie patiently coaches me me through the steps of stucco application.

I scooped up a float-full onto the hawk.

I moved it close to the wall.

I used the same scooping swirling motion Jessie had used...

And all of my stucco fell to the ground.

"There's a force field around the wall that prevents the stucco from sticking!" I was just sure of it. Jessie must have secret powers that allow him to break through it...

I tried again.

Jessie had to walk away from my new-found profanity...stucco SUCKS!

I made another pile of stucco on the ground. I also renamed the hawk a new four-letter word also ending in "k".

Jessie took back his tools and showed me again. Then he realized that it would take less time (and less stucco) just to do it himself. I was retasked to do tops and edges using a very small trowel and a lot of plastic tarp.

This strategy worked.

The Jessie crafted walls look smooth and even.

We became a synchronized team - Dave made the stucco, Jessie troweled it on the wall, Ellen and I did the tops and edges.

The wall looked great!

The next day, it was time to do it all over again for the "brown coat" which is also done with gray stucco. Am I the only one who questions the naming of these things???

We had our routine and we flew through the second coat ending with beer and wine on the porch to admire our efforts.

It was during the adult beverage portion of the project that the subject of a third "top" or "color" coat was discussed. Jessie was fairly sure he could match the texture of our house but I planned to paint the wall a color that stucco does not come in...

The adult beverage portion of the project.
It seemed a waste of money (colored stucco costs twice as much as gray stucco) and since our brown coat had left such a smooth paintable surface we declared we were done with stucco and paint would be the next step.

Days went by and I watered my walls - misting them to slow the drying to keep the inevitable cracks small. Finally painting day arrived.

The cracks stayed pretty small thankfully.

Jessie (the super-hero in our neighborhood) just so happened to have access to a paint sprayer and actually knows how to use one.

He tried to teach me how to use it.  Let's just say that my inability to spray evenly explains why my omelets always stick to the pan on one side...

Jessie was able to spray the outside of the wall to match our house and a wall of the neighbors next door (on purpose even) in less than 2 hours. It took me that long to tape off all the posts.

The inside of the wall was another matter. Due to the intensity of the color I knew it had to go on thickly. So Ellen and I broke out the footstools and painted the interior wall with brushes. It took us twice as long as it had taken Jessie but we had a good gossip as we painted.

The new blue is only visible from inside the yard...and maybe outer-space.

I've had various reactions to the color:

"Sarah, are you color blind?" said Ken - our next door neighbor.
"It looks like a resort in Puerto Vallarta," said Tim a friend.
"What the #$%?," said an unnamed ex-friend.

I have created the red-neck swimming pool. We can't afford a pool but I love to look at them so by painting the wall swimming pool blue it creates a similar effect (if you have been drinking and aren't paying really close attention).

All kidding aside, the color does make the area seem festive and fun...and cooler somehow (temperature wise). And it definitely supports the emerging Hawaiian tiki theme.
Finally, I'm enjoying my hammock!!!

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