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Stucco Textures And Finishes

Stucco Textures, A Visual Aid

There are a few different stucco textures that can be achieved and having a look at all of them can give you a general idea of what to expect and maybe even help you decide on which one you want to use on your house.

These are just a few examples of what is out there, some of the more popular ones anyways and each one has its own unique characteristics and style. Some textures work better to achieve an overall look and feel like a smooth texture for a Mediterranean look or a sand finish for a more modern look.

These are just a few examples of what is out there, some of the more popular ones anyways and each one has its own unique characteristics and style. Some textures work better to achieve an overall look and feel like a smooth texture for a Mediterranean look or a sand finish for a more modern look.

Cat Face Textures:


Is smooth with smaller to larger rough areas in between as you can see in the pictures below. These are known as inclusions and can vary in size, shape and how often they are used throughout the finish.

  • Can be achieved using a synthetic OR traditional type of stucco
  • Can vary greatly, depending on how large and close inclusions are in relation to each other
  • Achieved using two coats of finish
  • Can be troweled on or sprayed on, but always is finished off by hand
  • Usually done in either a fine or medium stucco product

Dash Texture/Finish:


This finish is sprayed on and can be light, medium or heavy in volume and has it’s own unique look. This texture can be applied by hand (for smaller areas) or sprayed on (using a small hopper gun). Two to three coats are usually applied in order to achieve a uniform coat.

  • Both synthetic and traditional stucco will work for this particular texture
  • Easily patched, providing that the color matches up correctly
  • Somewhat rough after it dries, which may be a problem for some
  • One person can apply this type of texture
  • Is applied using more air pressure (fine), an even amount of air and material (medium) or more material and less air (heavy texture)

Lace Textures:


These textures are one of the most common and are typically what is engrained in most people’s minds when the think of stucco. This texture can hide many imperfections and is great for virtually any application, residential or commercial.

  • Traditional stucco is more common when it comes to this finish, but it can be done in an acrylic, but it will not have the depth that traditional stucco will
  • Applied by hand in most cases, but can be sprayed on and then “knocked down” (flattened) using a trowel
  • Can hide many imperfections and is a great “forgiving” texture
  • Is applied in two coats, a base coat and then the texture is applied
  • Comes in a fine, medium and coarse pattern

Sand/Float Finishes:


This is a basic and simple kind of texture that is popular in commercial applications. It can be fine, medium or coarse in appearance and varies depending on the manufacturer. It is troweled down and finished using a float and quick strokes.

  • Is a very versatile finish and can be done using traditional or synthetic stucco
  • Can be applied in one coat and is one of the easiest to apply
  • Is usually troweled on, but can be sprayed on and then troweled down tight
  • A “green float” gives the finish its texture
  • Found in fine, medium and coarse finishes
  • Relatively easy to patch if color matches up and edges are feathered in nicely

Smooth Textures & Finishes:


These are one of the most difficult textures to achieve, but is growing in popularity. It is the easiest to clean and is very customizable due to the fact that different colors can be added to get a “mottled look”.

  • Is usually a synthetic/acrylic stucco finish, but can be achieved using a fine cement based finish
  • Usually a fine is used to eliminate as many lines as possible, but a medium will also work when using acrylics
  • Achieved using a “swimming pool trowel” or a “pool” trowel
  • Colors can be added directly to the wall to achieve a “mottled” look
  • Is very hard to patch and has a tendency to crack more than other finishes

Worm Finishes:


These are basically finishes that have larger pieces of aggregate in them that when trowels, leave little groove like indentations in the texture. It is not a very common finish that is used nowadays, but is interesting to look at. It is hard to tell that a house has this type of texture until you take a closer look at it.

  • Is usually a synthetic stucco finish and uses special materials (synthetic stucco mix that uses special aggregates in it) that must be used in order to achieve the texture
  • Comes in a fine, medium or coarse pattern that is shown below
  • Not a very popular finish, but different than most others in the lineup
  • Hard to patch and hard to apply
  • Is applied by hand and rubbed around in a circular motion to achieve the desired finish

Santa Barbara Finish:


This is like a smooth finish, but the brown coat is not flat like in the smooth coat. The brown in the Santa Barbara Finish has depth to it, which gives the finish a little more character and elegance.

  • Is usually a traditional type of stucco material
  • Is smooth when applied and dries
  • Is applied in two coats using a pool trowel
  • Is difficult to apply and patch

About the Author The Stucco Guy

My name is Ryan and I have been in the construction trades for many years now and I feel that there is a huge "knowledge gap" when it comes to particular trades.... like stucco. I made this site to inform others about the simplicity of the art and that many people can do stucco themselves, if they put their minds to it. I hope you find the information here useful and please don't hesitate to contact me by leaving a comment. Thanks for stopping by!

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