CHEMISTRY of STUCCO/ like a good baker

 
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     Let’s remember the definition of stucco:  Portland cement, with sand, and lime.  First what is Portland cement; it is a form of cement, heated in a kiln to 1450 degrees c.   It has been used in the U.S. FROM ABOUT 1910.   Their is some debate about Portland vs. pre. 1910 methods, maybe softer is better, CEMENT IS MUCH DIFFERENT than most think.
   Cement is a binder, made from crushed natural elements like clay and limestone; it is a complex mixture of elements and cooked.
   

 Cement; the so called roman mix, or Greek, who realize knows which came first, was perfected by the adding of volcanic ash. WHY;   it took centuries to realize that heat, like      volcano     heat, changes the structure of crushed elements; lime stone. Bricks have been around for 10, ooo plus years.  Natural concrete has been around for 12 million years. 

 (Concrete and cement are two different things) concrete is made by using cement, among other elements) some historians say the pyramids where plastered white.  But it was only 2000 years ago cement was perfected, someone put volcanic ash in their mix.   THIER IT WAS.

 

 Cement had a whole new destiny.   Portland cement is taken even further, heated hotter.  It was invented in England by a brick layer Joseph Aspin; in his kitchen He named it from the Portland isle. Area in England in about 1843,   Stucco is a mix of cement, lime and sand. We use Portland cement in the U.S.

 

       There are methods to use lower heat clay and limestone.  But for the most part, we use Portland. When mixing altitude matters, temperature matters.  A huge factor is how dry the air is. I have spent most of my life, plastering in a much aired climate.  But, I have done my share in very wet climates. In the dry climate we are constantly trying to slow the drying process down. 

 Spraying it with water, in the wet climates we are trying to speed it up, more lime.    I worked for an old plasterer in the 1970s, which at the time was 85 years old.  He would say "you will never be a master plasterer until you have your own recipes".  

 He would also "say 30 years, every day, and then you might be getting close."   He was a GREAT PLASTERER, a master at scroll work.  He could make crown molds look like wood with his hand. 

   As my plastering career has evolved. I think he was right. When I started with him, he and, the other plasterers where as gruff as it gets (only at work, they all acted different around their wife’s, of course they all had money allot of money) they were very good at intimating young men.  It did not work on me; I was the son of a Marine, who treated me on our big ranch like a new recruited every day.

 (That was a good thing, I loved working with him), it made me love the sun, and physical labor.  I gained their respect quickly, because I knew how to work.  They where ARTIST; I look back at our town, and all over America as I travel.

 

   And think the best stucco, and plastering work done in this country, was in the 60s, and 70s.  I always look at our library built in the 60s.  It’s a fortress of plaster.  But think about this one, I started plastering in the mid 70s.  Starting wage for a hod tender was about 13 $ per hr. My rent was 75 $ a month. I bought a brand new chey Silverado for 4,500 dollars.  I remember being mad @ 200$s month for 2 years. 

The guys I worked for where all rich.  Now we have illegal labor being exploited, and in some cases the contractor exploiting them pays them nothing.  If they quit, He just finds some more.  It is a national disgrace. 

 The homeowners need to take some of the blame. In the 70s if the guys I worked for, pulled on a homeowners job, and unloaded a crew of illegal labor. As he sat on his fat ass, ate hamburgers, and talked on his cell phone.

    That contractor could start looking for pallbearers. Quality starts with the person, or persons paying the bill.   IF YOU ARE A HOMEOWNER, AND YOU ALLOW A CONTRACTOR TO EXPLOIT LABOR, YOU ARE CHEATING YOUR SELF, and YOU’RE COMMUNITIY.                                                                                                                                                                                                   

 

  Stucco Back to stucco (another rant, I can’t help myself, plastering is a passionate subject) Stucco has been used for 1000s of years, all over the world. Many companies have bagged, and sold all kinds of stucco mixes.  But the bottom line is stucco is a mix of sand (aggregate) lime, and cement. 

 

 A lot of the pre mixes around the country have shredded fiber glass strains mix in them.  When I started plastering in the 70s, allot of plasterers where still mixing in animal hair, mostly horse hair.  We had a very large meat industry in our town.  So the plasterers had cheap access to animal by-products.  Their where some still using animal blood as glue, (They called it mooses milk).  Many plasterers where using calcium in, the winter time.   Now many plasterers use all kinds of additives. Anti- hydro’s, acrylic, and latex glues

 I will be posting a lot of great articles on the history of stucco.    Stay tuned.
 
 
 
 
Repairing or Restoring Bad Concrete
 
 
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TheHistoryofConcreteTextual.mht
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kevin blanch,
Apr 22, 2010, 8:40 AM
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