Give Stucco a Go


At The Relocatable House Co. we sometimes hear from people that they are cautious about shifting Stucco houses because there is a perception that, due to the fact that Stucco cladding has little elasticity, the houses are difficult to move.


In our experience Stucco houses usually shift quite well – there is of course the minor risk of cracking, however we have in the past used solid plasterers with great success to touch up any cracks. Generally any cracking occurs in the stucco itself, whilst the timber framing behind it remains in tact.


Because of the weight of the house, there is also the chance that the bearers have to be beefed up; and the foundations can also be slightly more expensive to relocate.


Sometimes the house is cut in two for an easier shift, and again we have had success with solid plasterers who have seamlessly restored the joins.


While there is no guarantee that you’ll have a smooth shift, Stucco homes are solid and long-lasting.


Stucco is one of the most versatile and widely used claddings in history – in use for over 9000 years, in fact.


Stucco as a cladding gained popularity in New Zealand in the early part of the last century and has enjoyed periods of revival as a preferred cladding choice, predominantly on residential buildings.


Stucco can be thought of as a thin concrete skin applied to the building. Essentially, stucco is basically cement, aggregate, and water. Additives can be used to help hold the mixture together, make it more durable, more plastic, or regulate the setting time. Stucco in essence is an exterior plaster.


If installed properly, stucco is a very durable cladding, with good water resistant qualities that will provide a long economic life and appearance.


Stucco can be applied over a variety of materials. In New Zealand, traditionally the plaster was applied to a chicken mesh lath fixed over a building paper backing fixed directly to the framework of the building. As technology developed the mesh lath evolved to incorporate protrusions in the lath to bring the majority of it off the wall allowing the reinforcement attributed to be closer to the outside surface of the cladding.


Below is an excerpt from a Council Property File detailing the construction of the stucco cladding in 1956 on the Stylish with Stucco house we currently have on our website:



“EXTERNAL WALL SHEATHING:-  Cover the walls externally with WALASCO Cement Board sheathing, well nailed to the studs. Stagger the joins of the sheets where possible, and all joins shall be made on solid timber. The inside of the porches shall be sheathed with WALASCO as for the main walls.


WALLS:-           Prepare walls for plastering by tightly stretching on 17 or 18 gauge ¾” mesh wire netting stapled to the studs with a staple behind each staple. All external walls and porches to receive one straightening coat and set-in ventilators. (Pre-cast vermin proof, 9” x 6”.)


STUCCO:-        To consist of three coats.


First Coat:-       Mixture 4 to 1 Cement Plaster plus 10% Lime with the addition of large quantities of cow hair to be mixed in a concrete mixer in order to thoroughly incorporate the hair. This scratch coat to be applied onto the netting and adequately raked to provide a key for the straightening coat. The whole to be well watered, after the first day, daily for 7 days.


Second Coat:-  Cement plaster proof 3 to 1 to be applied and the whole of the work to be straightened. Form all reveals, hoods and drip mouldings in this coat.


Third Coat:-     To consist of Papamoa Sand and SNOWCRETE in the proportion of 2 ½ Sand to 1 Snowcrete; this coat to be applied 1/8” thick and suitably textured. The whole of the work to be left in a clean and workmanlike manner.”

Stucco has kept pace with the times, reflecting changes in materials, technology, and application methods while maintaining a timeless beauty and lasting appeal.


Before you send the idea of relocating a stucco house to the “too hard basket” give Chrissey or Richard a call on 0508 4 RELOCATE. They have sound advice and success stories to share.