Stone stucco finishes have been around for thousands of years, since the ancient Romans and Greeks formulated mixtures of marble dust, gypsum and a gluey substance and used them on walls for decoration. Even today, you can see stone stucco finishes in abundance in the Mediterranean.
The hills of Greece, overlooking the sparkling blue sea, are thickly populated with whitewashed concrete structures, many with attractive awnings and canopies. In Spain too, stucco has been a popular finish for both interior and exterior walls and restaurants offering Mediterranean cuisine commonly use the technique to create the right ambience.
In Mexico, stone stucco finishes have been popular since the days when Spanish missionaries travelled the land and brought with them favored architectural styles from their homelands. Coupled with terracotta tiled floors and tiled roofs, they make a cool living space, perfect for the environment in which they are built.
In the 1920s, bungalows with stone stucco finishes started popping up in the American landscape, particularly in the regions with warmer climates. The style remains in favor today for the pristine look of the white finish, however not all stucco is left white. It can be pigmented in colors to suit the consumer and often used are the terracotta hues. Stuccoed bungalows in California and Florida are in demand today and many have been renovated to their former glory or better.
There appears to be no economic disparity about where stone stucco finishes have been used because we see them on tiny Mexican shacks through to Islamic and Indian architecture as well as churches and palaces.
In very recent times, stone stucco finishes have grown in popularity as the regular brick exterior fades from view. Consumers love its neat aesthetics and the whole look lends itself to various other decorating styles. Potted geraniums behind wrought iron railings on a Juliet balcony smack of romance and old-fashioned beauty.
Old recycled wood built into a ground floor balcony with ropes where railings would be, teamed with bright blue striped awnings give a nautical impression. Slightly unkempt lavender bushes against a white stucco wall of a house featuring a heavy wood door with iron hinges, is reminiscent of an English cottage.
Other Applications for Stucco
There are dozens of applications for stone stucco finishes and they all seem to have much to do with sunshine pouring upon the walls of the building. White stucco walls seem to attract the sunlight and they make a very happy picture indeed.
Envisage many of the worlds lighthouses. They commonly wear a beautiful white coat because stone stucco finishes protect the masonry from the harsh elements to which lighthouses are typically subjected. Unlike the masonry itself, the stucco can be reapplied time after time as it wears down.
The beauty of stone stucco finishes, other than the obvious aesthetic ones, is that savings can be made on the bricks that are used in construction. Seconds and oddments can be used in building since they will be covered anyway.
Another advantage of stone stucco finishes is that houses that feature them are more energy efficient since they have fewer cracks and gaps than other finishes.
It is so interesting to consider how many different cultures have employed stone stucco finishes over the millennia and to see how diverse the styles can be. From cottages to mansions, bungalows to palaces, stucco is attractive, low maintenance and long lasting.