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November 9, 2013
Stucco: Color coat


Scott Greer’s work crew applies the third and final coat of stucco to our mountain home

With our entire mountain home being covered in stucco, the building will be completely impenetrable to those rascally woodpeckers. Completely, that is, except for one spot. Eight spots, actually. The eight fascias of the roof – where rain gutters would normally go – still have exposed wood. And while these strips are only eight inches high, we cannot trust those rascally woodpeckers to leave them alone.

We could cover these spots at any time, before or after the stucco work is finished. But currently, there is scaffolding erected all around the house. Gail wanted to take advantage of these elevated platforms, which would certainly be more convenient than hoisting 20-foot ladders.

Unfortunately, our contractor Scott informed us that he would be starting the last phase of stucco work the week of November 4, after which the scaffolding would be removed. This left us very little time to act.

    
With the house sealed up, the woodpeckers have been getting more ingenious. Here, an acorn has been stuffed into the frame of a sliding glass door.

    
The woodpeckers even stuffed acorns into the scaffolding. When Scott dismantled the pipes, acorns came pouring out. Considering that these scaffolds are two-stories tall, that’s a lot of acorns!

So on Saturday, November 2, Gail and Russell drove up to the mountain. While Gail would stay through the following week, Russell (in a separate car) would have a quick overnight. Our job was to cover the three sections of roof fascia that don’t have a deck near them. We would use some rolls of aluminum weather stripping and some roofing nails.

We started on Sunday morning. We discovered that the scaffolding was rather precarious, especially for people working over their heads while leaning backwards off the edge, so we used rope to make some safety lines. Once we figured out what we were doing, the process was fairly straightforward. We had the three sections completed by early afternoon.

    
Gail prepares a roll of aluminum stripping to install over the roof fascias

    
We used some rope to rig extra safety lines on the scaffolding – it would be a long way to fall!

    
A roof fascia, before and after aluminum stripping. We only completed the three fascias that required scaffolding.

Russell had to be back at work by Monday morning, so he departed that afternoon. After he left, Gail went right back up on the scaffolding by herself. She wanted to plug all of the roof ridges with foam to prevent any remaining mouse access to the inside of the house. (Gail later realized that these ridges do not actually provide any access to the inside of the house. But she did find that many of them were stuffed with acorns.)


This photo shows both the roof fascia and the roof ridges.
We used metal roofing screws (with rubber washers) to secure the aluminum stripping, and tucked the strips underneath the overhang of the metal roof.
Gail stuffed the roof ridges with various kinds of foam.

Gail wasn’t alone on the mountain for very long. The stucco crew showed up Monday morning as usual. The third and final coat of stucco – the color coat – would be much smoother than the previous two coats. In addition, the final house color would be mixed in – the “gray nuance” that Gail had previously selected.


Unlike the previous two coats, the color coat of stucco was more like paint than cement


A comparison of the rough brown coat (left) with the smooth color coat (right)

    

    
Some more comparisons of the brown coat versus the color coat. These pictures do not do the color justice – it’s a very nice pale greenish-blue


This photo shows how much thickness the stucco has added to the outside walls of the house!

Once the final color was applied, Gail decided that she was no longer happy with the dark brown color of the trim. So she took further advantage of the scaffolding to start repainting some of the trim in a white color.

    
The trim on the master bedroom windows, before (dark brown) and after (white).


Gail, back up on the scaffolding

By Wednesday afternoon, the color coat – and the entire stucco job – was done. Gail was thrilled with the results. After the crew departed, Gail decided to stay up at the mountain for the remainder of the week to continue working. She make further progress on drywalling various interior walls, and spent several days generally cleaning up. Gail was also treated to a nice surprise when her sister Debbie drove up from the Bay Area for an impromptu overnight on Friday. Gail finally departed the mountain and returned home on Saturday.

    
Some “before” and “after” shots of Gail’s drywall work. This is the plumbing chase in the downstairs ceiling.

    
This is the downstairs bathroom.

We have passed yet another milestone in the construction of our mountain home. We still have five roof fascias to cover, but the house is now just about vermin-proofed. We have not seen a single trace of mice for the last two trips. With the outside of the house now transformed and beautiful, Gail is further motivated to transform and beautify the inside as well.

    
Our mountain home, before and after the final color coat

    
The transformation is especially dramatic if you look at a full “before and after stucco” comparison!

 

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