Do you have an old stucco exterior house and you are dreaming of redoing it? Or maybe you have a brick house and think it could be better with a new surface, but don’t know how to estimate stucco cost for it?
For both of these reasons, if you’re planning for a new surface for your home, how to estimate stucco cost is an essential part of the math that has to be done. With labor, it’s going to form the biggest expense and you can estimate labor cost from the stucco area so let us start with that.
Traditionally stucco is made on the site and it consists of cement, sand, lime, and water. It’s also sold in ready-mix bags these days and we’re going to cover that here. For traditional handmade stucco, you can calculate what you need from the cubic feet of stucco you need for the walls.
The stucco mix is roughly 1 part cement and 3 parts masonry sand. Lime is usually in the cement already and the parts of the mix will be different for a scratch coat, base coat, and finishing coat.
So when you want to do a big remodeling project that requires large amounts of stucco, it is important to estimate the amount and cost of the stucco required. The cost of stucco per bag is usually not expensive but it is common to underestimate the amount of cement needed to finish a project, giving you a lower cost estimate.
The most common project that requires large amounts of stucco is applying it to the exterior wall of your home. Knowing how to properly measure the walls and calculate the amount of stucco bags needed will let you know the cost of the resurfacing project.
How to estimate stucco
Step 1: Measure the width and length of the walls you want to apply stucco with the tape measure. It’s good to be as exact as possible here as if you under the measure, you’re going to end up with too little stucco.
Running out of stucco is one of the most annoying things to happen if you have long delivery times. To save yourself from stress, double check.
Step 2: Multiply the width by the length of each of the walls you want to stucco. This will give you the square footage of each of the walls. Now not all walls are boxes so you might need to fresh your memory on different calculation formulas.
Step 3: Add up the square footage for all of the walls you will be applying stucco on. This will be the total of square footage requiring stucco.
Step 4: Add 10 percent to the total square footage of all the walls. The 10 percent will help you account for any measuring error and stucco spillage.
This is the important number when you order with ready-mix bags as manufacturers usually inform how big area one stucco bag can cover. It’s usually something like 24 square feet for an 80 lb bag for 3/8 inch thickness, but don’t take my word for it and check it yourself.
Also, you might need to do thicker filling on the walls. One thing to remember is that also surface matters here. The brick wall that is not level will take more stucco than the brick wall that is level. Not all walls are created equal so that 10% extra might come in handy.
Rough estimation on installation labor cost would be $2-$3 for square feet. You need to get estimations from the local contractors if you’re not doing it yourself.
Step 5: For scratch and base coat divide the square feet of your wall (+10%) with the manufacturer labels promised estimated coverage. For Quikrete ½” thick layer would be 15-18 feet coverage so let’s go with that for a rough estimate. For every wall, this is different depending on how level they are and what thickness is needed, but this is for example.
Let us say our total area is 1000 square feet, we divide that by 15 which makes 66 bags. That makes 5280 lb of ready-mix to be ordered. Stucco also comes in 3000lb super sack so might want to ask about prices.
Step 6: Calculate the finish coat in the same way. I’ll use Quikrete stucco as an example as I got their datasheet pretty fast. Coverage here is a lot more as the finish coat is usually pretty thin. It’s 70 square feet so we divide 1000 by 70 and get 14,28.
So our total bags would be 66 +14 ending up at 80 total. Now how do you know how thick you have to make it before you even start? One way would be getting a long straight level and checking your walls. If the level sits nice and straight, you have level walls and might not need to use that much stucco.
If you can’t place the level horizontally or vertically so that there is no gaps between wall and level you should be preparing to spent some more on this project.
To get the cost of stucco, you will multiply the cost of a single bag with how many you need. Simple as that. If you need outside labor to install it, divide the total square feet of your walls with their estimated square feet price.
As stated at the beginning, these are rough estimations on how to estimate stucco cost. The smart way to start the big project (let us say 200 bags) is to check logistics, how fast can you get more stucco. Then, order half of the amount or a little more, delivering shouldn’t cost that much and you will have more space around the house.
This way you will see how much stucco is being used when you get near the halfway and order the next patch accordingly. Also, if you’re working with 80 lb bags, don’t order the finish bags until it’s time to do the finish layer on the whole project.
If left standing on the ground, these bags might get moisture from the ground and start curing. This is a problem with projects that last for months usually. You start by spring and in autumn your bottom layer of the pallet is rock hard.
If the delivery costs aren’t too high, it’s good to have a workable amount, and a week or two before you need a refill, order more. Just remember that the delivery needs to be trustworthy so your project won’t have standing days.
When you take all of these factors into account, you will have a smooth stucco project in your hands. If you hire people for the job, have them working smart as well. It will end up saving some money for you.