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Stucco vs. Plaster: Which to Choose and Why

Historically, there have been a few variants of stucco and plaster mixes that were commonly used to build houses. Over the years, though, the two terms have mistakenly been used interchangeably even though they’re not entirely the same thing. Homeowners often have a hard time differentiating between the two building materials because they have similar compounds and properties. The problem is that, through the years, stucco and plaster have developed vastly different purposes and properties, and the two should not be confused for one another when it comes to stucco repairing, plastering, or plaster painting. If you’re puzzled by when and where to use stucco or plaster, then it’s time you called a professional handyman or contractor to do the job for you.
stucco repairing

Understanding the Difference between Stucco and Plaster

To begin with, you should know that stucco is actually a form of plaster. Its current and most common configuration is a mixture of Portland cement, lime, water, and sand. Alternatively, plaster can have a few different configurations depending on how it’s implemented. It’s typically comprised of plaster of Paris (also known as gypsum plaster), lime, and water.

One of the main differences between stucco and plaster, other than their compounds, is application and functionality. Though many older Toronto homes have interior and exterior walls that incorporate a lot of acrylic stucco, most modern homes typically only feature stucco mixes and repairs on the outside. This is because of the cost-effectiveness, durability, and weather-resistant nature of the material.

Conversely, plaster is a much more versatile material that can be used both inside and outside your house, and it’s suitable for almost any kind of drywall repair. It’s just as cost-effective and low maintenance as stucco.

How Stucco Repairs Can Save You Money

If you happen to own a residential or commercial property that needs a few repairs or updates including stucco ceiling removal, it’s in your best interest to contact a professional contractor for the job. The procedure itself may seem simply enough for the average do-it-yourself type of person, but the fact is that scraping your popcorn ceiling and then smoothing it out can be very messy, labour-intensive work.

If you’re inexperienced and don’t know anything about stucco, it can also be dangerous to your health. A lot of people are unaware that stucco used in structural ceilings before the 1970s contained a lot of asbestos, and if the ceilings haven’t been updated since they were originally built, the asbestos is still lurking there.

When you start scraping the ceiling, all of those particles fall down all over and around you. Without proper safety measures in place, such as surgical masks and thorough clean-up, you could be risking your own health and the health of anyone else who uses that property. It takes a great deal of precision and knowledge to smooth out a popcorn ceiling because even the tiniest mistake can cause major problems, such as bubbling, air pockets in the plaster, or cracking. These are all avenues to let moisture into the plaster, which will eventually cause it to rot from the inside out and lead to further costly and avoidable repairs in the future.

Instead of doing your own stucco ceiling repairs, call the experts at Mississauga Handyman. We have nearly 40 years of experience in stucco ceiling removal, interior painting, and carpentry repairs. We extend our services to Toronto and the rest of the GTA as well. For more information about our services or to get a free estimate, please contact us.
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