Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

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Realstreets
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Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby Realstreets » April 22nd, 2014, 1:05 pm

Can any historically-minded people tell me why there are so many stucco houses in Minneapolis? I can't find anything online. I've lived all over the midwest and have never seen so many stucco homes as here. My guess is that it was cheap and it provided insulation before fiberglass. Anyways, as I prepare to purchase a home I think it's ugly and could be frustrating to maintain.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby David Greene » April 22nd, 2014, 1:13 pm

I didn't know we have so much more stucco than other places.

Some houses, at least, have had their clapboard either replaced with or covered over with stucco. One such covered-over house is in the Wedge and the new owners used NRP funds to restore the original clapboard exterior.

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Realstreets
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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby Realstreets » April 22nd, 2014, 1:21 pm

David Greene wrote:I didn't know we have so much more stucco than other places.

Some houses, at least, have had their clapboard either replaced with or covered over with stucco. One such covered-over house is in the Wedge and the new owners used NRP funds to restore the original clapboard exterior.
That's a good point. I think a lot of the "four square" style homes were originally clap board. But then there appears to be a huge stucco boom during the 1920-1930s, in this style.Image

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Nathan
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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby Nathan » April 22nd, 2014, 1:35 pm

I'd have to venture a guess that stucco was a lot cheaper and easier to maintain (or thought to be) than wood siding in our climate? It's also very durable and permanent without costing as much as brick or stone. Plus it can be integrated with brick and stone easily as in the example you pictured. The Tudor and Mediterranean Styles was very popular in that time period, it's very European and chic of course! Maybe Minneapolitans preferred that to kitschy americana style arts and crafts bungalows that are in a lot of midwestern cities. Stucco got a bad wrap in the new homes moisture intrusion debacle, but that had nothing to do with the stucco itself (bad window installation was the culprit in most cases), and is actually a really great siding material. It's difficult to tackle as a DIY project but really if stucco is cared for (it's extremely low maintenance) If you have to re-do it, it'll last for another hundred years with little effort as it has on the house already.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby mattaudio » April 22nd, 2014, 1:37 pm

Most of the houses on my block look like that one above, and most of the stucco appears to be original. Seems like a winner to me.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby Nathan » April 22nd, 2014, 1:47 pm

Also, RealStreets, I've worked in housing design and masonry sales for most of my life, so not necessarily historically based but technically and experience based input there.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby mister.shoes » April 22nd, 2014, 1:49 pm

Both my wife and I love stucco homes, especially the Tudor style with stone or brick accents. Our house is a little too new (1939) to have fallen in that trend. We had the original cedar shakes until two summers ago when we had to replace them—well, either replace or repaint every 3 years due to out-of-control peeling issues. But I digress. No, I don't know why we have so much stucco here in MPLS, but I love it.
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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby Anondson » April 22nd, 2014, 1:52 pm

My parent's home in SLP is about 90 years old with original stucco. They've never done a thing to maintain it, looks better than any aluminum or vinyl siding in the neighborhood. No painting.

Extreme low maintenance indeed.

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Realstreets
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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby Realstreets » April 22nd, 2014, 1:52 pm

Thanks for the input. It's good to know it's hardwearing, but I still don't like it aesthetically. Reminds me of the neo-tudor style homes of the 1970-80s. On a side note I think a lot of the revivals of traditional styles negatively affected my opinion of the authentic homes...

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby Nathan » April 22nd, 2014, 2:05 pm

Realstreets wrote:Thanks for the input. It's good to know it's hardwearing, but I still don't like it aesthetically. Reminds me of the neo-tudor style homes of the 1970-80s. On a side note I think a lot of the revivals of traditional styles negatively affected my opinion of the authentic homes...
Yeah, I mean for the fine tuned eye it's easy to tell the difference between cosmetic masonry (block E) and structural/purposeful masonry. I, growing up in the suburbs also hated stucco for a long time, until I moved to the city and traveled more and saw more genuine uses of the material.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby mister.shoes » April 22nd, 2014, 2:21 pm

Nathan wrote:Yeah, I mean for the fine tuned eye it's easy to tell the difference between cosmetic masonry (block E) and structural/purposeful masonry.
Translation: if you can see little metal seams/joints, it's probably shit. :D
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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby twincitizen » April 23rd, 2014, 6:49 am

I also wanted to chime in to say that I love that Tudor style as well. I have a great photo somewhere of like 4 of them in a row in Linden Hills. Nearly identical, almost tract housing like, but they are gorgeous. It's probably my 2nd favorite style of house in Minneapolis-St. Paul after the Craftsman Bungalow.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby mattaudio » April 23rd, 2014, 7:08 am

twincitizen, there are two for sale on my block in Northrop. Close to the URBs center of gravity these days.... make it happen!

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby eazydp » April 23rd, 2014, 8:34 am

I live in one of these. I like it, but they are not maintenance free. Most houses you see in Minneapolis have the original BASE stucco, however the do a process called re-dashing, which they sandblast the stucco, then apply a new layer to the clean surface created. I just got a quote for my house and it costs about $9,500 for a 1.5 story, not including sand blasting. Normally you do this every 30-40 years.

Compare that to wood siding, or other materials and that is still probably a reasonable cost, since it has to be painted every 5-10 years to look nice. Anything is better than vinyl.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby Nathan » April 23rd, 2014, 8:46 am

eazydp wrote:I live in one of these. I like it, but they are not maintenance free. Most houses you see in Minneapolis have the original BASE stucco, however the do a process called re-dashing, which they sandblast the stucco, then apply a new layer to the clean surface created. I just got a quote for my house and it costs about $9,500 for a 1.5 story, not including sand blasting. Normally you do this every 30-40 years.

Compare that to wood siding, or other materials and that is still probably a reasonable cost, since it has to be painted every 5-10 years to look nice. Anything is better than vinyl.
yeah re dashing is minimal compared to the costs of other materials. also if you're regularly white washing and doing smaller maintenance you can stretch out the dashing.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby mattaudio » April 23rd, 2014, 8:53 am

My stucco home was painted at some point and the paint is now flaking in some areas. I'm contemplating cleaning up the flaking spots to repaint and get a few years out of it, or spending the money to sandblast and redash.

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Nathan
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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby Nathan » April 23rd, 2014, 9:15 am

mattaudio wrote:My stucco home was painted at some point and the paint is now flaking in some areas. I'm contemplating cleaning up the flaking spots to repaint and get a few years out of it, or spending the money to sandblast and redash.
that's a tough call. paint is typically masonry's worst enemy because it traps moisturize in it causing deterioration and caused the paint to flake. if it doesn't seem to be doing any damage to the stucco you could paint it again. there are specialty masonry cement paints that are cement based for stucco, those would be better.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby David Greene » April 23rd, 2014, 9:59 am

eazydp wrote:I live in one of these. I like it, but they are not maintenance free. Most houses you see in Minneapolis have the original BASE stucco, however the do a process called re-dashing, which they sandblast the stucco, then apply a new layer to the clean surface created. I just got a quote for my house and it costs about $9,500 for a 1.5 story, not including sand blasting. Normally you do this every 30-40 years.
Considering that re-siding with wood and painting a house runs into the tens of thousands, this is a great value.

But I do love clapboard. I had a similar experience to Nathan where I hated stucco growing up in the 'burbs but when I saw how it was done properly in the city, I like it. One of the keys, I think, is mixing it with other materials. It looks great on half-timbered houses, for example, but not so much when stucco is 95% of the surface.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby talindsay » April 23rd, 2014, 12:06 pm

My house was built in 1910 with wood siding. It was moved two blocks to make way for a school in 1925, and some time after the move it was stuccoed. Stucco is incredibly hard-wearing: unpainted, a well-done stucco job can go without maintenance for 50 years. Painting it of course introduces the need to do some maintenance, but it also can extend the life a bit, and stucco-specific paint, while still not as good as leaving the stucco alone, is much better than most paints about moisture and breathability. Stucco has great insulation properties, helping to keep the house warm in the winter and cool in the summer, but it doesn't play well with modern ideas about sealing house up so tightly since it does require the house to breathe. See Woodbury as an example of the problems that come about from sealing house up super-tight and then stuccoing them - mold and moisture problems.

When we did an addition on our house in 2003 we paid $1300 to have the addition stuccoed; we decided to change the color back to the original stucco color, so our new stucco had almost no coloration added and obviously isn't painted. The rest of the house's stucco had been painted a steel blue color, and we were quoted $8000 to have the whole house redashed and restored to a natural stucco; in the end I opted to cheap out since the stucco was in great shape, and my brother and I spent a summer week cleaning and repainting the rest of the house with about $600 worth of stucco paint. Ten years later, the addition's unpainted stucco and the original house's painted stucco still match just about perfectly, and both are in excellent shape. So while I would never paint unpainted stucco, it seems that stucco paint ages very well on good-condition clean stucco.

Living where I do in SE Minneapolis, I would say that stucco is the look of my community and an important part of the character of our area. Along with the steep roofs and the tendency for windows to be clustered on the south sides of house set far to the north of their lots, it reflects the nature of building a major city in one of the harshest northern climates at a time before good insulation was widespread. It reflects the era of our city's creation and early development. So maybe you don't like it, which is fine, but it's a big part of Minneapolis.

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Re: Stucco (Portland Cement) Houses

Postby froggie » April 24th, 2014, 6:38 am

Stucco may have "fallen out of favor" at some point, even in Minneapolis. My childhood block (6000 block of 10th Ave) was largely built out in the 1940s. Our house was the only one on the block with a stucco exterior:

Image


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