How to Apply Stucco to a Cinder Block Wall

Written by samantha volz
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How to Apply Stucco to a Cinder Block Wall
Stucco can add style and texture to a breeze block wall. (stucco image by dbvirago from

Concrete walls, including those made of breeze block, provide sturdy and resilient protection for buildings of all kinds, but don't always show the most appealing of appearances. According to the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, these types of walls make prime surfaces for the application of stucco, a cement-based plaster. Because breeze blocks and stucco are made from the same basic components, stucco will stick well to the walls as long as it is carefully and properly applied.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Power washer
  • 3/8 inch wood strips
  • Masonry nails
  • Hammer
  • Mortar mixer or wheelbarrow
  • Water
  • Cement
  • Lime
  • Sand
  • Trowel
  • Straightedge
  • Mason's float
  • Sponge

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  1. 1

    Wash the breeze block wall with a low-pressure power washer. If you are not comfortable using such a powerful tool, you can hand-wash the surface with a mixture of warm water and trisodium phosphate cleaner. The concrete must be free from all dirt, dust and other contaminants to ensure a proper stucco bond.

  2. 2

    Attach a 3/8-inch thick piece of wood horizontally across the top and bottom of the wall. If your wall is extremely tall, attach one in the middle of the wall. Screw the boards into place with masonry nails. These wood pieces will help ensure a straightedge application of stucco. They are only temporary, so they should be placed in sections on the wall where you do not want the stucco to be applied.

  3. 3

    Fill a rented mortar mixer with 2/3 of the necessary water for your stucco. Remember that different cement products will require different ratios of water, so follow specific product instructions. Add 1/3 bag of cement, 1/3 bag of lime and 1 cubic foot of sand per every 17 square feet of breeze block wall you need to cover. Allow these ingredients to mix for a few minutes and add the rest of the water to create your basecoat of stucco. If you cannot rent a mortar mixer, mix the dry ingredients in a wheelbarrow and then add in water as needed per product instructions.

  4. 4

    Mist the breeze block wall with a garden hose to dampen its surface. Do not soak the surface, or the stucco may not stick.

  5. 5

    Fill a mason's trowel with stucco mix. Holding the trowel at a 45 degree angle, sweep the stucco across the wall's surface. Cover only the wall; do not cover the wooden guide pieces. Apply enough pressure to force the stucco into the textured breeze block surface. This coat should measure about 3/8-inch thick over the entire breeze block surface; this is the same width as your wooden boards, so fill until the stucco is even with the boards.

  6. 6

    Place the ends of a metal or wood straightedge between the two wooden pieces you installed early. Draw the straightedge across the surface to even the stucco to a 3/8 inch thickness. Fill in any gaps and repeat levelling until you have a completely uniform surface. After levelling, remove the wooden pieces with a nail puller or hammer. If you had to use a middle board for easier edging, trowel stucco into the gap left by the board and smooth it even with a flat edge until it is flush with the rest of the wall.

  7. 7

    Allow the stucco to settle for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the sheen is gone but the stucco has not completely hardened. Run a mason's float in a circular motion over the entire stucco surface; this will prevent shrinking or cracking as the stucco dries. Allow this coat to dry overnight.

  8. 8

    Mix another batch of stucco as before. Apply a ¼-inch thick top layer of stucco to the surface with your mason's trowel. While the stucco is still wet, roughen it with a damp brush or sponge to texture the surface per your design preference. Allow this coat to dry overnight before making any more changes to the wall.

Tips and warnings

  • The mixing ratios for different stucco products may vary. Follow all specific product instructions regarding mixing.
  • There are a large number of options regarding texturing the top coat of stucco. Some may require other finishing tools.
  • Cement and lime are extremely caustic materials. Always wear work gloves and safety goggles when working with these materials.

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