Stucco around opening durability?

Our concrete is poured and we hope to start laying the block for our base next weekend. We’re planning on finishing our oven with stucco, can anyone comment on how stucco holds up over time around the ovens opening? We’re thinking about doing stucco over the fire brick . Anyway we’re excited about getting to that point and we’re kind of planning the decorating part as we go.

Hi @Aaron,

Congratulations on getting the big slab poured. People are going to see the top of the oven, but you’re going to know just how much work went into building a firm foundation.

Stucco over the firebrick (actually, over the insulating blanket) is the standard way to build the oven—not an option. It’s mortar with reinforcing materials. Once it dries, it is waterproof and durable. It can be painted, and it can take some hard knocks. Some of the builds you see in the galleries stop at the stucco, because it makes a very attractive finish material all by itself.

You are using a mesh grid (a.k.a. chicken wire) to reinforce the stucco, especially around the oven opening. My advice would be to pay careful attention to application instructions, and allow sufficient curing time between the two coats. The mesh grid acts as a matrix to hold the stucco in place.

Hope this helps, and good luck with the next stages of your build!

Having just finished this step, I’d recommend leaving the first coat of stucco rough. The second coat will adhere more readily. Lesson learned the hard way.

Good luck!

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Thank you to all, we poured the slab and the three pieces of slab in Phoenix in 107 degree heat… :crazy_face: oh well we’re still alive, but it is a lot of work. I understand the insulation/ stucco instructions, I was just wondering if stucco holds up if we stucco the front facing fire brick. Does heat effect it ?
Anyway we’re a long way from that point, I’m hoping to lay the block next weekend!

Wow. Your slabs should cure pretty quickly. :crazy_face:

As we are clear on the basic stucco question, I’m wondering if others who have done it this way can share experiences.

Hope you’re rehydrating in good order, @Aaron!

I am going to second what @maddox10 stated. Make the first coat rough. I used mortar and took a nylon broom gently ran it along the freshly placed stucco. It made little lines and made the second layer a but easier. It is still a pain overall, but you will get the hand of it as you go along. Good luck man!

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I am almost to the stucco portion, probably next weekend. I have been looking on you tube at brick wood oven builds, and came across a competitor builder’s video. They were showing that they use a thin rebar like a #3 bar that goes over the top to the other side. Then they use the chicken wire. They say the spacing helps the stucco not to crack. Now I myself do not see my self using something that thick of, nothing thicker than a 1/4 inch, if I am to do it. Plus I would have to figure out how to keep in place.
Anyways my question is kind of the same as Joy’s. Does the stucco finish crack a lot or does it need yearly maintenance ?

I just went ahead and followed instruction a few hair line cracks, but already found the solution to that on this great site.

Hi Johnny,

Sorry I missed your first post (before the stucco); we had a little storm here in New England that knocked me off line for a few days.

I’m glad you found your answer here! I’m thinking the video you saw is not off-course. If they bent the rebar (not as hard as most folks think), it would naturally stay in place.

If you are using your stucco shell as the final finish, you’ll need to paint it with a good latex house paint (don’t leave it raw), and you’ll want to treat it the same way you would your house. It needs periodic attention to keep the paint coat intact.

Let us know when you’re firing up your oven!

Thank you Matt I came up with different finish which I will post pics once done. 100+ temps here and 365 fires in California. The air quality is not good. Thank you again