Stucco Question

Hi Gang! My Build is going well. I just finished Step 7, laying the firebricks in herringbone. That step went well. Tomorrow i plan to place the form and lay the brick around it. However, looking forward in the steps, i was looking at the stucco. So i was doing some checking and we have a lowes close by. Looking a the stucco available there are several options, and i am not really sure which one i need. Hoping you can help. There is:

Base Coat Stucco
Once Coat Stucco
Finish Coat Stucco

Would i use a combination of the Base and Finish coats? I just want to make sure that i get the correct stuff. Thanks all! I will post pictures when completed!!

Hi Mike! Glad to hear your build is progressing. I bet that you went back to that hearth the next day and impressed yourself with how snazzy the herringbone looks. :slight_smile:

So we’re looking at the same thing, here’s the section about stucco (OR mortar) from the general notes at the beginning of the manual:

STUCCO / MORTAR SHELL – The biggest misconception with the insulated oven occurs with the versatile stucco or mortar shell. This “shell” performs MANY duties and is required when insulating your oven with Ceramic Fiber Blanket.

  1. The shell is 2 rock-hard 1⁄2” thick layers of STUCCO or MORTAR MIX. While stucco is preferred, it can be regional and hard to find in some areas. If a dry stucco mix is not available, standard Mortar Mix can be used.
  2. Stucco is different from mortar mix as it contains synthetic fibers that increase its strength and durability.
  3. The stucco is used in conjunction with the metal lathe (chicken wire) to create a reinforced shell around the oven (think of the metal lathe in stucco like rebar in cement). This shell keeps the ceramic fiber blanket locked in place around the oven and also allows the end user to mortar ANY TYPE of veneer to the oven.
  4. The stucco or mortar shell can be painted, but it is preferred that you mortar a finish veneer to the shell.
  5. Once you paint the stucco, you cannot apply a veneer using mortar (unless you strip the paint).
  6. Only use dry stucco mix. Pre-mixed stucco is cost-prohibitive (you will need about 280lbs of wet / mixed stucco).

Looking at the three options you picked from Lowes, I’d say any of them would work fine, but you’d be wasting your money with Number 3 for sure. The “One Coat” option specifies it has fiberglass fibers, but I suspect the base coat has reinforcing fibers of some kind as well.

One random note I saw in the “Community Q&A” at the bottom of the page was from a QuiKrete tech rep who says that the base coat formula won’t work in this kind of application. He was presuming that it was being applied over soft insulation, not the mineral fiber that Brickwood specifies. He also was presuming that there would still be a lot of heat transmitted through to the stucco, which is not the case here.

I think you’d be fine using the Base Coat stucco. Just be sure to allow curing time between coats, because it will be tempting to judge by look and feel after the first coat. You don’t need the “finish coat” formula, except if you are considering stucco as your final outer shell. (Hint: don’t.)

And remember, you can use ordinary mortar as well. You’re not coating an exterior wall with this stuff—you’re ensuring the insulation stays mated to your firebrick oven liner and giving yourself a base for the “pretty finish” that is the last step in your project.

And, can’t wait to see those pictures!


thanks for the reply, i appreciate your advice. I did some looking around and Stucco seems to not be something that is carried here in Central PA locally. I can order it, but will take about 2 weeks to get here. I am on a mission to get this oven done and be cooking pizzas in 2 weeks! So i have decided to go with the mortar instead, to spice it up a little i would add some color to the mortar.

It would give the mortar a nicer color versus the drab grey… then if i wanted to do veneers, i could always do those nect spring over this mortar.


Mortar will do the trick! And I like the way you think about coloring it.

Yes, you could. The mortar by itself is important for keeping the insulation wedded to the firebrick (as we’ve already said) and will keep water, whether solid or liquid, away from that insulation layer. You will need to clean the outer shell to make sure every trace of soot and dirt and bird poop (because of course!) is removed. Search the forums for threads about that when you’re ready, but it’s not difficult.

Proceed with your mission, Mike! Completion is in sight!

Big_Mike, just saw that you are in Central PA. I am too. I built the Cortile Barile back in the late Winter/early Spring, and have been cooking with it during the summer.

For the dome I used QuikWall surface bonding cement. It is essentially a stucco, with fibers embedded in it. I used QuikWall on the blocks for the foundation (dry laid blocks with surface bonding cement) so I had a bag left anyway. It worked fine, cured fast, has presented zero problems. They have it at the Lowes in State College, PA, so I expect they’ll have it at all the others.

We used dye on it for coloration, but it is really tricky (read: impossible for me) to get the dye proportions exactly right, so when all was said and done we painted the base and the dome to match.

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Shout out to Central PA! Thanks for the reply! I had already purchased the Mortar and the color when i saw your post. I put a bare scratch coat on, let that set and them put on a color layer of mortar. i ended up using the “BUF” color from lowes. Here is a pic of the final layer on the oven. Still have some work to do to finish it, but happy with it so far.
Thanks again!

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Look’s great!. I too just finished my stucco layer. Used two coats of base coat. I spread it and my wife finished it. Turns out she’s better at it than I am. After 4 days of curing we painted it with a masonry paint. Now just have to close off the front and cure the oven.

Happy cooking.