Stucco was used as a cladding in about 15% of privately built houses during the 1940s-60s.
The popularity of stucco was influenced by the availability of skilled local plasters – an example is numerous buildings in Ranfurly and in Nelson.
Stucco is a general term for a plaster coating to walls that consists of a cement-mortar made up of a 3:1 sand:cement mix that was typically applied over galvanised wire netting fixed over a diagonal timber board backing typically 6 x 1” (150 x 25 mm).
It was applied in three coats to a finished thickness of approximately ¾” (18 mm). It was common in some parts of the country for external corners to be curved (figure 1).
With a rigid backing, holes or V cuts were made in the outside edges of the dwangs and plates to allow for air to circulate through the timber framing that would otherwise be restricted by the closely fitted backing material.