Should Stucco Be Thick? (Everything You Need to Know!)

Stucco has been around for a pretty long time and is one of the easiest exterior finishes to apply, but what a lot of people don’t know about these products is that they go on varying surfaces in specific thicknesses.

You’re probably wondering why this should even matter. Well, it matters because a stucco finish that is too thick or too thin will hinder the structural integrity of your home.

A stucco application with inadequate thickness cannot effectively withstand weather elements and will crack or deteriorate quickly.

If you plan to stucco your walls yourself, you must know not only what goes in your stucco mix but exactly how thick it should be to form a lasting finish.

Here’s How Thick Stucco Should Be:

Stucco should be at least ⅞ inch thick when applied on a surface to have a strong and durable finish. Stucco is usually applied in coats; the three-coat stucco is considered the best option. It offers a thickness of about ⅞ inch, with each layer being at least ⅜ inch thick excluding the finish coat.

What is the Minimum Thickness of Stucco?

The thickness of stucco that you use is an important detail during the construction or modification of your building because too much or too little stucco can cause a problem and compromise the integrity of your home.

Stuccos are usually applied in coats, and each layer or coat applied should be thick to some degree.

The minimum thickness of stucco depends on the type of stucco and the surface on which you are applying the stucco. However, across all surfaces, the least thickness used as the finish coat should be at least ⅛ inch and ⅜ inches for the scratch and brown coat.

For the total thickness from the base to the finish, the thickness of the stucco should range between ½ inch and ⅞ inches.

When your stucco is too thin, it’d crack unduly and offer little to no protection to your home’s structure.

Stucco that is too thick would most likely not adhere to the surface that it is applied on and wouldn’t cure properly.

Hence, it is important to stick to the required thickness when applying stucco to a surface.

How Many Coats of Stucco Do You Need?

Three coats of stucco is considered the best option. You need to apply three coats of stucco on your wall and the exterior of your home because it is long-lasting and considerably stronger than two coats or one coat of stucco.

Additionally, it is the widely accepted application requirement for stucco across many states.

In a three-coat system of applying stucco, the layers are arranged in the following manner, the lath, which is a combination of paper and wire first, followed by the scratch coat, brown coat, and the finish coat.

The finish coat is not counted as part of the layers because it is considered the thinnest layer and a requirement for whatever system of stucco application that you might use.

Hence, it is called three coats of stucco and not four.

The lath forms the foundation for the stucco to be applied. It involves setting an asphalt-based paper over a mesh of wire. It is the first step and an important process of the three-coat system of stucco.

The scratch coat is then applied over the lath. The scratch coat is the first cement-based stucco layer applied over the wall.

It forms the base and horizontal lines are drawn over it so that the next layer or coat applied can stick better because its surface is rough or textured.

Its job is to provide an adhesive surface for the subsequent layers. It is usually about ⅜ inches thick.

The brown coat comes next after the scratch layer to form an even surface. It gives the surface a semi-finished look that only needs minor touch ups to be perfect. It is the layer that is often compromised in other systems of stucco coat.

However, in the three-coat system, the brown layer is about ⅜ inches thick, just like the scratch, and it is carefully done to give a perfect aesthetic look.

The finish coat is an added layer to perfect all the finishing touches and it can come in a wide range of colors.

It is the layer that is the most aesthetic. It requires only about ⅛ inch of stucco, and it is the lightest layer in the three-coat stucco system.

This layer can be customized according to the design you want or hope to achieve with your building.

The three-coat stucco is considerably thicker than other systems of applying stucco. It offers a stronger structure and more resistance to wear and tear.

It is the best option to use when considering using stucco for your exterior. The only drawback is the tediousness of the application process. 

How Thick is a Three-coat Stucco?

The three-coat stucco system is generally considered the best method of applying stucco to buildings.

A three-coat stucco finish is usually about ⅞ inches thick. It comprises three layers of stucco and an underlying lath, which is simply an infused paper and wire mesh.

The scratch coat is usually ⅜ inch, the brown coat is typically ⅜ inch, while the finish coat is a fixed width of ⅛ inch. So the thickness is totaled ⅞ inch from the base to the finish coat.

The thickness of the three-coat stucco is considered necessary to provide adequate resistance to wear and tear, strength and durability to your walls, and to prevent cracking.

Cracking is the common bane of walls; however, with three coats of stucco, the chances of cracks occurring in your wall are reduced.


The thickness of stucco is considered important to the structural integrity of a building. The stucco should be at least ⅝ inch thick and at least ⅞ inch thick. It is important that the stucco applied is neither too thick nor too thin.

The three-coat stucco comprises three layers of stucco and an underlying mesh wire infused with paper. The stucco layers in the three coat system include the scratch coat, the brown coat, and the lightest layer, the finish coat.