Traditional stucco is applied to horizontal wood lath with a small space between each wood lath so the first layer could attach itself to the wall. Following World War II, the introduction of metal wire mesh replaced the use of wood lath and by adding Portland cement to the traditional mix of lime, sand and water brought up the modern stucco. By galvanizing the wire making it corrosion resistant, it is suitable for exterior wall applications.
Stucco is applied in three layers, the scratch coat, the brown coat and the finish coat. The two base coats of plaster are hand-applied. The finish coat can be troweled smooth, hand-textured, or floated to a sand finish. In the exterior wall applications, the wood lath is installed over a weather-resistant felt paper sheet that protects the framing from the moisture that can pass through the porous stucco.