Anyone who has experience with Smooth Finish Stucco, often known as Santa Barbara
Finish, understands that these finishes are considered to be some of the most
stunningly beautiful architectural surfaces. The smooth, variegated finish reeks of class
and is in high demand for the finest homes and buildings being constructed today. But
there is also a downside to these finishes, in that perfectly smooth finishes of
conventional Santa Barbara finish coat are prone to cosmetic cracking and are even
more prone to cracking when there are even tiny amounts of building movement due to
building settling, seismic influences, heavy vibration or other outside influences.
It is broadly understood that a certain amount of cosmetic cracking is to be expected
and accepted as a trade off for these gorgeous finishes. It is still desirable for
architects, builders, designers, and building/homeowners to do everything practically
possible to reduce or mitigate cracking with these finishes. Historically, it has been a
worthwhile quest to strive to achieve a classic smooth finish with little or no cracking.
The existing solutions include “base and mesh”, a base layer of acrylic modified cement
(containing flexible crack resistant polymers) with fiberglass cloth (mesh) prior to the
application of the smooth finish. We have always strongly recommended base and
mesh for all smooth conventional stucco finishes. It is our opinion that all projects with
smooth conventional stucco finish should receive base and mesh.
Other approaches have been to use synthetic (acrylic modified) smooth stucco finish
coat, a product that we have deep experience with which by its nature is much less
prone to cracking. These finishes can be beautiful, and very stable in color but with less
variegation of the color which, by some, is thought to be a somewhat less authentic look
and feel – that of course is a very subjective perception. Sometimes for contemporary
architecture, a less variegated finish is considered to be more appropriate than the
typical smooth finish color variegation.
Somewhat recently we at Apptek have discovered a new product that can achieve the
classic, variegated, smooth stucco finish with innately less cracking. This is a
formulation developed by Texston Architectural Surfaces. The product is named Ortex.
With Ortex, you can achieve the desired classic Santa Barbara smooth finish along with
the same variegated color, but with a significantly reduced propensity for typical smooth
finish cracking. The founder of Texston, Ofer Regev, developed this proprietary
formulation that includes a very specific microfiber configuration that increasing the
structural integrity of the thin smooth finish coat, to reduce cracking and additionally has
added the ingredient of a proprietary acrylic element that provides extra flexibility, but
does not prevent the achievement of the desired variegation typically associated with
classic Santa Barbara finishes.
offers this option for all smooth finish quotes and is excited about this advance – an
achievement that we’d been seeking for years.
Contact Apptek Stucco today for all your residential & commercial jobs in the San Diego, California area!