Creative Building Products

The History of Stucco

"Plaster" an ancient Greek application term meaning "to Daub on" is used to describe interior plaster dating back to 500 BC. When it became popular to apply plaster on the exterior of structures the term "Stucco work", meaning exterior plaster, was developed to describe it as the interior products/materials would not withstand the elements. The first materials used at this time were either lime or mud/clay with straw and sand, until 1824 when Joseph Aspdin a bricklayer in Leeds, England, invented Portland cement by processing and cooking lime and clay together in his kitchen turned laboratory. Joseph named the product Portland cement because it resembled a stone quarried on the Isle of Portland off the British Coast.

For thousands of years the plasterer performed all phases of the work involved in producing the complete job and was regarded as an artist with the highest prestige of all the construction trades. The plasterer developed finished walls, ceilings, and in many cases floors. Later when Portland cement became available in many areas, the plasterer also became involved in the finishing of pavement, sidewalks and similar work. As the volume of work grew, a natural subdivision of the work developed and with the natural evolution of the trade certain specializations developed.

Certain plasterers became lathers and soon did nothing but apply lath (wood at the time). Later other plasterers stayed with the Portland cement part of the trade that was involved in laying concrete floors, sidewalks and roads. These men were then called masons. In this way three different trades developed from one because the various areas of skill became too complex for one man to successfully do all of them.