“Brown Coats” Explained

Why do they call the second coat of exterior cement plaster or stucco a ‘brown coat’ when it’s grey? Today I am going to explain that while I’m also showing how to apply a dash finish.

It’s been known that the first coat of stucco is called a scratch coat and that the second coat is termed a brown coat when in all actuality, it’s GREY, now you’ll know the answer.

“Second Coats: Why do they call the second coat of stucco a brown coat?”

Video Published: Oct 9, 2020

The reason that today’s second coats are grey is because the color of the stucco comes from mixing sand, a cement powder product and water together. For more than the last century the most common product is a variation of portland cement which is grey, but, in the past this was not always true. Folks would use whatever aggregate and binders they had available and that would include mud, dirt, sand, rocks and many other things. The second coats were often brown because of this.

As I have seen less than 50 base-coats that were brown in color, I took this project on, not to explain how to dash or make money, but instead to explain what my pal “old man Mr. Whitey” told me 40 years ago.

FYI, When I say, ‘Old man Whitey,’ I don’t mean an old white dude. Okay, I guess I do, but we were pals, so I can say this. When he spoke, I often imagined him explaining stuff without gas-powered mixers but instead plastering from a horse and buggy from the 1800s. Now, I’m Mr. Whitey Mark Fowler, former editor of ‘Walls, and Ceilings,’ would know why they still call the second coat of stucco the “a brown coat” when it’s been grey for the last 150 years. As both he and his dad were Genuine and Genius Plastering contractors. Fowler is currently the executive director of the Stucco Manufacturers

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