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I just bought an old house that has five different kinds of outside wall coverings.

I was thinking I could remove the fake stones and the old wooden siding and then place strapping over top of the stucco to attach the Hardie Board to without removing the old stucco.

Several things I have read online say that I should remove the old stucco first. That seems like a lot of work for what it's worth and am trying to get an idea of what I am getting myself into before I start.

Any advice or instructions would be appreciated. Do I have to remove the old stucco? Or can I go straight over it?

Here is a photo of the house, two different types of crushed rock stucco, a white cement type stucco, fake stone, and finally and wooden planks.

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  • I would think there would be no problem with hardie over stucco, I would be more concerned about why so many different styles, was there some type of remediation/ repair work done?
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 24 '20 at 14:21
  • @EdBeal, that "lap siding" definitely looks like a cheap fix for work done on or from the outside.
    – Jack
    Apr 24 '20 at 15:24
  • I have some Hardie board put on new construction 25 yrs ago , excellent except steel nails were used About 5% of the nails show rust spots in the paint. I suggest aluminum nails . I go around each year with Kliz to touch-up ( Kilz matches the paint very well). Apr 24 '20 at 16:45
  • @EdBeal, It's a single story bungalow that was built in the 60's placed on top of a basement built in the 80's. Not a great setup, but the price and location are good. Apr 24 '20 at 17:40
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For weathering in you home, it would be best to remove the stucco.

To add strapping, then the siding would place a lot of emphasis on how the windows are treated for weatherproofing. To do that properly, the stucco needs to be removed from around the windows and add thick trim and head flashing before the siding is set so the trim bridges the gap created by the strapping.

To remove the stucco, it can be removed in sheets, really heavy sheets, really heavy sheets with a bunch of nails sticking out the back side that are in really solid... with wire teeth all around the edges ready to rake the skin off of you. But doing it this way using gloves, will keep the trash to a minimum.. If a right angle grinder is used to cut the stucco, then the wire ends will be kept to a minimum.

Real stucco is 3/4" thick, and solid masonry, with expanded metal lath reinforcement. The stucco can be thicker, or thinner, but 3/4" is the norm. If you go that way, as in removing the stucco, it can be elaborated on farther.

More on adding it over the stucco. It would be best to find the studs to attach the strapping to, since when the siding is done, there will be a lot of weight hanging on each piece.

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  • Expanded metal is a whole different ball game than wire mesh , If expanded metal stucco is left in place strapping would not be needed. But I agree the thickness for trim is an issue.
    – Ed Beal
    Apr 24 '20 at 17:30
  • @EdBeal In my opinion, the stucco looks like it is in great shape, except for obvious places. If tied in properly, I would opt to have the stucco repaired in places rather than adding siding everywhere....
    – Jack
    Apr 24 '20 at 17:41
  • Good point about adding the flashing around the windows, I had not considered that. Probably best solution for weatherproofing would be to remove all five of the different wall coverings. I think that would be a huge job, might not even be worth it considering the wire ends etc. Thanks for the information. Apr 25 '20 at 0:06
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You do not need to remove the stucco. I have installed Hardie Board siding right over stucco more than once with great results.

You will have to provide strapping throughout your house to support the siding. And this needs to be done where it is continuous level. This is going to provide some challenges on the area that has siding and rock. What happens to the levels once you displace the rock?

Really for your specific house where it looks to be in great shape (while maybe outdated) you probably can't determine whether you strap or go down to the studs until you start demoing different sections. I have seen rigid foam boards plus strapping used to level things.

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