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What is Sand Finish Stucco?


At Nexstar Homes, we use sand finish stucco on the exterior of every home we build. In fact, our sand finish stucco is hand applied with a rubberized base paint. This provides a premium finish that increases life expectancy + helps prevent stucco cracks and paint fading.


Over the years, home exteriors have been built with a wide range of different materials. There are many options to choose from, from wood and metal to brick, stone, cement, and even glass.


One of the more popular applications now being used is sand finish stucco, a unique style that has captured the attention of new home buyers all over the United States.


In this guide, we'll explore what sand finish stucco is, how it’s applied to a home’s exterior, what it looks like, and its benefits. In the end, you’ll learn why we chose this sand stucco finish for all of our homes.


What is Sand Finish Stucco?

As the name suggests, sand finish stucco gives buildings a sandy, textured look that is beautiful yet simple. The mixture used for the stucco is made of sand, cement, lime, and water.


This type of stucco is also known as, “float finish” because of the float tool that is typically used to apply it.


A foam float creates the classy and distinctive look a property gets when the job is completed. This style of stucco has long been popular with many commercial buildings but has since become a highly-desirable option for new homes as well.


Most home builders tend to use light, neutral colors when applying this stucco due to its pattern and resulting look.


When applied, sand finish stucco can have either a fine, medium, or coarse texture depending on the look you’re going for. A heavy sand finish will have a larger grain size that stands out a bit more, while a fine sand will be smaller and offer a more elegant appearance. Either of these options is effective at hiding perfections and staying well-maintained for years to come.


How is Sand Finish Stucco Applied?

Although sand finish stucco can be sprayed on like a dash finish, it is more commonly applied gently with a float trowel. When done by hand, the process can be more time-consuming but gives the finish a more smooth and appealing appearance.


The materials generally used when applying sand finish stucco include multiple types of sandpaper, a primer, a smoothing filler, a standard float trowel, a foam float trowel, and the stucco mixture. There are a handful of steps involved before, during, and after the application.


1. Smooth the application surface

To get the process started after rough stucco is added, high grit sandpaper is used to smooth it out. This is done prior to adding other materials as it makes it easier for them to hold onto the surface. Without this step, the sand finish is likely to peel or break off after a short period of time.


2. Wash the surface

Next, dirt and other debris need to be removed from the surface to ensure it’s clean and prepared. The area needs to be lightly sprayed and washed with a hose and then given time to dry completely before moving on to the next step.


3. Apply primer

Once the area has had time to dry, the surface is ready for primer. A clean roller is used to apply the primer over the previously stuccoed area. The primer is usually acrylic and acts as an intermediary between the stucco and the sand finish. It will fill any cracks and even out the surface. It will need to dry overnight so that there are no wet spots.


4. Add the sand finish stucco

Using a standard float trowel, a layer of stucco is applied to the entire wall. As sections begin to dry, a foam float trowel is then used to give the stucco its sand finish look. By occasionally dipping the foam float in water, it will pull sand to the surface while also smoothing out any bumps or cracks.


5. Dry and clean the finish

After the sand finish stucco has had time to dry completely, it is time to remove any dust or leftover residual. Many teams will use air to blow any of this debris off of the surface area.


6. Paint

The final step is to paint the sand finish in the desired color. This is typically done with either a paint roller or an airless spray paint to ensure the stucco can still breathe after the paint has had time to dry.


What Does Fine Sand Finish Stucco Look Like?

When the entire process is completed, fine sand finish stucco has a delicate and soft look that is less noticeable than other types of stucco like a dash finish. The sand granules only slightly stand out from the stucco, giving it a bit of texture and enhanced appearance.


It gives the home a more modern look and is considered highly appealing, especially when viewing the property as a whole. The addition of paint adds another element as you vary the trim from the walls and make everything stand out even more.


Benefits of Sand Finish Stucco

The main benefits of using sand finish stucco are in the overall appearance and its minimal maintenance requirements.


Hiding imperfections

One of the best advantages of a sand finish is its ability to hide imperfections as it faces the elements. Whether it’s heat, rain, snow, or wind, any damage to this type of stucco is rarely noticeable and won’t affect the aesthetics of the property.


Easy to apply

Since it only takes one coat, sand finish stucco is one of the easiest types to apply to a building’s exterior. That means the new commercial property or residential home can be finished more quickly, opening the door for its new inhabitants to get moved in faster.


Simple maintenance

A sand finish can easily be cleaned by simply spraying it off with a hose or a light pressure washer. It can also be patched and repaired quickly if it is even cracked or damaged.


Other Types of Stucco Finishes

Sand stucco finish isn’t the only kind of stucco out there when it comes to home exteriors. Other types you’ll see used on various properties include:

  • Smooth Finish

  • Dash Finish

  • Spanish Lace Finish

  • Santa Barbara Finish

  • Worm Finish

  • Cat Face Finish


Would You Want Sand Finish Stucco on the Exterior of Your Home?

As mentioned previously, a fine sand stucco finish is becoming one of the most popular styles for custom-style homes across the country. It's sandy, textured look is highly desirable and can be customized with a variety of colors and complementary exterior finishes.


At Nexstar Homes, we use sand finish stucco on the exterior of every home we build. Learn more about the Nexstar Advantage and see what other high-quality building materials we use in our beautiful homes.