FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Q:  Is Stucco Italiano a company based in Italy?

No, Stucco Italiano is a Proudly South African Company.  All Stucco Italiano products are locally manufactured.

 

Q:  Where does the name Stucco Italiano come from?

In 2001 we phoned the Italian consulate in Cape Town and told them we intended to start a company specialising in decorative concrete plasters.  Because we knew that Italy was synonymous with quality in this regard, we were searching for a suitable name that could tell all.  They suggested naming the company “Stucco Italiano” and the rest is history.

 

Q:  It is said that it is a commonly known fact in the industry that coloured concrete floors do crack. Can this be true?

No, this is not generally true.  But the perception persists in parts of the industry and one can hardly blame clients questioning this idea about concrete floors.

There are different reasons why concrete floors may crack.  Here one must distinguish between structural and non-structural cracking.

Structural cracking: If there is a structural failure in a concrete structure and/or concrete floor, the failure will usually be visible in the form of significant cracks and/or deflections.  All cracks in this regard will be easily observable on the surface of the concrete floor.  The only way to prevent and/or to cater for these structural failures, is to use the service of a qualified engineer.

Casting a concrete floor is not a simple matter of mixing concrete with cement, sand and aggregate and casting the concrete floor.  Some important issues to be taken into account are: thickness of the concrete floor slab, reinforcement, joints, etc.

Non-Structural cracking: These types of cracks are usually visible in the form of crazy cracking and shrinkage cracking.  Shrinkage cracking can be attributed to insufficient curing of the concrete or it can be due to the time period of casting and the prevailing temperature during the casting process.  These cracks are not significant at all in terms of the structural soundness of the structure, but may be not that pleasing to see due to esthetical reasons.

 

Q:  Should I take special care when designing a decorative concrete floor and/or may I use the normal building standards for this type of concrete floor slab design?

When a decorative concrete floor finish is desired, it becomes important to pay attention to the substructure below.  We always say “what happens under the floor finish, will be mirrored on the floor finish surface”.  By this we mean existing or emerging cracks and/or failures in the substrate below will show on the floor surface.  We advise the use of competent people in the industry with a track record of success in decorative concrete floors to guide you in this regard.

 

Q:  To achieve a cementitious pigmented concrete floor look, could I float colour pigments on the surface and float it in while the concrete is still wet?

This is a major reason why pigmented concrete floors are sometimes regarded as floors that are known as failures.

The approach mentioned above and the way that people may think “this is so simple to achieve the desired look”, is due to a lack of knowledge and very outdated ways of doing things.  The knowledge gained over years and the adoption of new technology has taken pigmented cementitious floors to new levels.  These days, it is correct to regard pigmented cementitious floors as high tech engineered concrete floors.

To float raw pigment in on the surface of wet concrete is the wrong thing to do and will no doubt end in a failure.

 

Q:  What are the floors called where pigmented colouring is floated in on the surface of the wet concrete?

This product is called Colour Hardener.  It is a specially engineered product and needs to be applied in a specified manner and preferably with the necessary knowledge and experience.  This means it is not just a process of adding pigments to the surface of the concrete.  Colour Hardener concrete floors are engineered concrete floors.


Q:  Are Coloured Hardener Floors the only way to achieve a pigmented cementitious floor look?

No, at Stucco Italiano we have developed a cementitious overlay of 3-4mm thick that could be applied on a solid steel trowelled screed.  It is important that the screed should be level, sound and solid.

If you are in any doubt, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will assist you with a specification to install a sound and solid screed.

As mentioned, these 3-4mm Stucco Italiano AquaGuard and Stucco Italiano Solido Floor Plaster overlays, need applicators with the required skill and experience to achieve a high standard of finish.

 

Q:  What is the difference between Stucco Italiano AquaGuard Floor Plaster and Stucco Italiano Solido Floor Plaster?

Stucco Italiano Solido Floor Plaster is a harder product than Stucco Italiano AquaGuard Floor Plaster and is therefore more hardwearing.  It can withstand increased traffic and is more chip resistant.  This product is the latest development in our floor product range.

 

Q:  Can Stucco Italiano AquaGuard Floor Plaster and/or Stucco Italiano Solido Floor Plaster be applied over tiles?

Yes, both these products can be applied over tiles.  It is very important that a proper inspection must be carried out to determine the soundness of the tiles.  All the tiles must be solidly embedded and not loose.  To determine whether the tiles are properly embedded, bounce a golf ball on the tiles.  If you detect a hollow sound, this will be an indication that the tiles are loose.  It is not recommended to apply Stucco Italiano Floor Plaster products over cracked tiles.  These Stucco Italiano products need to be applied as per the technical data sheets.

Q:  Can Stucco Italiano AquaGuard Floor Plaster and/or Stucco Italiano Solido Floor Plaster be applied over an under floor heating system?

Yes, but it is highly recommended to liaise with Stucco Italiano’s Technical Representative to clear technical issues before installation.

 

Q:  Are Stucco Italiano Floor and Wall products waterproof?

The products have water repellent qualities, but are not waterproof on their own and need to be sealed according to the requirements of the type of application.  If the product is been used in a wet room, please liaise with Stucco Italiano’s Technical Representative in this regard for advice.

 

Q:  Must a wet room be waterproofed before applying a Stucco Italiano Floor and/or Wall Product?

Yes, this is essential.  Use a cement-based waterproofing product instead of a bitumen product.

 

Q:  How thick are Stucco Italiano’s application layers on floors and walls?

Stucco Italiano AquaGuard Floor Plaster, Stucco Italiano Solido Floor Plaster and Stucco Italiano Wall Plaster are applied with thicknesses varying from 3-4mm, depending on the smoothness of the floor and wall surface.  Stucco Italiano Tadelakt thickness is between 1-5mm.

 

Q:  What should be done if the floor and/or wall surfaces are uneven?

If the floor surface is uneven, we recommend using a Stucco Italiano Floor Repair Kit and/or a Stucco Italiano Floor Fixing Kit prior to the application of the Stucco Italiano Floor Plaster product.  On walls we recommend using a Stucco Italiano Scraper Coat prior to the Stucco Italiano AquaGuard Wall Plaster.

 

Q:  Can I use alternative products available in the market to smooth out walls before applying Stucco Italiano Wall Products?

It is not recommended to use any gypsum-based product at all.  Stucco Italiano products are all polymer based and we therefore recommend using Stucco Italiano products for this specific purpose.

 

Q:  Can Stucco Italiano Wall Plaster products be applied over an unfinished wall surface?

As stated, these product application thicknesses range between 2-4mm and will not be able to hide imperfections.  It is recommended to first plaster all walls before applying any Stucco Italiano Wall products.  If the product is applied directly onto a brick wall, the brick lines and/or unfinished surfaces will show.

 

Q:  Do Stucco Italiano Wall and Floor Products crack?

Stucco Italiano products are some of the most flexible floor and wall products on the market, but it will never withstand cracks caused by structural movement.  What happens underneath the Stucco Italiano product will be reflected on the surface of the product.  It is essential to apply a proper, sound screed and/or wall plaster when it is known that a cementitious overlay is going to be the final finished layer.  If uncertain about the screed and/or plaster mix, do not hesitate to liaise with Stucco Italiano’s Technical Representative.

 

Q:  Are Stucco Italiano Floor Plasters non-slip finishes?

The product by itself without a sealer coat is non-slip.  When applying a polyurethane and/or epoxy sealer coat in a wet area, there is the risk of slip.  In this scenario we recommend using a non-slip sealer.

 

Q:  Is it true that an epoxy coating will turn yellow in direct sun?

Yes, the UV in South Africa is too high and there is no epoxy in South Africa that will produce a non-yellowing effect in direct sunlight.

 

Q:  Can I apply Stucco Italiano products myself?

There is a high skill level required to successfully apply Stucco Italiano products, and not anyone can master the technique that easy.  Not even a qualified plasterer and/or skimmer may be able to apply Stucco Italiano products correctly the first time.

 

Q:  Can Stucco Italiano Wall Plasters be applied over a painted surface?

Yes, but the painted surface must be sound and solid and the paint must not be peeling.

 

Q:  Can Stucco Italiano products be applied outside and around a pool area?

Yes, Stucco Italiano products can be used as interior and exterior products.  Please consult the technical data sheets if you want to read more about the products.

 

Q:  Do Stucco Italiano Floor Plasters need to be sealed often?

It all refers back to the exposure of the surface to traffic.  95% of the floors we have installed since 2001 have only been sealed once.

 

Q:  What cleaning procedures need to be followed to clean a Stucco Italiano floor?

It all depends on the traffic and exposure of the floor to dirt.  Use ordinary cleaning soap such as Sunlight liquid and/or Clean Green, diluted in water.  Do not use any ammoniac and/or acid to clean the floors.

 

Q:  How long does the Stucco Italiano Wall or Floor installation process take?

The installation normally takes up to 5 days from start to finish, but it also depends on the weather, surface preparation and size of application.

 

Q:  Can customised Stucco Italiano colours be manufactured?

Yes and no. It is difficult to mix and match a specific customized colour.  If a required colour is not part of our standard range and it is for a special big order and/or for a special project, Stucco Italiano will consider the request on merit.

 

Q:  Are Stucco Italiano products available in hardware stores?

No. Due to the skills level that an applicator needs to master our products, Stucco Italiano has decided, for the present, not to distribute our products via hardware stores.

 

Q:  Can Stucco Italiano Wall and/or Floor Plasters be applied to kitchen countertops?

Bear in mind that countertops take a lot of hard wear and tear.  This means that the sealer will be the contact surface taking the brunt of use and therefore will need to be sealed more often.

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