Customer Spotlight: Pro Stucco LLC
William Suggs brings more than 25 years of stucco experience to his Myrtle Beach company, Pro Stucco LLC, as well as a proven track record for doing every stucco job the “right” way. Suggs and his crew take professional pride in performing every step with precision, never cutting corners, ensuring the complete satisfaction of the customer before moving on to the next house, and standing confidently behind their work for the long term.
As much as he loves stucco, Suggs notes that in the 1990s and early 2000s he found himself doing as much stucco removal and remediation as stucco installation. Suggs was frequently hired to fix the water damage that resulted from jobs that had subpar installation, often just a few years before, with the original stucco contractor long gone and nowhere to be found.
“With all the water ingress, cracking and damage that could plague stucco houses, it was getting to a point where nobody wanted anything to do with it anymore,” he recalls. “It was like ‘stucco’ was becoming a curse word. And that’s a shame—the one-of-a-kind, hand-created looks of stucco can’t really be found in any other wall finish.”
Fortunately, he notes, that trend has started to turn around rather dramatically, especially among the high-end homes he often works on in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina such as Grande Dunes on the beautiful Intracoastal Waterway. In fact, in order to maintain consistently high aesthetics throughout the community, stucco is one of only two wall finish styles allowed in these gated developments.
Of course, these homeowners would not tolerate having to redo their facades every few years, and they do not have to—in fact they are seeing their stucco work last for years and years. This evolution is thanks to a newer type of stucco system that replaces the initial hard coat steps—where problems often begin—with nearly foolproof factory-quality cement boards. It’s a fully integrated wall system that Pro Stucco LLC gets from Senergy by Master Builders Solutions, called the Cement Board Stucco (CBS) 1000 Wall System.
Simplifying stucco base coat installation—from days to hours
According to Suggs, the difference between the traditional method and the Cement Board Stucco 1000 Wall System is night and day, and the benefits are extraordinary for the stucco contactor and the homeowner.
Right up front, Suggs noted, is the significant time savings for the stucco contractor. “In the traditional method, you create the stucco base onsite—there’s a lot of prep, you have to install the wire, and most of all, you have to mix up literally hundreds of bags of cement. It’s all by hand—hawk and trowel, hawk and trowel, build up the layers and then you have to slick it and scrape it down evenly by hand before you can put your finish coat on.”
Contrast that with the Cement Board Stucco (CBS) 1000 Wall System, Suggs continues, “you take a sheet off the pallet, put it on the wall, screw it in every 16 inches on the stud, and move on to the next sheet,” he said. “It’s as fast and easy as hanging plywood.”
Further, he adds, with the traditional hard coat system, the entire process is at the mercy of the weather. Cold temperatures or a driving rain or snow will ruin the wet cement and force stucco contractors to the side lines, expensively twiddling their thumbs waiting for the weather to pass. Not so with the Cement Board Stucco 1000 System—there’s nothing to set, so weather is irrelevant.
“It keeps us on the job, and on schedule,” he said. And, usually within a few quick hours, it’s ready for the finish coat, with the desired color and stucco texture artistically hand applied as before.
Keeping the water out for long term
A traditional stucco wall finish—with upwards of thousands of pounds of hand applied cement—was often prone to cracking over time, especially if not installed by a master stucco contractor.
As Suggs explains, once cracks start, water can work its way in, get trapped behind the walls and cause more cracking, as well as start to rust out the wire lath supporting the stucco and cause a vicious cycle that can only end in “chunks falling off” and a costly need to remove and replace the walls.
Senergy’s CBS 1000 cement board core systems are extremely resistant to cracking, and, with their own drainage system built in behind the panels, the wall system eliminates the threat of water ingress and related devastating damage almost entirely.
A perfectionist, Suggs and his team wanted to see for themselves, and did some impromptu testing on some of their early jobs.
“We went up to the roof and poured bottles of water down into the façade and by the time we climbed down it was all coming out of the seep holes along the bottom,” he recalls. “The water has a way out and doesn’t get trapped in the walls doing damage—it’s really smart engineering.”
Beautiful results that can last for decades
Having expertly installed the system in hundreds of houses over nearly ten years, Suggs has seen beautiful results—and seen this beauty maintained year after year, without cracking or other issues. In fact, many people find the aesthetics even better than that of traditional stucco.
“The wall is flat and straight without wavy fluctuations because it’s not hand troweled. It looks even and consistent as you look down the side, no matter how many different people are doing it and their relative level of experience,” he said.
In addition, the CBS 1000 system provides another aesthetic benefit that traditional stucco can’t match: with the boards lined up and no concern about the weight of the cement sections or expansion, the installers can create long, smooth, joint-free walls that can go on for dozens of feet.
“You can get very long continuous walls without joints breaking up the symmetry,” said Suggs. “It’s a very desirable look and many people are really excited about achieving it with stucco. We hear it all the time from the builders—‘our homeowners don’t like to see all of those lines in the house.’ With hard coat you were just stuck with those joint lines. But, now with the Senergy System, they can be a thing of the past.”
Senergy Cement Board Stucco (CBS) 1000—the superior option for Pro Stucco LLC
Overall, notes Suggs, the Cement Board Stucco 1000 Wall System is his go-to way to produce the highest quality stucco look without stucco challenges.
Suggs notes that there are a few other attempts at the cement board concept on the market, but the CBS 1000 system is his team’s clear choice.
“Why? It’s way more flexible—other manufacturers’ boards are more brittle and can even crack while you’re toting them,” he said. “Senergy’s CBS 1000 can be cut cleaner and they have more reinforcement embedded in the cement—they’re just a stronger, better system.”
Suggs says that as much of a win as the Senergy CBS 1000 System is for stucco contractors like himself, he likes to think the real winners are the homeowners, who get to enjoy the beauty of the material every day, for years or decades without problems.
“People have always wanted the beauty of stucco on their homes but some avoided it because the traditional methods could bring them problems,” he said. “Now, thanks to Senergy by Master Builders Solutions, stucco is back—and it’s better than ever."