QUIKRETE - Part I: Quikrete & Stucco Products

Jared: Today, on the In the House show, Josh and I will be speaking with Jeff Russell, the regional sales manager for QUIKRETE. Now, for our listeners who are unfamiliar with QUIKRETE I’ll ask Jeff to give us some history about the company and what products you offer.

Jeff: We are a manufacturer of blended cement products. We do everything from concrete mix to concrete restoration, mortars, sealers, stains – anything in the concrete or cementitious world, we are probably involved with. We've got over a hundred manufacturing facilities across the country and several right here in the state of Florida.

Jared: As a contractor, I know about your company and have seen your products for years, but you have a whole line of do-it-yourself and homeowner-related products too.

Jeff: Oh, absolutely. That's where we got our start ― manufacturing pre-blended materials that you don't have to mix in the field like a contractor would and that are easy to use and homeowner-oriented. Nowadays, we're as much as involved with the contractor side of the business as we are with homeowners’ DIY projects. QUIKRETE is very multifaceted in the market. We make products and offer solutions that are easy for the homeowner as well as products for the contractor in the field doing everything from high rises to Department of Transportation work, et cetera.

Jared: We have a project house going on right now. Josh, our producer, is deeply involved with that. What are some of the products that we will be focusing on this year for that Josh?

Josh: When I got in touch with QUIKRETE it was at the builder's show last year. I was talking to them and they said, "We've got some great mortar products." As I talked to Chad, who's the media contact, I told him everything that we were doing on the project house, and everything I mentioned we were doing, he said QUIKRETE had a product for. They also own a company called “Veneer Stone” where they make the stone façades that go on the front of the house and another called “Custom Building Products” where they make a product named WonderBoard that goes in your bathroom to do tile and similar work. Really, QUIKRETE and its subsidiaries provide an unbelievable line of products. Today, I think we really wanted to discuss the stucco because the house was built in the '90s and many of the calls In The House takes are from listeners who call in with stucco-related questions. Either they've got leaks or cracks in their stucco because it was improperly done. However, on our project house, the stucco was actually done so well that to remove it and change to a different siding material would have been impractical ― the labor alone would have been in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Luckily for us, when I spoke with Jeff he said, "We have this great product that you could actually use to re-skim the stucco and change the surface.” Currently the house has a knock-down texture. It's not defective at all but it just isn’t the look that we want to go with. We have decided to re-skim it and do a smooth sandy finish instead.

Jeff: To accomplish that we're going to use a QUIKRETE product called Finished Coat Stucco. It's a highly-graded, fine-sanded stucco that you apply at about 1/4" thickness and we're going to add some fortifying product that will help it adhere to the old plaster, or old stucco in this case, that is currently on the house. This fortifying product will also help give it some waterproofing as well as eliminate the need to moist cure the stucco.

You will be able to skim coat this on, cover the finish that you don’t like and have that new fine, smooth finish that you’re looking for with the necessary adhesion from the use of an acrylic fortifier with the finished coat stucco.

Jared: Can this product can go over the top of the old stucco even with the previously applied sealer or paint still on it? Or will that need to be removed first?

Jeff: You will need to remove that paint because paint is a bond breaker. You need to have that raw stucco surface with no sealer or paint on it before you can apply the finish coat stucco over it. From speaking previously with Josh, I gather that is going to be less labor intensive than trying to remove the existing stucco.

Jared: Definitely! And styles obviously change, right? The exterior styles that most homeowners want today compared to, let's say, twenty years ago, change. Back when this house was last refinished, a very heavy kind of knock-down style texture was popular. If we look at stucco finishes today, a lot of the styles are smooth―what we call a sand style of finish. Previously, there just weren’t many options to achieve a smooth exterior finish because you needed a thicker, courser material to hold the stucco together. But QUIKRETE has found a lot of additives and bonding agents that can be added to stucco to achieve a skim style finish without having cracking issues, am I right?

Jeff: Right, because―on the finish coat in particular―the gradation of the sand, which is a key factor in stuccos, is a much finer type sand. Yet you also need to add something to that to reduce cracking because finer sands may crack easily. The additives that QUIKRETE use helps to eliminate those issues.

Jared: Very good. Now, we're contractors, and that means we have a fairly technical understanding of different types of products and installation methods, but not everyone has access to that knowledge. Fortunately for home improvement DIY enthusiasts, QUIKRETE has taken contractor-style installation methods and contractor-grade products and made them available for homeowners, but you didn't stop there. You actually have a whole series of how-to videos and installation manuals and guidelines that you've made available for the public.

Jeff: Absolutely. On QUIKRETE’s website we have a series of videos on how to apply stucco. Stucco is an entire separate division that QUIKRETE has taken on. We have people in the stucco division that are totally dedicated solely to stucco products ― that's how deeply involved we are with the types of products that we manufacture. We have stuccoes with fiber, course sands, fine sands, and additives that make them able to be pumped through hoses, one coat stuccos, finish coat stuccos and more. Any type of stucco that you can think of, we're probably going to manufacture or have a product to restore it if it's having issues such as cracking. To go along with that, we have all the information and videos on our website for applying our stucco type products and the materials you need. There’s many types of stucco―two coat systems, three coat systems―and it can be an arduous process for anyone to do, so we're trying to help educate that homeowner for when he goes to do this project at home.

Jared: I've been doing the In the House show now for 18 or 19 years and I love the fact that some homeowners will take on those projects themselves, but I also want to make sure that we warn our listeners about what they might be getting into in advance. You always want to do some research on the product you’ll be using, the preparation and installation processes, and then decide whether this is something that you want to do yourself or if you want to hire a professional. I've actually seen instances where someone who didn't think that they were going to do a project themselves watch the video for one of QUIKRETE’s products and say, "That's it? Well, I can do that."

And on the other hand, I've seen homeowners watch the video and be like, "Oh, wow. That's way more steps than what I thought this was going to take. There's no way I'm going to be able to handle it all myself." If they've never done a project like this they wouldn't necessarily know until they see the how-to videos whether or not they want to do it themselves.

Jeff: Exactly. I had the same situation when my washer broke. I looked at a video online that said I could fix it myself and it showed a process I felt comfortable doing. Then my refrigerator broke and I looked up videos again, but I was like, "No way, I'm not going to get involved with that.”

Up Next, QUIKRETE – Part II: Pre-Blended Products

Listen Saturday mornings to "In the House with Ken & Jared". Get more Home Tips and show info at the In the House website. For a free estimate on your next Home Improvement Project, visit Universal Roof & Contracting or call now. Orlando: 407-295-7403 Jacksonville: 904-647-3907

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