Before and After Photos
(After viewing this page of photos, I would welcome your opinion. If you wish to contact me, call me at (520) 331-4004.
These six photos (three above and three below) are of an old, damaged mud adobe with a plaster/cement covering the adobe in the interior of one of the rooms in an apartment in downtown Tucson, AZ. The top right photo shows several steps in the long process of restoring these walls. By clicking on this photo, one can see the hex netting I attached to the adobe with four inch galvanized nails, driven in with a slide hammer. Then, I covered this hex netting with multiple coats of stucco to bring the wall up to the thickness of the original. The original plaster/cement coating protecting the adobe was over one inch thick in places. Notice the right hand corner and its advanced state of deterioration. Much of this corner had to be painstakingly rebuilt, but the end result came out quite nice.
The above left photo shows the nice straight cut line I made into the original cement/plaster coating approx. 28″ inches above the floor level. I went 28″ inches up because this was how much of that original cement/plaster coating was “bulging out” due to the water deterioration of the original adobes.
In the above first two photos, notice the electrical box. This was almost completely rusted out and had to be gently ripped out. Virtually all of the metal conduit which was used to house the electrical wiring in these old walls that I repaired had to be torn out because they were so severely damaged by rust…a very dangerous situation.
The above three photos continues the progression of the repairs on this wall. The above left photo shows the corner which has been rebuilt with a concrete mixture, utilizing a forming system to shape the corner. The above middle photo shows the final stucco coat over the entire section of the wall. The above right photo shows the wall after I troweled and sanded smooth the final coat of drywall mud over the entire repaired area. Again, the end result came out quite nice, but required an incredible amount of labor.
These photos are showing how we repaired an area at the corner of a window. Someone had tried to repair parts of this area before, as you can see in the “before” photo.
Sometimes a wall is so deteriorated, as the photo to the left shows, that it makes more sense to repair it and then stucco over the area. This is also less expensive than to go in and artistically and individually repair each and every adobe.
The above “before” and “after” photos are from a very interesting and unique project, one you don’t see too much. (Please note: a glitch occurred in this section and, unfortunately, the pictures from this particular project failed to appear. My apologies.) This is an old adobe home, made from the old, mud and straw adobe. The adobe has been covered by a lime or cement base stucco that was then, years later, was “Tuff-Texed” by a company that at one time did a big business in Tucson. The photo on the upper left shows where we scraped away the loose Tuff-Tex from off the wall, exposing the original stucco coat. The window is covered with plastic. Unfortunately, I am much better at adobe restoration than photography, so these photos don’t show the detail of the Tuff-Tex like I would have liked to.
The upper right photo is a shot of the exact same wall after we finished. Again, that photo simply does not do the job the justice it deserves, for it came out beautiful.“Tuff-Tex” was a brand name for a process that supposedly was going to revolutionize the painting and coating industry in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s. This company claimed that this “Tuff-Tex” was “Ten times thicker than paint!” and once applied, the homeowner would never have to paint their house again. “Tuff-Tex” is a thick, textured coating that resembles the old popcorn ceilings (some know them as “acoustic ceilings”) that many people still have in their homes: it has small to medium sized “bumps” in it. Many people, tired of the hassle of repainting their homes, jumped on this advertising claim with a vengeance and this company coated hundreds of homes in the Tucson area.
Of course, their claims were bogus, and they soon went bankrupt because of the false claims. Once the problems, callbacks and warranty claims started pouring in, they folded up and went on their merry way. I found out about “Tuff-Tex” because my mom had it done on her house and it became a nightmare for her.
What happened to the Tuff-Tex coating was that the company applied it over everything: wood, metal and brick. If they would have limited their application to fired brick, they probably would have been okay, for it works quite well in that application. But over wood and metal (metal drainpipes, metal fascia, etc.) is where they had their problems. Wood expands and contracts, and when the Tuff-Tex was applied over wood, the coating would crack. Moisture would then get behind it and it would start to peel and/or blister. At my mom’s house, whole sections of this “lifetime” coating started to peel away from the ceilings of her carport…a disaster. I saw similar problems at other houses, and this house with the above photos was no exception. Metal drainpipes experienced similar problems because metal is smooth and shiny and you need a special paint and prep work for anything to stick. The Tuff-Tex worked at first, but inevitably failed as time passed.
These houses are a challenge and the problems are several fold. First, the equipment: Tuff-Tex was applied with special, expensive equipment, not unlike what stucco contractors use when they take their large stucco rigs and shoot stucco onto homes. Most people don’t know this, and when they try to repair a previously Tuff-Texed house without realizing that it took special equipment to put it on in the first place, their amateur attempts end up being worse than if they had done nothing.
Another problem is finding who sells Tuff-Tex: you just can’t go down to Home Depot, Lowes, or your neighborhood paint store and pick up a couple of gallons of it and “do it yourself.” Again, it is a specialty material. Even if you had a gallon of the exact material that was shot out of the equipment, how would you put it on the walls? Dab it on with a brush? (I’ve tried that…it looks horrible.) Sponge it one? (I tried that also…looks bad.)
In my over three decades as a contractor, I turned away a fair amount of these houses. I tried to fix some of them, with a certain success, but far from perfect. Then, I thought of a way that I thought would work. In short, I utilized basic equipment and created a formula for the material that I experimented with over the years that matches the existing coating.
This above shot shows the back porch while we were prepping it. We had to remove all the failing Tuff-Tex that was simply peeling away from the walls. Notice the thick pieces laying at the base of the wall. We then repaired those areas that were deep, and the photo below shows the final result. I’m not sure if the photo below shows the textured coating, but I matched it almost perfectly to the original.
The “before photo” below is the other side of this same porch. Notice how thick the textured coating is that we pulled off (you can see it in big pieces on the ground.)
The “after” photo shows the end result. Again, this is the thick, textured coating that we reapplied, like the original. It is not just painted. The homeowners were thrilled at how well it came out, and quite frankly, so was I.