Building plans for the home furnishings retailer, Room & Board, called for smooth monolithic walls. In Denver, the architectural team was laying out the design for a flagship store for the company, and wanted an ultra-smooth finish, keeping reveals and breaks to a minimum.

When Marc Fields of Monarch Stucco received the call from Colin Stone, LEED AP and Project Executive of Hyder Construction, with the outline for the project, Marc’s first reaction was to try to talk them out of it. Why? Because an ultra-smooth finish posed a challenge on such large, very flat walls.

The owners, team members from Roth & Sheppard Architects, Hyder Construction, Monarch, and Sto Corp. got together and came up with a plan.  Fields, who has worked with Sto Corp. for 20 years, knew they could achieve the ultra-smooth look they wanted with a StoTherm continuous insulation system and Sto’s specialty finishes. StoTherm CI with Stolit Milano, StoPowerwall Freeform Finish, and StoColor Lotusan were chosen for the project and they got started.

The StoTherm CI system is a high-performance exterior-wall cladding system that integrates a seamless air and moisture barrier called StoGuard, with CI and advanced drainage capabilities. The system provides the thermal protection and durability needed in Denver’s cold, harsh winter climate. Stolit Milano is a versatile ready-mixed, acrylic-based decorative and protective wall finish that can be applied as a light texture, smooth or ultra-smooth finish. In addition, for this project, StoPowerwall Freeform Finish was used to help achieve the ultra-flat wall surface, and according to Fields, this was key.

“I had worked with Stolit Milano a few times in the past with great results,” said Fields.  “With the large, flat walls, we had to work really smart to make it as smooth as possible.  We decided to use StoPowerwall Freeform Finish over the reinforcing mesh and basecoat prior to applying the Stolit Milano.  It worked great and helped get it smoother and it was easier to stone down.  In fact, we only had to use one coat of Milano. From an applicator perspective, Milano is probably the easiest product to repair. We can work it like a drywall material.”

To ensure they could achieve the desired smooth walls, the construction team created a large mock-up and refinished it several times to get the quality and finish the designers and owners were looking for in a finished project. Extra time was spent to QA/QC the substrate to ensure it was very flat in order not to project any bumps, seams, and/or blemishes, according to Stone.

As a final step, StoColor Lotusan was applied over the Milano, which filled in any remaining pores to make it even smoother.  According to Fields, using a smoother paint, the owner can go in and touch up minor scuffs. As an added bonus, StoColor Lotusan incorporates the Lotus-Effect technology, possessing a highly water-repellent, self-cleaning surface similar to that of the lotus leaf. The coating keeps the façade clean and dry and looking brand new.  

The 20,000-square-foot, three-story building not only has excellent protection against moisture intrusions, as well as substantial energy savings, it looks great.  It has received a lot of interest from architects and passersby. The building is in a fast-growing area, with modern high rises going up in the neighborhood.

“The project and this product completed successfully and looks incredible,” remarked Stone. “I have recommended the Sto system on several other projects and will continue to do so. There are many adjacent businesses wanting to incorporate the same finish and look that we achieved.”