Does applying Stucco require a permit?


Well-known member
Oct 30, 2023
I found another interesting Reddit discussion I think you all would find helpful. Figured it would be worth a share. Anyway, the post on Reddit is about a homeowner living in Tustin California. The homeowner wants to replace the wood planks on the front of their house with stucco instead of wood, but intends to make it match. Would this work still require them to file a permit?

The post states that they looked over city guidelines, but want to make sure if the work they want to do is considered "finish work," which usually does not require a permit. What do you guys think? Would a permit be required for this?

You can also find the Reddit post here: Reddit Post
Tustin, California, United States
Oh this is more than "finish work", as you'll still be making a lot of changes to the property, so you'd still want to obtain a permit for the work. The Redditor may also require an update to the waterproofing after said change, especially if it's around any windows or doors.

And keep in mind, there will be inspection, sometimes multiple. They are intended to cover the waterproofing, the installation of wire mesh, or the lath, and of course the first coat of stucco. There will also be one final inspection to ensure all work complies with the local building codes in the area.

The best course of action is to always reach out to your local building department to make sure you're following the requirements in your area. They can walk you through everything and provide details on the permitting process. This way you are making sure you comply with all local regulations.
Even though it might seem like a simple project, replacing wood planks with stucco does generally require a permit in Tustin, California. The general rule is that any significant modification to a building's exterior or structure, including changes to materials, usually require a permit to ensure compliance with local building codes and regulations.
It sounds like the main reason the OP wanted to remove the wood planks was because the wood is so old (house built in the 60s) that they feared there could be termite issues. I noticed someone else from Tustin chimed in and asked: "By chance is the front of the house 12” vertical boards? There are a few tracts in Tustin that were built like that and they used redwood, a type of wood that is typically termite resistant." The OP's concern about the wood seems reasonable on the surface of things, especially since that type of wood panel exterior isn't common anymore (though I think that's more due to shifting styles than any termite-related reason).

As a SoCal homeowner myself, I've never heard anyone recommend removing/upgrading wood materials on existing construction as a way of avoiding termites. Especially if you can verify that the wood your house was built with is termite-resistant (e.g., redwood or treated wood), it seems like there shouldn't be any need to disturb it.