Rigid materials are used behind the stucco, and are directly attached to the support studs in your wall on top of a weather-resistant barrier, so the sheathing is protected from moisture.  That means that many materials are suitable for this application, but the common ones remain plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), cement board, and exterior grade gypsum sheathing. 

In the early 1910s, wooden lath, small, narrow boards (1/4-by-1 ½ inches), were also common at that time. Although it’s not exactly clear when metal lath was first used in plaster applications, it appears that both metal and wood lath were available at least as early as 1910.

Common sheathing materials today come in 4-by-8-foot boards. These are readily available building materials of consistent quality and are easy to install over wood or steel frames. The boards assure a more uniform thickness of the plaster layer and add structural rigidity to the building frame. The currently preferred practice in many regions is to use sheathing boards for frame construction with metal lath to provide the attachment support structure for your stucco.

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