Creating Spanish Style Homes®

Spanish Clay Vent Installation Photos and How-To Information

See a terracotta clay vent installation on the exterior plaster wall of a Spanish-style home in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA! Pictures are worth a thousand words. This gallery of photos make it a fun and easy way to quickly learn the basics of how things are done.

a Young Plasterer Uses a Steel Trowel to Smooth out Fresh Stucco He Has Applied Around 3 Terracotta Clay Vents Installed in the Gabled End of a Spanish-style Home in Santa Barbara, Ca.
A photo of a gable end of a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, California that includes decorative and functional terracotta clay vents embedded in the stucco.

Clay vents are an aesthetic and functional detail found in a wide range of classic Spanish-style architecture. You can add these iconic design elements to your own project at any time. Whether you are remodeling, or building new.

A close up photo of 3 terracotta clay pipe vents recently installed in new stucco of a Spanish home in Santa Barbara, CA.
A photo of terracotta clay drain pipes in hexagon shape and round shape, with a terracotta clay chimney pot in the background. Photo taken at Santa Barbara Stone in Santa Barbara, CA.

Spanish-style products on Amazon, and my project overviews where they were installed.

A Santa Barbara carpenter framing the openings for clay vents in a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.

Above: An informally marked up photo and easy to understand infographic. The Artisan carpenter is in the process installing supportive framing for the clay pipe vents. The blue lines indicate existing framing (as well as where other wood support will be installed).

Clay vent installation process.  A young carpenter uses a special tool to figure out the consistent angle he will use to install clay vents in a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.
A Santa Barbara carpenter works on the first steps of installing clay vents to ventilate a small attic space of a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.
A young carpenter gives a thumbs up while installing Spanish clay vent pipes in the eave of a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.

There are multiple steps in weatherproofing your clay vents. The first one is shown in the photo below. Caulking around the clay pipe seals the subtle gaps between the vents and the plywood supporting them.

Close up image of terracotta clay pipe vents being weatherproofed on the wall of a Spanish-style home under construction in Santa Barbara, CA.

The next step will be breaking out more of the surrounding plaster, as mentioned earlier. Then, 60 min. asphalt-saturated paper. Once that is in place, the 20 gauge plain stucco mesh will be installed. This is the familiar “chicken wire” that supports the first coat of plaster.

A professional plasterer applies a Santa Barbara mission finish to the exterior plaster, working around 3 clay vent pipes wrapped in plastic for protection. The home is a Spanish-style house in Santa Barbara, CA.

The photos above and below show a first “Scratch Coat” (to the right of the buckets). See how it is interlocking with the jigsaw shape of the original plaster? That’s what you want. In these pix, the stucco crew starts the brown coat process on top of the first scratch coat.

A plasterer in Santa Barbara works on patching stucco around a Spanish window and clay vent pipes recently installed in the gable end of a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.
A professional plasterer in Santa Barbara applies a Santa Barbara mission finish to the exterior plaster, working around 3 clay vent pipes wrapped in plastic for protection.
A pro plasterer focuses on unwrapping plastic from a terracotta clay vent pipe that protected it from stucco splatter. Project is at a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, California.

Once the second coat of plaster is mostly worked out (and still wet), the plastic and tape is removed from the terracotta clay vents.

A professional plasterer working a trowel on the stucco surrounding terracotta clay vents on the eave of a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.

This enables the plasterer a chance to clean up the new stucco around the clay pipes as he continues creating the Santa Barbara mission finish.

A stucco worker works at applying exterior plaster around three clay vents recently installed in the gable eave of a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.

Here you can see the team of three working their magic. The Artisan on the right is applying a heavy second coat of plaster over the first (scratch) coat. On custom jobs such as this, there is always support on the ground, mixing the next round of wet plaster.

A professional plasterer applying stucco around clay vent pipes that are ventilating an attic space of a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.

As you can see in this series of photos- clay vent installation is an artistic process. To achieve the finest of details, the pros go back and forth between a multitude of tools. Foam floats, steel trowels and straight edges, etc.

A professional plasterer works on adding a layer of stucco around a Spanish window in a Spanish-style home being remodeled in Santa Barbara, CA.
An expert plasterer works intently on applying a Santa Barbara mission finish to the stucco surrounding terracotta clay vents in a Spanish-style home being remodeled in Santa Barbara, CA.

More detailing around the clay vents is achieved with the sharp edge of the steel trowel.

A roofer installs authentic two piece mission roof tiles on a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.

I wandered around to other jobsite projects in between photographing the various steps in clay vent installation. Above: a hardworking roofer does repair work on a section of the roof nearby.

A stucco worker in Santa Barbara works on detailing the fresh plaster surrounding terracotta clay vents recently installed on a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.
A close up of 3 terracotta clay vents recently installed in the exterior eave of a Spanish-style home in Santa Barbara, CA.

Well friend, this wraps another site visit episode in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA. I hope you enjoyed learning how to infuse more Santa Barbara Style into your own Spanish home design project. Scroll to explore more helpful links and resources for designing and building your own Spanish-style home and landscape.

Jeff Doubét Book on Amazon
Creating Spanish Style Homes®