Everything You Need to Know About Stucco Siding

Friday, February 21st, 2020 by Elizabeth Mixon

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Considering getting new siding? Among the many siding options out there, stucco is a traditional siding option that’s been used for thousands of years.

Wondering if stucco is the right choice for you? Read on to learn everything you need to know about stucco siding.

What is Stucco?

Stucco is traditionally made of cement, lime, water, and sand. In modern times, stucco now has polymers and other materials mixed in to improve flexibility.

While traditional stucco couldn’t be used outside of Mediterranean climates, modern stucco works well for most climates – lasting upwards of 50 years.

But, if you live in a very wet climate, stucco might not be the best choice. Moisture can get through stucco into the outer layers of your home – causing water damage if you don’t catch it in time.

For most areas, stucco is a durable choice that resists pest – unlike wood siding. Stucco is also exceptionally fire-resistant. So, it’s a good choice if your home is very close to your neighbors (so your home won’t catch on fire if theirs does).

Stucco is a traditional siding material that is generally durable – except in wet climates. So, if you want a traditional look combined with durability, stucco could be a good choice.

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What Does It Look Like?

Stucco is hand applied to the exterior of homes – so every stucco application looks unique.

And, stucco comes in a variety of colors – from bright colors to richer colors. The color is created by adding dye to the stucco mixture, so the color goes all the way through your siding. If a piece chips off, your siding will still be colored in the damaged area.

If you do start disliking the color of your stucco, you can repaint it to be the new color you want. And, stucco tends to fade evenly – so your home will have an even color throughout the years.

Stucco comes in a variety of textures – thanks to its hand application. You can have a smooth texture, swirled look, or even a pebbled appearance. Stucco’s variety of textures allows you to customize your home’s exterior even further.

Due to its origins, stucco does tend to look best with Mediterranean or classic architecture. So, if you have a modern looking home, stucco might not be the best choice.

If you’re looking for a siding material that’s highly customizable in appearance, then stucco could be a good choice.

How Easy Is Installation?

Stucco is one of the hardest siding types to install. The quality of the finished stucco depends largely on having experienced craftsman install it. So, stucco is not a good choice if you’re looking to install your siding yourself.

Usually applied in multiple coats, installing your stucco depends on the exterior frame of your home.

If you have a wood frame home, you’ll need 3 coats of stucco. If you have a concrete/stone frame home, you’ll only need 2 coats. And, there are some new stucco products mixed with fiberglass that only need one coat.

While the installation process does require a lot of manual labor, it can be completed relatively quickly. Some stucco installation can take only a few days to complete. So, if you’re looking for siding that’s quick to put up, stucco can be a good choice.

If you want siding that you can install yourself, stucco isn’t the best option for you. But, if you don’t mind having pros install your siding, stucco could be a great choice.

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Is It Low Maintenance?

Stucco is very low maintenance. You don’t have to do much to keep it in great shape. Yearly, you should hose it down with water to keep it clean. Power washing isn’t recommended because it can damage the stucco.

If your stucco is looking run down, you can also give it a fresh coat of paint to keep it looking its best.

While overall low maintenance, stucco can be prone to cracking – especially if your foundation settles. Stucco isn’t a good choice for areas with a lot of clay in the soil because clay causes your foundation to settle – cracking your stucco.

If you’re looking for a low maintenance siding, stucco is a good choice. You don’t need to do much to it to keep your stucco looking good for 50 or more years. But, if you have foundation settlement problems, you’ll likely want to avoid stucco.

Is It Environmentally Friendly?

Consisting almost entirely of natural materials, stucco is an environmentally friendly siding material.

With stucco, you won’t have to worry about harmful chemicals leaching into the ground and water supply. Stucco doesn’t have many chemicals in it, and stucco is manufactured without many chemicals. So, if you want a chemical-free siding, stucco can be a good choice.

With the right insulation, stucco can also help lower your energy use. When applied over foam insulation, stucco can help lower your utility bills by keeping warm air out in the summer and cold air out in the winter. So, you’ll be using less fossil-fueled energy to climate control your home, making stucco environmentally friendly.

And, stucco lasts for a long time. So, you won’t have to use new resources every few years to re-side your home.

If you’re looking for an environmentally-friendly siding material, stucco could be a good choice with its lack of chemicals, insulating ability, and longevity.

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What Should You Look for When Buying Stucco?

Stucco can be a great siding material – as long as you choose good quality stucco.

Post-WWI, many homes were sided with a faulty spray form stucco – which wasn’t durable and caused moisture problems. So, it’s important that you choose either a traditional stucco or a high-quality synthetic stucco. That way, you’ll get a durable siding material that protects your home – instead of damaging it.

You should also look for good insulation to go under your stucco. By itself, stucco isn’t a great insulator – so you would have to spend more money to heat and cool your home. But, stucco works great over other insulation materials – like foam insulation. Putting insulation under your stucco will help you have stylish and function exterior siding.

Lastly, you should make sure your stucco is applied with thick coats. For the base coat, 3/8” is a good starting point to ensure your stucco has a good foundation. The thicker your stucco is, the more durable it is. So, it’s important to make sure your stucco is applied at the proper thickness.

When choosing stucco as your siding, you need to make sure it’s good quality stucco, has insulation underneath, and is applied in thick layers.

Wrapping It Up

Stucco is a classic siding choice that adds a touch of elegance to your home with its old-world charm. Available in numerous colors and textures, you’re bound to get the look you want. Plus, stucco is low maintenance and environmentally friendly.

But, stucco is hard to install and not well suited to wet or clay soil climates. If you don’t mind hiring a pro to install your siding and don’t live in wet/clay soil climates, stucco can be a great siding option.

Need help with your siding project? Click here to get your free siding estimate today!


About the Author

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Elizabeth Mixon is a freelance writer who helps real estate businesses create unique and engaging content/copy to win over their ideal clients. Combining her passions for real estate and marketing, Elizabeth offers a variety of content marketing and copywriting services – like blog posts, website copy, and social media content. To find out more about how Elizabeth can help you, click here.

A Kansas City native, Elizabeth lives in a suburb of KC with her finance, Greyhound, and Shih Tzu. When she’s not writing, you can find Elizabeth watching HGTV or experimenting with new baking recipes.