Stucco, a beautiful cladding for your home

Stucco home

Stucco is an excellent exterior finish for a new house or addition. If your buying a home with stucco or looking to repair or update existing stucco, make sure you read this article. What we commonly call stucco in North America appears to the untrained eye to be all the same however there have been many different types of applications and products.

For stucco to be a long lasting, high performing, cladding product it has to be installed properly therefore it should always be left to the professionals. A true expert will consider all aspects of the wall assembly, whats behind the surface is often more important than the finish itself. 

Homeowners should know enough to be able to identify a quality expert and ensure the project is done right the first time. Depending on the region stucco can be a product applied directly over brick, block or stone and perform very well in other situations Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) is the only way to go.

3 stucco application styles.

Exterior Insulation and Finish System EIFS
  • Direct applied to a solid mass wall like block, concrete, brick or stone. The direct applied method is more of a historical or regional application method, not commonly accepted today due to light framing and the desire for additional insulation. 
  • EIFS is Exterior Insulation and Finish System and is applied to typically Expanded Polystyrene insulation (EPS) that is mechanically fastened to the wall. The EPS provides excellent insulation to any type of construction.a.
    • EIFS Barrier system- relies on the exterior coatings, flashing and sealant to resist water penetration to the interior side of wall.
    • EIFS Drainage system- relies on a drainage plane between the EPS and the house wall to permit any penetrating moisture to escape before causing damage to structure.
“I am looking at buying a home with stucco exterior, how do I know which application style was used and if it is in good shape?”
Dave, Redding CA. subscriber; Dave, the simple answer is to find a quality Home Inspector to provide you with an evaluation on the stucco condition. You can also find a quality stucco contractor and see if they have inspection services. Repairing poorly installed stucco can be a costly project and always better to know what you are getting into before making the purchase. 

The big 4 myths about stucco

Stucco is a versatile cladding option that has a long history across North America. The broad category to many application methods has provided an undeserved questionable reputation. Take time to learn the truths about this high performing cladding option. 

1. Mold and Water damage- Stucco traditionally was common in dry regions where the adobe style over block wall was popular. As popularity grew the exterior cladding was used on light frame construction in damp regions with little alteration in installation methods. Today stucco applications take into consideration the entire wall assembly and regional climate conditions to provide an excellent high performing exterior cladding option.

Watch as Kody Horvey from "Up To Kode" explains what he and his crew did to modify this stucco project.  

2. Cracks- Typical to applications on block, stone, brick or solid wood walls where settling occurs or during the curing process. Cracks are not as typical on EIFS systems where expansion joints are often built in. Cracks under 1/16" are not typically a concern. 

EIFS layers for stucco finishes

3. Impact damage- Typical in areas around garage doors, high traffic corners or on the lower portion of the wall, there are a variety of products to improve the impact resistance of stucco, make sure your contractor discusses these options.

paint being applied to stucco

4. Color changes- painting of stucco is typically easier than other cladding options however you must know what type of stucco was applied and consult a paint or stucco expert before starting. 

3 reasons to choose Stucco

1. Performance- Modern stucco application methods and products have made this a superior product in moisture control and energy efficiency when installed correctly. start your stucco project today on

2. Aesthetics- The flexibility in design using accents, trims, texture and color are endless.

3. Distinguishing- Stucco applied in an accent area or the entire home sets your home apart from all the others.

Take a look at other cladding options!



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