What is Stucco? And Should I Have it Installed?

The history of stucco dates back to ancient Greece, where Mediterranean houses used this exterior to protect their homes from the dry conditions. When the Spaniards came to the New World, they also brought this exterior trend with them and introduced stucco to the American southwest and Mexico.

What is Stucco Made Of?

But what is stucco made of, and how does it provide durable protection against the elements? Traditional stucco is made from the 4 following ingredients; however some formulas differ depending on the contractor:

  • Portland cement: created from clay and chalk, Portland cement hardens under water
  • Sand
  • Water
  • Lime: increases permeability

These ingredients then harden into a formidable material that requires little maintenance. Also, depending on the application method, this exterior option can create different finishes and textures, making it a highly customizable option.

In addition, the stucco materials can also be mixed with certain pigments to form a variety of colors.

How is Stucco Applied?

The stucco materials are first mixed, then applied over a wire mesh, known as a lath. This structure allows the stucco to properly and securely adhere to your home’s surface.

Traditionally, stucco is applied in 3 coats. Let’s have a closer look at each step:

  1. A scratch coat is dispersed over the lath
  2. The brown coat is added, providing additional strength and acting as a base for the third coat
  3. The third or ‘finish coat’ goes on last

Different contractors may apply your stucco using alternative methods. Before hiring a company to install stucco on your home, ask for their method of application.

Benefits of Stucco

Stucco has many benefits. Let’s have a look at some of the features this home exterior offers:

  • Fire resistant: Unlike vinyl siding, stucco holds up extremely well under intense heat. With a one-hour firewall rating, it’s a safer choice for condo or apartment buildings that have multi-family residents.
  • Tight Seal: Because stucco is a seamless exterior option, it protects against the weather better than most other choices.
  • Customizable: In addition to the customizable features I included earlier, stucco can also be painted. Rather than install a brand new exterior to achieve a desired colour, you can simply purchase stucco paint from your local hardware store and apply it. Also, you could install stucco coating for additional protection. For more information on the difference between stucco paint and stucco coating, see this previous post.
  • Long-lasting: Depending on the quality and application process, the average life-span of stucco is 50-60 years, which is almost twice as long as vinyl siding. However, with stucco, if it’s maintained properly, it has been known to last much longer. For more information on stucco maintenance, see this previous post.
  • Rot and fungus resistant: Since the materials in stucco are breathable, it does not rot or cultivate fungal growth once exposed to wet conditions.
  • Boosts Curb Appeal and Increases House Value: Undoubtedly, stucco offers an appealing design. It’s seamless finish and texture make it an ideal option to improve the overall design of your home’s exterior. Also, because it lasts longer and contains the above advantages, it’s known to increase a home’s resale value.
  • Energy Efficiency: Compared to other exterior options, such as vinyl siding, stucco is much more energy efficient. Because the materials are generally denser and thicker, the final product offers more protection against energy leaks and will help decrease the numbers on your energy bills.

Disadvantages of Stucco

Stucco doesn’t have many disadvantages. However, a few things to keep in mind before you choose this exterior is:

  • If your residence area is prone to ground shifts, then your stucco exterior could crack. However, modern stucco includes polymers that can increase its flexibility.
  • Stucco can crack over time. Although stucco requires minimal maintenance it can crack due to projectiles or other external elements. The sooner you address these issues, the less damage will ensue later on. Most small cracks can be fixed as a DIY project. But, if you notice any cracks wider than 1/4 inch, then you should consider calling a professional.
  • Due to its labour costs, stucco installation can be expensive.


If you have any questions about stucco installation, head over to the comment section or our contact us page. We’d love to answer any lingering questions.

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