Welcome to the World of Sidings – What is Stucco?

Within the world of siding, stucco is considered as one of the most elegant, stylish materials available on the market. Traditional stucco siding is made by combining Portland cement, sand, lime, and water. This mixture is then applied, sometimes in multiple coats, for a household exterior that is both durable and eye-catching.

Many consumers do not realize that there are actually two types of stucco currently in use. The first is what people might refer to as the "real" stucco, since it's the same type that's been around for years. "Real" stucco, also known as cement stucco, is a solid material that gets directly applied to the surface of a home for an almost rock-like covering. By contrast, the new, synthetic form of stucco is much more hollow than its cement counterpart. Synthetic stucco consists of foam board materials that are applied to the surface of the home and then given a classic stucco finish. While the two types of stucco are quite similar in appearance, synthetic stucco offers the added benefit of superb insulation.

Of course, as is the case with all siding materials, stucco comes with its own specific set of pros and cons.

First, the advantages:

Stucco is resilient and long-lasting

When it comes to siding materials, stucco is certainly one of the most durable. Stucco is heat and fire resistant, which makes it not only strong, but safe. Additionally, stucco usually comes with a weather-resistant finish that minimizes cracks and helps it withstand the test of time.

Stucco means easy maintenance

Unlike other siding materials such as wood, stucco is reliably easy to maintain. When it comes to classic stucco, the occasional power wash is usually enough to do the trick.

Stucco paints an elegant picture

There's just something about the look of stucco that people really seem to like. Of the various siding materials available, stucco is the one surface that can truly play a role in a home's distinctiveness. For starters, stucco comes in an array of colors. Even better, stucco can be customized with original etchings and designs for a look that is unquestionably unique to a particular home. In fact, when it comes to extreme originality, stucco is one of the most cost effective ways of adding custom trim and design to the exterior of one's home.

Hooray for insulation

Synthetic stucco provides an added element of insulation to the home that can save the average homeowner a fair amount of money on heating and cooling costs in the long run. In fact, stucco provides even better insulation than foam-backed vinyl insulation, making it the number one choice for energy efficiency.

Of course, stucco does come with a few disadvantages.

Stucco is expensive

In the grand scheme of siding materials, siding can certainly cost a pretty penny. Those with limited home improvement budgets might find that stucco is, unfortunately, out of reach.

A longer installation process

Stucco is one of the more difficult materials to install, and as a result, stucco installation tend to take longer than the average vinyl or wood siding installation. Homeowners who wish to have stucco siding installed should prepare themselves for a few extra days of construction.

And a few quick specifics

Cement stucco is extremely rigid. So if the foundation of the home on which it is installed begins to shift, then the stucco is likely to crack. Synthetic stucco is less rigid but has been known to trap moisture, causing walls to become rotted and degraded. In addition, synthetic stucco has been blamed for mold problems occurring in homes with moisture damage. The good news is that installation techniques have improved to reduce the chances of these types of problems. Additionally, modern-day synthetic stucco is now fitted with a grooved foam backing that allows moisture to properly drain out.

The bottom line

Stucco provides the perfect combination of durability and aesthetic appeal. While it does have its
drawbacks, stucco can instantly work to increase the value of one's home. If your budget allows for it, then treat yourself to the timeless elegance and curse that that has become conspicuous with stucco.