Finish Options for Exterior Stucco

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Exterior stucco is one of the most elegant finishes you can choose for the outside of your home. Just as there are many options to choose from if you decide to use vinyl siding or clapboard, there are also numerous finish options to choose from for stucco suited for the outdoors. You can have just about any color your heart desires and choose from different textures. Exterior stucco is also easy to restore or renovate when you decide it is time for a change.

1. Hard Coat Stucco

Hard coat stucco is the type most used for the exterior of homes. It is cheaper than the type known as EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System), yet it is just as durable. There are two kinds of hard coat stucco to choose from: one coat stucco and three coat stucco. For the one coat type, you apply one coat of the base cement and the finish coat, whereas with three coat stucco, you apply two coats of base cement and a finish coat. The work is the same for both types, but the one coat is the one most homeowners prefer because it is cheaper and involves less work. The three coat system will withstand harsher elements of the weather.

2. Colored Finish

Colored stucco is a very popular choice in exterior finish options because homeowners can choose between many different colors. It is easy to apply, but it also cracks very easily, and when it does, it is hard to repair. It also stains very easily, and water can seep through it. You need to apply this stucco finish by hand, and in so doing, you can make your own pattern or texture.

3. Painted Finish

Painted stucco is essentially the same as colored stucco, minus the color. You apply it in the same way. The only difference is that there is an extra step involved in this process: painting the stucco in the color of your choice. The most commonly used finish with this type of stucco is the synthetic finish because the painted coating is more vibrant. It is also easier to repair if something should happen. However, you do have to repaint the stucco every few years, just as you would if you had clapboard on the exterior.

4. Acrylic Finish

You can have the acrylic exterior stucco finish in the same colors as painted stucco. The consistency is much thicker, but it is the same price. However, there are more advantages to using the acrylic stucco. It will bridge most hairline cracks and does not allow any water to penetrate. The water can be a huge problem in colder climates where it will freeze and thaw, causing cracks to develop in the stucco. This option in exterior stucco finish requires very little maintenance.


This is the most expensive option in the line of finishes you can choose for exterior stucco. First, you need to install a layer of fiberglass netting to provide insulation on the substrate. Then, you apply the cement base and the finish coats. Although it is very durable, there are disadvantages in that if you do not apply the insulation correctly, you may have problems with water seeping through and not being able to escape.