Pros and Cons of Stucco Homes

Whether you're in the market to purchase a home or ready to renovate your existing one, keep in mind that stucco homes have many advantages. Examine the following benefits and drawbacks of stucco siding to see if it is the right exterior for you.

Advantages of Stucco Homes

Stucco consists of cement, lime, and silica applied in several layers over wood or metal lath. Since these layers basically form a concrete shell around a house, a stucco home requires less energy to keep it cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Stucco can also help to reduce sound transmission. This is a great benefit to anyone living in a crowded neighborhood or across from a freeway interchange. It also is fire retardant, and in some situations it has saved homes from being consumed in grass and forest fires. It even resists rot, mildew, and molds.

Despite the large investment it costs to place stucco on the exterior of your home, stucco will pay for itself eventually because of its easy maintenance plan and longevity. Stucco can last over 50 years, depending on your local climate and how well you maintain it.

Stucco installation is quick, works on many different kinds of homes, and gives you greater power over the exterior decor of your house. Even though stucco is applied in several coats, it may take as little as a day or two to install. It is versatile because it can be applied to both concrete masonry and wood frame buildings. You have a great deal of control over the color of the finished product as well. While other types of siding are only available in the manufacturers’ predetermined color palettes, stucco can be mixed to give you the exact color you need. There are options for changing the color of your exterior, too, if you decide you’re no longer satisfied with the look later. It even creates a suitable base for exterior artistic projects, like wall murals. Excellent for modern and southwestern styles of homes, its seamless appearance draws more attention to the home's other details, such as window trim, railings, wooden beams, roofing, etc. It is one exterior finish option that just never seems to go out of style.

Disadvantages of Stucco Homes

One of the major drawbacks of a stucco exterior is its high price tag in comparison to other types of siding, such as cement fiber or vinyl siding. A large portion of your expense will be spent on labor, since stucco requires several layers of installation.

Stucco can tolerate moisture and expansion only up to a certain point. It is not as good as brick veneer or vinyl siding for keeping water out of the exterior walls of your house during periods of heavy rain. It will repel water well in average climates, but it may not be recommended in extremely rainy areas. Overall, it seems to work out better in dry, sunny climates. If the foundation of your house is prone to shifting and settling (especially from a constantly wet ground) or if your area suffers from earthquakes, the new stucco layer might crack sooner than expected. Stucco is somewhat brittle and does not flex with your house quite as well as vinyl siding does.

Lastly, stucco requires you to plan your colors ahead of time. Even though you can choose practically any color you want, be sure that you choose the right color the first time. It is possible to paint over stucco, but when you have to refinish it eventually, the paint will have to be sandblasted off to allow the new stucco to bond to the old.