If you’ve ever seen a house that looked like it was coated in clay or cement, it was probably covered in stucco siding. It’s an age-old building material that was used heavily by the Greeks more than 1,000 years ago. Stucco is one of the oldest forms of siding, and it’s one of the most effective options still available to this day. Of course, it’s a bit more modern today than it was all those years ago when it became part of Greek homes.
What is it Made From?
Stucco is a mixture of Portland cement, sand, and water. These three materials combine to create a very durable substance that dries into a hard, rock-like consistency that’s smooth or rough, depending on how it is finished. Stucco is applied over a rough wire framework that helps the material adhere effectively.
The Advantages of Stucco Siding
There are several advantages to using stucco. It’s highly versatile, it’s affordable, and it’s a long-lasting and durable material, which makes it such a popular option.
Stucco siding can be finished to a smooth or rough texture. It’s also possible to place stones and other little objects in the stucco to give it a unique exterior look. Not only can you change the texture of stucco, but you can change the color as well. Add some different colors straight into the mixture to alter it, or paint over top of it after it’s finished.
Made from plaster and cement, stucco is highly resistant to fire. Compared to options like wood siding, or even vinyl siding, stucco is much more effective at smoldering a fire and keeping a home from burning down.
It’s possible for stucco to last up to 50 years before it must be replaced. That means that many homes will only have to be refinished once during the lifetime of the occupant at the most, and many people will only see one stucco application before switching to a different house.
Stucco itself is very affordable—in fact, it’s one of the cheapest forms of siding on the market. It’s the application that adds to the bill and makes it comparable in cost to other siding options available. Stucco is challenging to install, and it requires skilled installers to get the job done. This adds to the bill, but it’s still a highly reasonable form of siding.
Offers Effective Insulation
Stucco is thicker than many siding options, like vinyl siding, for example. It’s also made from dense material that serves as a powerful insulator. Since several layers of that material will be applied to the outside of the house by the end of the process, stucco is a highly effective insulator that’s good for making a home more airtight than it once was. When you’re trying to improve the insulation of your home, it makes sense to have stucco put on as the siding, and you’ll even notice that it blocks out some exterior noise as well.
The Disadvantages of Stucco
There are certain environments that aren’t a good match for stucco siding. One of the main areas where stucco should not be used is in a very damp location. While it’s effective at repelling moisture in standard climates, in highly rainy locations the stucco can become oversaturated and actually stop doing its job properly. This can lead to wood and other building materials getting wet after a while.
Stucco is a relatively brittle material, which isn’t an issue for houses that remain in place over time. When a house begins to shift, perhaps from a sinking foundation or an earthquake, it results in major cracking. That’s why stucco should only be applied to very stable homes that aren’t subject to any shifting. This means stucco likely isn’t a good candidate for older houses that are experiencing foundation shifting.
Like most siding materials, stucco does require some maintenance to keep it in good shape. That means you’ll have to dedicate a bit of your time to the cause, but the level of maintenance required is very minimal. Many people regularly pressure-wash stucco to remove any water marks and stains that develop. Hairline cracks will form over time as well, but they are simple to patch with an elastomeric sealant product. These maintenance tasks rival the simplicity of vinyl siding, and they make stucco into a real contender to one of the most popular forms of siding installed today.
Stucco is a favored insulation type in some parts of the world, but it’s only a good option in the right areas. Now that you know what it’s all about, and you know the advantages and disadvantages of the material, it should be easy to decide if it’s the right siding option for your home or not.