Stucco siding costs between $5 to $9.58 per square foot on average to install. If you were to apply stucco siding to the average size 1,500 square foot home, you could expect to pay around $10,935 in total installation costs at an average of about $7 per square foot. Stucco must be applied to a flat surface or real brick siding. If you have vinyl siding, you will have to have it removed beforehand, which will cost more, depending on removal and disposal fees in your area. Stucco siding replacement costs also vary by the size and design of your house and local labor rates.
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 is smooth or rough, depending on how it is finished. Stucco is applied over a rough wire framework, which helps the material adhere effectively, or any other flat siding surface.
If you have ever seen a house that looked like it was coated in clay or cement, it was probably covered in stucco siding. Stucco is an age-old building material that was used heavily by the Greeks more than 1,000 years ago. Stucco is one of the oldest types of home siding materials, and it is one of the most effective options still available to this day.
In fact, according to the Census Bureau’s Survey of Construction in 2020, stucco was chosen by 28% of homeowners for newly built homes. It tends to be the most popular as a siding option in the Pacific (63%), Mountain (50%), and South Atlantic (39%) regions of the U.S.
Benefits of Stucco Siding
There are several advantages to using stucco as your home’s siding. It is highly versatile, affordable, long-lasting and durable, which makes it such a popular option. We explore the top benefits of this type of siding below.
Stucco siding can be finished to a smooth or rough texture. It is 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 is 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. This is one reason that stucco is so popular for homes in regions that are prone to wildfires.
Stucco siding is very durable and has an impressive average lifespan. It is 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. Many people will only see one stucco application before switching to a different house.
Homeowners with stucco siding will enjoy the very low amount of maintenance it requires. Because stucco is so sturdy and durable, it can be pressure washed without worry of damaging the exterior.
You can plan to pressure wash the siding just once per year. Any small cracks can be repaired with sealant, which can be bought at any hardware store.
Stucco vs. Vinyl Siding: Which is Best?
Because vinyl and stucco are two of the most popular siding materials for homes today, many homeowners wonder which is the best option. Let’s break down a few factors.
Cost: Stucco itself is very affordable. Vinyl is just slightly cheaper than stucco, at $3 to $8.50 per square foot. However, stucco is still considered one of the cheapest and most durable types of siding today, at just $5 to $9.58 per square foot.
Application and labor: Stucco is a bit more challenging to install compared to vinyl siding. It requires skilled siding installers to get the job done. For this reason, stucco installation and labor costs can add to the bill.
Longevity: Stucco siding tends to last longer – and require less maintenance – compared to vinyl siding. It is also more durable than vinyl. For these reasons, stucco siding tends to yield a higher return on investment for homeowners. Stucco siding installations can provide a 75% return on investment, while new vinyl siding installations land closer to a 68% return.
Before deciding between stucco and vinyl, be sure to talk to your siding contractor about the best siding option for your home and region.
During installation, several layers of stucco will be applied to the outside of the house. For this reason, stucco is a highly effective insulator that is good for making a home more airtight than it once was.
If you want to improve the insulation or energy efficiency of your home, it makes sense to have stucco put on as the siding. You will even notice that it blocks out some exterior noise as well.
Disadvantages of Stucco Siding
As you do your research on stucco siding, it is important to take note of its potential downsides. Note that these disadvantages will not apply to all homes and climates, so be sure to consult with a professional when making a final siding decision.
Not best for wet climates
There are certain environments that are not a good match for stucco siding. One of the main areas where stucco should not be used is in very damp locations.
While it is effective at repelling moisture in standard climates, in highly rainy locations, stucco can become oversaturated. This can lead to the home’s wood foundation and other building materials becoming wet over time, which causes moisture damage and rotting.
When a house begins to shift, perhaps from a sinking foundation or an earthquake, stucco can be prone to cracking. Stucco should only be applied to very stable homes that are not subject to any environmental shifting. This means that this type of siding likely is not a good candidate for older houses that are experiencing foundation shifting.
Stucco Siding Maintenance Tips
Like most siding materials, stucco does require some maintenance to keep it in good shape. You will have to dedicate a bit of your time to the cause, but the level of maintenance required is very minimal. Most homeowners pressure-wash this type of siding once per year to remove any water marks and stains that develop.
Hairline cracks may 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 a real contender to one of the most popular forms of siding installed today.
Stucco is a favored home siding insulation type in some parts of the world. But remember that it is the best siding option only in the right areas.