Stucco Siding Application

Stucco siding is one of the oldest forms of siding material known to man. Made of Portland cement, water, and sand, it’s applied in two or more coats over metal-based reinforcing mesh. Most commonly associated with Spanish and Mediterranean architecture, this hand-troweled masonry plaster has many advantages. It’s extremely versatile and cost-effective. It lasts a long time and can be applied smooth, rough, or patterned. You can also add color to the mixture to customize any look you want. On the downside, stucco is brittle and doesn’t always do well in inclement weather. If you decide to side your home in stucco, it’s important that you find a reliable, licensed contractor to do the stucco application and repairs properly. CLAD Siding offers free quotes from licensed, insured siding contractors, helping you make important decisions about your home. Click here for a free quote in just minutes!

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Stucco Repairs

Stucco siding is one of the most popular choices in warm weather climates such as California and Arizona. Easy and relatively cheap to apply, it lends a Mediterranean feel to any type of architecture. But stucco comes with its share of issues.

Stucco is porous, so if you live in a rainy or moist climate, you’ll find it becomes oversaturated fairly easily and is not ideal. In addition, it’s brittle, so if you’re in a region prone to earthquakes, you might see a lot of cracks appear. But the good news is it’s simple to repair with an elastomeric sealant. If you see an area that’s cracked or has holes, it’s important to repair with sealant immediately so that moisture doesn’t creep in and cause mold.

Stucco is quickly cleaned by spraying with a power washer or garden hose a few times a year, so maintenance is fairly effortless. And it’s also easy to repaint if it becomes stained or weathered, once the surface is clean and completely dry. Because stucco is hand-applied, resulting in higher labor charges, stucco may not always be the cheapest option, but maintenance is definitely cost-effective in the long run.

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Stucco Pros and Cons

Nothing affects the curb appeal of your home more than the type of siding you choose for its exterior. Stucco is a finish that’s been used since Greek and Roman days. It remains popular due to the sunny Mediterranean look it exudes, along with its versatility. But, like any finish, it has its drawbacks. Following are some pros and cons to consider:


Good in hot, dry climates

Stucco is most popular in warm, temperate climates like the Southwest. It can tolerate a certain amount of moisture but, because it’s porous, it’s not recommended in heavy rain areas as it can become oversaturated.

Can be applied to a variety of surfaces

Stucco is very versatile as it can be applied to masonry or concrete walls, metal lath attached to frame construction, or solid masonry. The mixture, made of Portland cement, water, and sand, is applied either by hand or machine and takes two or three coats to achieve the desired thickness.

Wide range of colors

Stucco is also popular due to its design flexibility. The color can be changed before application by mixing in pigments or premixed materials that can be color-matched for consistency. Or, stucco can easily be painted after it’s cured. Portland cement-based paints work very well as they’re made from the same material as the stucco, but other types of paint may not last as long. Acrylic paints stay fresh longer but will change the permeability of the stucco, affecting its ability to withstand the weather.

Can last a long time

If properly applied and maintained, stucco can last 50 years or more. With its hard surface, it can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Because it’s porous, substances can cause it to discolor. And ground movement can cause cracks and holes. But, with proper maintenance, stucco can have a long lifespan.

Moderate fire resistance

Another lesser-known advantage to stucco is that it’s less flammable than other materials, helping to keep homes protected from fire damage. A one-inch layer of stucco typically has a one-hour fire rating. It will resist a fire longer than vinyl, for example, but will succumb to flames sooner than brick masonry.


Takes several weeks to cure

The average drying time for stucco is between 30-90 days, depending on the climate where the building is located. The water in the mix must release slowly for the mixture to dry properly. Even if stucco feels dry to the touch, it may not have cured enough for you to paint over it. If you paint too soon, you run the risk of trapping the moisture under the paint, causing it to bubble and peel off prematurely.

Low R-value

R-value is a measure of how well a two-dimensional barrier, such as insulation, a window, wall, or ceiling resists the flow of heat. Stucco has an R-value of approximately 0.20 per inch, meaning that it provides 20 percent of the insulation value of one inch of wood. It can help to keep a home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, but not as much as other types of siding.

Susceptible to cracking and damage

Stucco dries to a hard finish that can crack or develop holes if the ground under the building moves or the house settles. If used in an earthquake zone, it’s important to check often for damage and repair so that moisture doesn’t seep in, causing further damage.

Can mold or rot in damp climates

If your home is located in a damp climate, stucco may not be the best choice. The stucco mixture is very porous, even when dry, and can’t handle inclement weather as well as other types of siding. If it cracks, moisture can get underneath the stucco surface and cause mold or rot which will cost you more in the long run.

Needs to be applied professionally:

It takes a skilled plasterer to know the right consistency of plaster to use as well as the correct amount of pigment to achieve a consistent look. If you don’t hire a reputable contractor, you could be left with a finish that’s neither attractive nor long-lasting.

Stucco Cost – Material, Repairs & Labor Installation Costs

The general materials cost to stucco coat a 1,000 square foot house is between $1,100 and $1,500. Labor costs will be about $40 to $50 per hour, per laborer. The work will take between 3 to 5 days. If you’d like to paint the stucco after it’s cured, expect to add another $750 – $900 to the final price. Overall, you’re looking at a cost between $1,850 to $2,400. Stucco coating is highly popular due to its relatively inexpensive cost, but keep in mind that it will need repairs or replacement over time. Contractors typically charge $40 – $50 per hour, or $60 – $120 per square foot to repair stucco.

What are Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS)?

EIFS stucco is a type of wall covering that looks like a typical stucco installation on the outside but provides better insulation than regular stucco. EIFS uses many layers of different products to create a complete wall system that can provide improved protection from water or air. Some of the typical layers include a water/air barrier, an adhesive basecoat, foam, a base coat applied to a fiberglass mesh, a primer coat, and a finish coat. This type of stucco system can improve a wall’s R-value from an R-2 to an R-4, ensuring your home is well-insulated from excessive heat, cold, or rain.

Stucco Finishes and Textures

Stucco finishes come in a dazzling array of textures, limited only by your imagination. The application technique allows for all types of looks, ranging from rough and grainy to smooth and modern. Following is a list of some of the more popular textures that can be applied to the surface of the stucco.

Cat Face

Cat face is a smooth coat with small to large rough areas, known as inclusions, creating patterns throughout the finish. The look can be changed up easily, depending on how close or far you place the inclusions, or how large or small you make them. The effect is achieved by using two coats of troweled or sprayed-on stucco which is finished by hand. It can be done with both synthetic and traditional stucco.


The Combed finish looks just like it sounds, with a grooved, lined texture. It is created with a base coat, overlaid by a finish coat that’s thick enough to accommodate the depth of the grooves. The topcoat is smoothed with a rod and darby, and then, using a strip as a guide, the surface is combed vertically (or horizontally) to achieve a pattern.


Dash finish is sprayed on and can be light, medium, or heavy in style. The grainy texture is sprayed on over the base coat, in two or three coats. The finish can range from fine to super heavy, depending on the desired look. The final product is pretty rough and easily repaired. It can be created with either synthetic or traditional stucco.


English stucco is a more traditional look, more commonly found on older buildings. It’s usually created using traditional stucco that’s applied in two coats. Then, using a rounded trowel, a thick texture coat is applied with short strokes in varying directions. This leaves a swooping, irregular pattern.

Lace or Skip Trowel

Lace, or Skip Trowel stucco is the most traditional stucco look and the most common. It hides all kinds of imperfections and can be used for either residential or commercial equally well. Traditional or acrylic stucco is applied by hand (although it can be sprayed on) and then flattened using a regular trowel. It’s applied in two coats and comes in a fine, medium, or coarse finish.

Sand or “Float”

The Sand or “Float” look is very simple and plain. It can be created in a fine, medium or coarse finish. Synthetic or traditional stucco is laid down by trowel and then finished with a float—a sponge that has a handle attached—via quick strokes.

Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara finish is similar to the Smooth coat but is achieved using special materials that contain smaller sand particles. It’s meant to echo the old adobe style with a handmade-looking texture. Traditional stucco is applied in two coats using a pool trowel which has rounded ends and short mounting, providing a smooth, natural finish.

Smooth or Scraped

Smooth finish is fast becoming one of the more popular looks due to its clean, elegant look. It can be applied with both acrylic and synthetic stucco. Color can easily be applied to this finish. It does tend to show cracks and damage more easily than rougher, more textured finishes.

Worm or Swirl

Worm or Swirl finishes have small grooves and indentations running throughout. This look is best achieved with traditional stucco but can be created with special aggregates added. The mixture is applied by hand and then rubbed in a circular motion to create the effect, either in a fine or heavy finish.

In addition to all the choices of textures, you can also blend color finishes into the stucco, adding to the unique look of your home.

Find Stucco Contractors Near Me

Stucco is one of the best products available to protect your home, but if it’s not installed properly, you risk all kinds of problems down the road. To make sure the job is done right, it’s vital that you choose a contractor who understands the nuances and requirements of working with this material. Following are the top six things you should look for when hiring a reputable stucco siding contractor:


Licensed contractors may have a great reputation, but not be trained specifically in the application of stucco. Be sure to ask beforehand what training, experience, or certifications the contractor has with the products you’ll be using.


Contractors are required to carry insurance but ask up front how much coverage they’ll provide, should an incident occur. Accidents take place, even to the best companies, and you’ll want to make sure you’re protected if anything happens on or to your property.


Just because a company says it does siding doesn’t mean it’s equally proficient in the installation of all types of siding. Stucco has very different requirements than, for example, vinyl, wood, or brick. Be sure the individual, or company, you’re talking to is a specialist in stucco siding and can provide you with examples of successful projects they have completed.


Well-respected tradespeople will always stand by their work. Ask any company you’re considering to provide you with the terms of their warranty. What does it cover? How long is it good for? Does it cover materials used, and if so, for how long? Ensure that all warranty information is provided to you in writing, with the date of service included.


Be sure to get at least three references of work done near you that you can check out before hiring. This way you can call beforehand to find out if there were any problems or issues with prior jobs. You might also consider talking with suppliers. You’ll be able to ascertain whether the company pays its bills on time and has a good reputation in your area.

Get Quotes

It’s also important to get several quotes beforehand that you can compare. That’s where Great Guys Home Improvement comes in. With just one click, you can obtain quotes from the most reputable stucco siding installers in your area. Everyone we work with has been pre-vetted to ensure that they’re not only qualified but top in their field.


Find, hire, and work with the best, licensed stucco siding contractors in your area. Get and compare free estimates from local stucco contractors with CLAD Siding.

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