Stucco is a cement plaster exterior wall covering. It’s one of the oldest types of siding material in the world. In fact, it was widely used in ancient Greece over 1,000 years ago to create the relief designs you often see in Greek architecture and is still used today.
The cement plaster material is typically made of a mix of cement, lime, sand, and water, and is spread over the exterior of a house while still wet. It is applied to a building using a wire framework to help it adhere more easily and is usually applied in several layers. While it’s most commonly used on the exterior of a building, it can also be used on the interior.
Why should consider a stucco house?
There are several advantages to using stucco as siding. It’s very versatile, long-lasting, and cost-effective. You get several customization options with stucco. It can be smooth, rough, or inlaid with a pattern. You can also add stones or other decorative features or add dye to the mixture to create a custom color. You can also choose to apply an acrylic finish. Stucco is very affordable and virtually maintenance-free; cement-based stucco resists fungus, rot, and is insect resistant.
Is a stucco home fire resistant?
Yes, stucco is fire resistant. In fact, stucco makes a great building surface that is durable, fire-resistant, and can be applied to just about any surface whether it be brick, wood, or concrete. Since stucco is usually applied in three layers over a metal reinforcing mesh, you often end up with a one-inch layer of stucco, which could effectively add a one-hour fire rating to a wall.
What are some of the drawbacks of stucco houses?
Although stucco does very well at repelling moisture in normal climates, it doesn’t do very well in a rainy environment because it has a tendency to become oversaturated. Unfortunately, this can lead to the building materials beneath getting waterlogged over time.
While stucco is very durable, it’s rigidity makes it fairly brittle, so if you live in a location where the ground is prone to shifting, it’s not the best option. It can be damaged by flying debris and hail, and oddly enough, woodpeckers are attracted to stucco and can actually peck holes in it, which will create an avenue for water intrusion. Additionally, while stucco is mostly maintenance-free, it can develop tiny hairline cracks over time, which can be patched using an elastomeric sealant.
Using stucco can be a cost-effective alternative to many kinds of siding, however, it’s not always the budget option. Stucco is generally more expensive than fiber-based cement or vinyl siding due to labor costs. It’s not a simple DIY project—properly applying stucco is labor-intensive and should be done by a professional.
Can you paint over stucco homes?
It depends. Fresh stucco should not be painted. The material is porous and requires air to breathe in order to dry properly, which could take weeks. If you don’t allow it to completely dry, the moisture becomes trapped, causing the paint to bubble and peel as the water attempts to find a way to escape. Once stucco is dry, however, it’s safe to paint, but there are some conditions to that as well.
If you have old stucco, it’s a good idea to power wash it and let it dry for at least 7 to 10 days before you start to paint. Caulk any hairline cracks or chips before you paint as well. Once you’re sure the stucco is in good condition, you can easily paint over it without any problems.
How does this type of exterior affect my home value?
A few factors come into play here: the installation and condition, the area, and the neighborhood. Stucco that is professionally installed and well maintained can increase the resale value of your home. However, because it can retain moisture, it isn’t a popular choice in humid climates, so if your home is in a wet climate, it can be detrimental to your home value. If other homes in the neighborhood also feature the same type of exterior, it’s a good sign that your stucco home will have better resale value as well.