Stucco Siding Installation Guide
Stucco Siding Costs, Maintenance and Pros & Cons
Stucco has a long, rich history. It dates back to ancient Greek and Roman architecture. It gained widespread popularity in Europe during the Renaissance. And it was a favorite of iconic American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
Today, we often associate stucco with Spanish-style homes in the Southwest. But the siding material is growing in popularity in other regions of the country, particularly with homeowners who want something more natural looking than vinyl but easier to maintain than wood.
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Cost of Stucco Siding
The price of stucco siding varies based on the application method, the size of your house, the quality of the stucco and your geographic location. Generally, the cost ranges from $6 to $9 per square foot installed - about 40 percent more than vinyl.
If you need to cover 1,500 square feet, stucco siding will run you anywhere from $9,000 to $13,500 installed. If you need to cover 2,500 square feet, budget $15,000 to $22,500 installed.
Synthetic stucco is closer to $5 to $8 per square foot installed. That works out to a total project cost of $7,500 to $12,000 for 1,500 square feet and $12,500 to $20,000 for 2,500 square feet.
About Stucco Siding
Stucco is made using a blend of lime, silica sand, cement and water. The contractor applies several layers of the sand and lime mixture, wetting each layer in between. After that, a final color coat is applied.
Different types of cement are used in the mixture, depending on your climate and the texture you’d like: smooth, swirled or raked. Rocks or sand can be added to create a rough finish. The stucco’s color can come from a pigment that is part of the mixture, or the stucco can be painted when the job is complete.
Stucco can be applied one of several ways:
- In layers over framed walls
- Over a wire mesh base
- Directly over old surfaces such as concrete block or stucco
Stucco has long been applied by hand, but newer mixtures can be sprayed on. The contractor must let the first coat dry a day or two before applying the second coat. When the final coat has been applied, it must be kept damp for a few days. If the material dries too quickly, it will be weaker than desired.
Stucco application is not a do-it-yourself job; it must be done by a professional. The job requires significant expertise.
Stucco Pros and Cons
Stucco is strong, durable and fireproof. Warranties usually span about 15 years, but the siding is likely to last 50 years or more. The material is a great insulator, too. With stucco, the color and texture options are vast. And the material requires far less maintenance than wood siding.
On the downside, stucco shows dirt, stains, mold and mildew more easily than other types of siding. It requires annual pressure washing and occasional repainting. Cold and wet weather can be tough on stucco - it performs best in warm, dry climates. The material is also susceptible to cracks.
Synthetic materials designed to resemble stucco are economical and easy to apply, but they are not as strong and durable as real stucco, and they are prone to moisture problems. The most common type of synthetic stucco is known as Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EFIS).