Stucco Siding: What does it offer your home’s exterior?

Stucco siding is no stranger to the exterior of homes. For thousands of years it has been a trusted source of protection and durability, adorning houses from Florida to Greece and everything between. Though this siding’s ingredients have changed over the years it’s retained its good name and dependability. 

What is Stucco Siding?

What is Stucco Siding

Derivative of Mediterranean and Spanish architecture, stucco siding is an exterior cement coating composed of limestone, sand, portland cement and water. Additives are sometimes used to further strengthen the end product too. While all these elements can be hand mixed, most will opt for the pre-mixed version, only requiring water for bonding.

Applied on flat pieces of wood called lath, stucco creates a fortified and seamless finish.

Synthetic stucco is a newer material in the stucco siding world. Even so, it’s still a viable choice as it’s made from acrylic resin, creating more resistance to cracking.

Pros of Stucco Siding

With plenty of pros, stucco gives you ample reason to make it your home’s siding of choice.

  • Insulation: Stucco’s thickness and level of density make it a rather good insulator. Layers of this sturdy siding create an airtight finish, offering you more energy efficiency in the coolest and warmest of months.
  • Durability: The cement mixture is known for its heavy-duty strength. Its ability to resist pests, fire and mold are unmatched. Likewise, it’s able to stand against the worst of weather events. It’s lifespan of about 50-80 years proves a durable material worth the investment.
  • Low Maintenance: One of its best qualities, stucco doesn’t require much maintenance, just some occasional cleaning. Spraying a bleach mixture on the stucco and then hosing it down soon after will leave it spotless. Also, small cracks and holes are simple fixes most homeowners are able to handle on their own with a good quality caulk.
  • Customization: Stucco can be finished in several ways including a smooth flat finish or raised textures for a more unique finish. Some of the most popular textures among stucco siding are knockdown dash, sand and cat face. Also, stucco can be mixed with a plethora of pigments meaning color options are limitless.
  • Sound Dampening: While it isn’t considered soundproof, stucco siding does provide a level of sound dampening by mitigating outside noise. In a similar way, it can help diminish noise coming from the inside out.

Cons of Stucco Siding

Though it doesn’t have many, stucco siding has some cons that are worth noting.

  • Absorbency: Due to its level of porousness, stucco can put your home at risk for water intrusion. It’s because of this that it’s imperative to have professional installation. If you start to see stucco that looks damp, soft interior walls or large chips in the stucco, you may need to have it looked at.
  • Cracks: Stucco is a firm, inflexible material and it’s because of this that it’s known to crack. While its normal for the stucco siding to develop hairline cracks, it’s not always welcomed. Even if the cracking doesn’t affect the structural integrity, it’s sure to affect the home’s curb appeal and a stucco patch might not do the trick.
  • Overall Cost: While a single layer of stucco isn’t costly, it’s also not as durable. A three-coat system is certain to last longer but it’ll cost you. Labor cost is also something to consider. Not only can stucco be a pain to work with, it takes a skilled worker to get the stucco application right and you’ll pay for that skill.

Cost of Stucco Siding

The total stucco siding costs will depend on multiple factors. Even so, homeowners can get an idea of the typical cost per square foot here:

  • Cost of labor and material for a 2,000-square-foot home average at $5.70 per square foot.
  • Stucco material cost averages at $5.50 per square foot.
  • Stucco labor installation cost averages $2.50 per square foot.
  • Traditional cement stucco ranges from $7 to $9 per square foot.
  • A synthetic stucco ranges from $12 to $14 per square foot.

Examples of Stucco Siding

Stucco house siding doesn’t come in one shape and size. Whatever your aesthetic is, stucco siding can morph to fit the design you have in mind.

Modern house with stucco
G. Morris Homes

Giving this home’s exterior the clean look the farmhouse style is known for, smooth stucco siding completes the exterior of this home. Wood pillars and a metal roof accent puts the rustic charm over the top.

Dashed Traditional

Modern house with stucco
Shoreline Architecture & Design

Utilizing the dashed finish, the stucco siding here is distinguished by a dappled, bumpy look that can range in thickness. This traditional home combines other environmental elements via the stone entry and barn garage doors for earthy touches everywhere you look.

Laced French Country

Laced French Country
Donald Lococo Architects

A french country living space with the popular lace stucco finish characterized by an irregular, intricate texture. The stucco paired with different materials of brick and wood used around doors and windows give this home exceptional detail.

Cat Faced Mediterranean

Cat Faced Mediterranean
Builder Boy

A cat face stucco finish adorns this mediterranean home with sections of smooth coating countered by patches of rough, grooved areas. Pops of color from both the roof and window framing bring contrast to the stucco’s pitted areas.

Santa Barbara Contemporary

Santa Barbara Contemporary

Neutral hues embellish this contemporary home with the Santa Barbara finish coat, resembling the smooth finish but with a more uneven, rough texture. Different toned wood grains balancing out the smooth-like stucco.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How many coats of stucco are applied in the installation process?

The common practice is to apply stucco in three coats. The first layer is the wood lath, which is made up of paper and wire. Next is a coat referred to as the “scratch coat”. The scratch coat is the first layer of your cement mixture. Last comes the “brown coat”, responsible for creating an even level throughout. Topping it all off is the finish coat.

While you can utilize the one coat stucco system, it isn’t advised. The end result is a less polished product and isn’t worth the lower initial payout.

Is stucco an eco-friendly siding?

Traditional stucco is one of the most eco-friendly siding options on the market. Since it’s made from all natural, earthy ingredients you can bet it won’t be one that ends up in the landfill. Made without the use of chemicals it won’t hurt the environment or contaminate your home’s air.

Can homeowners re-stucco a home with an existing layer of stucco for a refresh?

If your home’s structure is intact, you can apply a new layer of stucco over the old. Keep in mind that cracking is normal with stucco siding, so cracks are nothing to worry with. In order to apply a new layer of stucco, you’ll start by brushing on a layer of bonding agent. After the agent, you can start the re-stucco process.

Does stucco siding need to be sealed?

In order to best protect your stucco siding, it should be sealed. A permeable material, stucco needs sealing to keep the moisture from causing damage. Depending on if it’s new or old, you’ll use different types of industrial grade sealer.

Are stucco and fiber cement siding the same thing?

Though both of these contain a strong outermost layer of cement, they’re altogether different building materials. Fiber cement utilizes most of the same components as stucco, with the exception of wood fibers. It also tends to do a better job of repelling moisture than stucco.


Stucco siding has become a popular siding option based on many factors, including its resistance to fire, pests and mold. Stucco homes also run the gamut in style but no matter the style, it holds fast to its desirable characteristics any homeowner would want on their home’s exterior.

A low-maintenance siding option with a high level of durability, it’s an investment that’s sure to guard your exterior for decades.