Everything you need to know about stucco

Stucco siding is excellent for homeowners who want their homes to stand out. The versatility of stucco makes it the best choice for themed dwellings such as Spanish and Greek style homes. And since this type of siding can be painted, the stucco colors are endless. If you've already determined that stucco is perfect for your home, all that's left to do is decide whether traditional or synthetic stucco best suits your needs.

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Traditional and Synthetic Stucco

Traditional stucco, also called masonry stucco looks very similar to synthetic stucco. For this reason, homeowners usually can't tell the difference by doing a visual side-by-side comparison of the two. One way to determine whether stucco is traditional or synthetic is to knock on the surface – traditional stucco is solid, while synthetic stucco will sound hollow.

Traditional stucco is made with Portland cement, lime, water and sand, and then placed over mesh. Traditional stucco's fire resistant properties help reduce the cost of your homeowner's insurance. Masonry stucco absorbs water, and dries easily because of its porous nature. Although this type of stucco is extremely durable, it is prone to surface cracks and chips.

Synthetic stucco, also referred to as exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) is made by applying an acrylic-polymer coat over fiberglass mesh and foam board. Synthetic stucco siding is long-lasting, and resistant to cracks. This type of stucco siding is very durable, but it is prone to impact damage from things such as hail and woodpeckers.

If stucco siding is not installed properly, the results can be disastrous. For this reason, stucco installation requires a considerable amount of skill. So if you don't know how to stucco your home, locate stucco contractors in your area and find one with enough experience to do the job right. And because stucco is so labor-intensive, it is more expensive than wood siding, aluminum siding and vinyl siding.

Stucco Repair

Small surface cracks in stucco can be covered with a coat of paint or sealant. However, larger cracks may indicate more severe problems that can't be fixed using these methods. These types of movement cracks require the help of professionals who know how to repair stucco properly.

Moisture can get behind synthetic siding via broken caulk joints, punctures and poorly sealed windows. When this happens, the moisture has no way of escaping, and can cause serious damage to walls. To prevent costly problems, inspect your stucco regularly and repair damage as needed.