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What are the Pros and Cons of Stucco Construction?

By Ken Black
Updated May 16, 2024
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While stucco construction is popular throughout the country, it comes with its own distinct advantages and disadvantages. Stucco can look impressive, but it can also lead to some moisture problems and have a flat look from a distance. Some pros of stucco construction include the durability and its relatively inexpensive cost compared to other forms of siding. Also, it is possible for individuals to apply stucco on their own.

One of the main disadvantages of stucco construction is the fact that it will look like a plain, flat finish from a distance. This is one disadvantage that cannot be overcome. As individuals get closer to the home, the texture of the stucco becomes visible. To counteract this negative effect, some individuals may choose a neutral stucco color with high contrast colors in shutters, and corners and other features of the house to create an appealing view from a distance.

More than just aesthetics, the other major disadvantage of stucco construction is in the material's susceptibility to moisture. Without the proper barriers in place, moisture can penetrate and move up the stucco finish. This can cause premature peeling, especially in the lower portions of the stucco material. Peeling can be repaired, but it will take time and money and the symptoms will reappear in time without taking care of the underlying problem.

A major advantage of stucco construction is the cost. It is one of the cheapest of siding materials to put on a house. Moreover, homeowners can further reduce the costs of the stucco by choosing to apply it themselves. While this is not something all homeowners will decide to do, applying stucco is not very technically demanding and can be learned relatively quickly.

The moisture issue notwithstanding, the durability of stucco is another pro that many find appealing. Stucco can last for many decades and very rarely needs painting. This makes stucco construction one of the most maintenance-free choices of all siding materials. To help increase the life of the paint, homeowners should use a masonry paint that can penetrate the stucco, rather than just coat the surface of the material.

Stucco also has a number of practical benefits that can improve safety and save money. For example, the material is fire resistant, which is not true of all forms of siding. It also can help provide some additional insulation, which is ideal for those in both warm and cold climates. Therefore, a stucco house may actually help a homeowner cut down on energy costs.

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Discussion Comments
By anon994284 — On Jan 28, 2016

I was wondering how well stucco works in a cold climate? If the temperature swings are big you get expansion and contraction. How do you prevent cracking? I heard it would work with the right preparation. What preparation is that?

By anon992481 — On Sep 11, 2015

Cement stucco is not an insulator. Cement stucco can work or fail anywhere in the US and Canada. Over framed walls, flashing is critical to insure stucco works, done right, last the life of the building, done wrong, expensive to fix.

Europe has used stucco for centuries, mostly over masonry walls and changes have to be made to make it work in the US, but it can, even Alaska uses stucco.

By julies — On Apr 04, 2012

We moved into a house that was built with stucco and ended up doing some exterior stucco repair.

We didn't think there was a problem when we bought the house, but after a couple of years the bottom started chipping and peeling.

Moisture had gotten up inside and caused major problems. Even though it was something that could be fixed, it was a major expense that we weren't anticipating.

We stayed with the stucco finish because it was still cheaper to repair it than to go with something totally new. I don't think I would choose this type of construction again though.

The look is too flat and plain for me, and I like something that has more flair and appeal. Stucco is known to be a good insulator, but I haven't really noticed a difference in our utility bills.

By andee — On Apr 03, 2012

We have lived in several stucco homes and have never had any trouble with moisture. We also live in an area that is very dry, and many homeowners choose to go with this look.

It is a very common choice in the Southwest, and it is not unusual to see many homes and restaurants built with this type of construction.

Before we moved to this part of the country we lived in homes that had to be painted every few years. This became a major hassle, and I really enjoy the advantage of living in something that is maintenance-free.

By sunshined — On Apr 03, 2012

When we were building our home we went with exterior stucco siding for many reasons. We were looking for something that didn't take a lot of maintenance but was also affordable.

Many of the other types of maintenance free siding we looked at were a little bit outside of our price range.

Since we were doing most of the work ourselves, this was also an advantage. We have been really pleased with this choice. I like the neutral color of the house, but have dark burgundy shutters that really make a nice contrast.

You don't see a lot of stucco construction in our area, but we get a lot of compliments on our house. I think because it is different, and the contrasting color of the shutters and roof really make it stand out.

By SarahSon — On Apr 02, 2012

My sister lives in Arizona and they have stucco siding on their house. You see a lot of homes in this area with this type of siding.

I love the look of stucco, but it probably wouldn't be very practical where we live. We get a lot of rain and have a lot of damp days, and I don't think the stucco would hold up very well in these type of conditions.

Living in Arizona is a great place to have something like stucco siding since they don't get a lot of moisture. It also provides some good insulation on those extremely hot summer days.

When you drive through my sister's neighborhood, most all of the homes are made with this type of construction.

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