Why Use Stucco for Exterior Walls?
Stucco is the most widely known and used term for cement based exterior plaster. Stucco has been used for thousands of years in different forms and continues to be the cladding of choice throughout the world for many residential homeowners as well as residential, commercial and industrial contractors. Stucco applications offer many benefits over other claddings such as vinyl siding, wood siding, brick, etc.
What is Stucco?
Stucco is a relatively lightweight option that requires no additional support to the structure, as in the case of brick which requires an additional concrete footer to support the weight of the brick. Stucco is especially cost effective when used in a retrofit or facelift of an existing structure. This is especially true when no concrete footer is present for brick or real stone installation. Stucco is also an excellent product to use by cutting down on the cost of a new structure by eliminating the concrete footer.
Properly installed stucco is superior in durability vs. metal or vinyl siding as it is an extremely rigid product due to its cement based compositional makeup. Stucco can typically withstand damage from hail and general abuse exterior walls can incur due to multiple impacts that are possible with any structure.
Vinyl and metal siding are sometimes damaged or even ripped off during moderate to high wind situations. Stucco is unaffected in these conditions except for in the extreme case of a tornado or heavy flying debris in extreme high winds which could damage any cladding installed. We have retrofitted multiple houses with siding to a stucco system to relieve home and business owners of the constant replacement of siding that has become detached during storms.
Why Use Stucco for Exterior?
The most popular reason homeowners and contractors use stucco is the fact that it is virtually maintenance free when properly installed. Stucco requires no painting as mineral pigment colorants are mixed into the finish coat according to the customer’s choice of our many colors. The color is throughout the finish coat, not just on the surface such as paint. Stucco also breathes moisture extremely well due to its compositional makeup. Stucco will absorb rain water like a sponge but also expel moisture rapidly. It also allows the entire house to breathe interior moisture out when used in conjunction with the latest vapor barrier technology and window treatments.
Can You Paint Stucco Walls?
We do not recommend painting your existing stucco, nor does any reputable installer except in cases where a vapor barrier is not present behind the stucco or the vapor barrier was installed incorrectly by an inferior applicator. Typically houses built after 1985 have a vapor barrier behind the stucco to keep moisture out of the wall cavities. If your stucco has become faded or a color change is desired we highly recommend refinishing the stucco with a new stucco finish coat to maintain stucco’s ability to breathe.
Painting stucco is highly discouraged due to the fact that once stucco is painted its ability to breathe is almost nonexistent. Most paints will breathe small amounts of vapor out, but will trap large amounts of water that could occur from a roof leak or caulking leak with no way of knowing there is an issue until the interior walls begin to rot and show through the interior drywall.
The trapped water can freeze and expand in the Midwest climate causing the stucco to buckle and fail. The painting of stucco also creates a maintenance issue because all of the painted stucco walls must be caulked correctly to all soffits, trim and windows. All of the caulking will need to be inspected yearly as well.
Please contact us with any additional questions in regards to the benefits of stucco vs. other claddings. We always give free estimates for repairs, room additions, residential and commercial projects, as well as free inspections of existing stucco that may need addressed.