Surefire Performance and Decorative Possibilities
If you thought that a stucco exterior was only appropriate for homes in the American Southwest, then think again. While the material is popular there due to its excellent energy efficiency, this attribute translates well into any climate, whether hot or cold. And stucco will not only keep your home comfortable, but it is also an extremely durable and low maintenance material that should last up to 50 years.
Types of Stucco
Stucco is a mortar mixture of Portland cement, sand, lime, and water. The installation method depends on the exterior wall construction. On wooden walls, roofing felt or building paper is attached, followed by wood lath and/or wire mesh. The stucco mixture is then applied in three layers with a trowel, or in some cases, sprayed on. If your home already has stucco siding, or concrete, brick, or masonry walls, the stucco can be applied directly atop the old siding (although a bonding agent must first be brushed on). Often, an acrylic-polymer finish is applied over the stucco to prevent cracking.
In addition to the traditional stucco described above, there's synthetic stucco, technically known as Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS). Mock stucco is composed of an inner layer of foam insulation board, the synthetic stucco itself (a cement and polymer mixture), fiberglass mesh, and a finish coat. First used as a wall patch material in Europe after World War II, synthetic stucco is more flexible and a better insulator than traditional stucco.
Once you've settled on traditional or synthetic stucco, the choices don't end there. In fact, stucco offers more options than you might imagine.
Stucco color is highly customizable. Pigment can be added to the mixture for coloration, or the siding can be painted after it is applied. This also means, of course, that you can repaint stucco siding whenever you tire of the old color.
In addition to color choices, stucco can be applied in a variety of textures. From smooth and course finishes to raked and swirled patterns to artistic mosaics and murals, stucco is a veritable canvas for the imaginative homeowner.
Reasons to Install Stucco
Whether you choose traditional or synthetic stucco siding for your home, plan on enjoying the following benefits:
- Stucco is an excellent insulator that will keep your home cool in the summertime, warm in the wintertime, and dampen sounds. It may even help you lower your energy bills.
- Stucco resists fire and moisture.
- The energy-efficiency and durability of stucco makes it one of the most eco-friendly siding materials on the market.
- Low-maintenance stucco generally only needs to be sprayed with a hose or lightly pressure-washed on occasion to remove accumulated grime. Any cracks that develop in the siding are easy to patch over with paint and/or sealant.
Stucco Siding Costs
- Both traditional and synthetic stucco siding should fall within the price range of $6 to $10 per square foot installed. For a home with 1,500 exterior square feet (an average home size), that's a total estimated cost of $9,000 to $15,000.
- Local labor and material costs, home height, layout, and custom design work can all affect the actual cost of stucco siding.
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