Types of Stucco
Stucco is a plaster mixture that is most commonly used as a finish on building exteriors. There are two types of stucco: traditional stucco, and synthetic stucco, also known as Exterior Insulation Finishing System (EIFS). Traditional stucco consists of a mixture of lime, sand and water, while EIFS is a multi-layered system. The first is a layer of foam plastic board applied to the surface with adhesive; the second is usually a concrete and fiberglass mesh layer. The third layer is the finish, in which different textures can be achieved by adding different materials into the mixture. Both types have advantages and disadvantages. Traditional stucco is usually considered harder and more durable. EIFS has had problems in the past with trapping moisture and causing rot to the material underneath it (especially wood), and causing, in turn, the stucco to crack and peel. Recently, however, this issue has been resolved with a moisture drainage system, which collects moisture and diverts it out.
Stucco and Your Home
Choosing to side your home with stucco has many advantages: it's durable, and if properly applied, will usually last the entire lifetime of the house. It is also low-cost and low-maintenance. It is one of the cheapest sidings to purchase and have professionally applied; it doesn't need to be painted, and it is very easy to clean. Stucco can also save you money in other ways, as well. It's naturally fire resistant, which is good news for your house and possibly for your insurance payment. Some insurance companies will offer discounts for stucco-sided houses because of the fire resistance, so if you choose stucco call your insurance company and ask about the discount. Furthermore, stucco is naturally insulating, which is excellent for both warm and cool climates, and will help you save on your energy bill. Therefore, stucco's durability and insulating characteristics make it an ideal siding if you live in an area with a harsh climate, whether hot or cold, or both.
Disadvantages to Stucco
Some believe that stucco has a lack of aesthetic value, but that can be easily overcome. Stucco can be simply painted, swirled, or textured to match your tastes. The other commonly-cited problem with stucco is its moisture susceptibility, but as noted above, this problem has been recently solved with the moisture-drainage system.
Therefore, stucco is a good choice for any home. However, if stucco is not applied by a professional, there is a great danger of bulging, cracking, peeling, and other unsightliness. Additionally, if you choose EIFS, it is especially important to hire a professional to properly install the moisture drainage system. This will ensure that your stucco lasts as long as you wish it to, while still being the cheapest siding option on the market.