HomeownerHelpful Info: Home Maintenance

Stucco Repair

Stucco Repair Educational Content

Both stucco and traditional siding insulate your home and protect it from the elements. Where you live often determines which types of exterior house cladding you are most familiar with. This is because each material’s popularity is heavily influenced by the climate and architectural style of a region. Stucco is a popular exterior finish for Mediterranean- and American southwest-style homes. It performs best in hot, dry climates.

Stucco is a type of plaster or cement mixed with a binder that adds insulating abilities. Stucco is naturally porous. This means that moderate amounts of moisture can pass through it without reaching the exterior walls of a house. However, stucco can only absorb so much water. In areas with frequent heavy rainfall, stucco isn’t a great choice.

Traditional or portland cement stucco is usually applied to a surface in three layers. This amounts to a scratch coat, a base coat, and a colored or finish coat. The first layer can go directly on a concrete or masonry wall. If the wall is another material or if it has been painted, metal lath must be installed first. Once the stucco dries, the installers repeat the process of applying the stucco and allowing it to set. Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS) is another form of stucco. It’s sometimes referred to as synthetic stucco. EIFS is made of a layer of polystyrene insulation board covered with one finish layer of stucco. The first layer of EIFS is glued and/or mechanically fastened to the exterior wall. Portland cement stucco is most often installed on homes with masonry or concrete walls. EIFS is the more popular choice for homes with wood framing.

EIFS is easier and less time consuming to install than traditional stucco. It is also less susceptible to fading and cracking. EIFS also provides significantly better insulation than traditional stucco. Early versions of EIFS didn’t do a great job of protecting homes from moisture damage. Fortunately, today’s EIFS repels moisture just as efficiently as traditional stucco.

Stucco can crack for a variety of reasons, including weather extremes and foundation settling. A crack can usually be sealed and covered with new stucco. Stucco’s texture, however, makes it hard to fill cracks seamlessly. Natural fading over time often means that a repaired section is a slightly different color from the rest of the house. Have major cracks investigated. The cause of the cracks needs to be fixed to keep your house protected from moisture damage.