Home Sidings Basics, Application, Pros and Cons – Forbes Advisor

Basics, Application, Pros and Cons – Forbes Advisor


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The outermost layer of a house is what we call the siding or siding. There are many types of home siding, including fiber cement board, vinyl siding, and custom house siding. But another form of siding, used on homes for centuries, is called stucco.

Once a definitive feature of Spanish and Mediterranean architecture, stucco is now used in homes across the country. The wacky resilience and refined application techniques of stucco make it ideal for homes of different climates and styles.

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What is stucco?

Stucco is a cement-like mixture made up of Portland cement, lime, sand and water. This is a thin topcoat that is applied to the outermost layer of residential and commercial construction.

Modern stucco contains polymers and other agents for increased flexibility which improves its resilience. Stucco is very durable, with most warranties extending up to 20 years.

There are three types of stucco systems to choose from:

Use a mixture of Portland cement, sand, fibers, chemicals and water. This method requires only one application and is typically applied over the rigid foam board and batten to provide a durable coating.

Use a traditional stucco mix, but it is used for concrete, brick and block walls. Instead of using a metal lathe, bonding adhesive is used on the wall before applying two coats of stucco.

Use a mixture of cement, sand, fiberglass, acrylic additives and water. This method uses three different coats, starting with an asphalt infused paper, a layer of fur mesh, and a base coat of stucco. Finally, a top coat is added to create the texture and choose the color.

The stucco application process

Unlike modern coatings, stucco requires a more professional application. As a rule, stucco is installed in layers, which makes it long and laborious – not for the average handyman.

The application process depends on the structure of the house, the stucco system used and the finish desired.

Usually, the stucco application process consists of several stages:

  1. Cover the exterior of the house with a vapor barrier
  2. Prepare the surface by plugging any cracks and brushing off any debris from the surface
  3. Secure a slat or thick wire mesh to the exterior of the house
  4. Apply the layers of stucco according to the preferred system
  5. Let the stucco harden
  6. Smooth or texture the topcoat

Benefits of stucco finish

Stucco is very attractive for many reasons. It is versatile, durable and easy to maintain.

Here are some of the benefits of choosing a stucco finish:

  • Fire and pest resistant:

Stucco can be applied to any surface, including wood and brick. A 1-inch stucco coating can provide an hour’s firewall resistance, which means it can keep fire from spreading from one side of the wall to the other for at least an hour. With forest fires ravaging communities and homes in recent years due to arid climates, stucco is becoming a popular siding option.

When it comes to color, texture, and type of application, no other home siding material offers the flexibility of stucco. It can be smooth, coarse, swirled, and even shaped into figures to add architectural detail.

Stucco can last well over 50 years with proper maintenance. It can expand and contract with weather conditions to sustain critical damage, unlike other coating options. It is also resistant to mold, rot and mildew.

  • Requires little maintenance:

Stucco is very easy to clean and maintain. Pressure washing of the exterior once a year is sufficient to prevent dirt build-up in the pores. Any small cracks can easily be repaired with paint or sealants to leave the finish looking like new.

  • Can reduce sound transmission and provide some isolation:

Through the stucco coating process, this creates a concrete wrap around the house that provides insulation and helps keep the house cool without the need for more energy. This same outer protective layer helps reduce sound transmission and keep street noise away from inside the home.

Disadvantages of stucco finish

While stucco has many factors in its favor, there are a few downsides to consider. The fragile nature of stucco makes it sensitive to movement of house foundations and it is not always the best choice for particular regions.

Here are some of the disadvantages of choosing a stucco finish:

Other types of coating can be replaced by changing the damaged part. For stucco, however, the damaged surface must be prepared and the stucco must be reapplied in the same manner as it was originally. To match color and texture, homeowners typically turn to repair services, which can be time consuming and expensive.

  • Requires professional installation:

Stucco is not easy to apply, even for the most ambitious DIYer. While there are DIY kits, these are generally intended for small spaces and projects.

While the stucco materials themselves are inexpensive, the need for professional services to complete the project can dramatically increase the price, compared to more DIY-friendly siding options.

Stucco can be brittle, especially in areas where the floor is likely to move. It can develop hairline cracks if the ground tends to move, especially in areas prone to earthquakes.

While stucco does a great job of repelling moisture, it is not recommended for areas with a lot of precipitation. Rainy environments can over-saturate the stucco, causing the underlying building materials to clog over time.

Stucco maintenance tips

To get the most out of stucco, remove dirt and debris that collects with a garden hose and a medium bristle brush at least once a year.

To protect it from mildew or efflorescence (a white coating that develops after prolonged exposure to moisture), mix one part chlorine-free bleach, white vinegar and three parts water. Apply directly to the stains with a sponge and rinse with a hose.

In short, stucco is a practical, efficient and versatile way to reinvent the exterior of your home. Consider the pros and cons of stucco to see if it is the right option for improving the curb appeal of your home.

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