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The Disadvantages of Stucco

Julie Williamson

Many homeowners choose stucco for the exterior of their homes. Stucco -- a mixture of cement, silica and lime -- offers durability, versatility of design and color, easy maintenance and breathability. Fire-retardant stucco also helps soundproof your home and maintain a constant internal temperature.

Stucco is popular exterior choice in climates that are warm and dry.

Before choosing stucco, consider its disadvantages.


Stucco costs more than some other types of home exteriors. Stucco is cheaper than brick or stone exteriors but costs more than vinyl or wood siding. While the materials themselves are relatively inexpensive, stucco is costly because of the application process. It requires several layers, so a large portion of your stucco budget is going to go to those you hire to apply it.


Stucco does not work well in wet climates. If water from rain or snow seeps inside the concrete-like shell through a joint or crack, the moisture could damage the wood frame underneath the stucco, causing the wood to rot. Although stucco is designed to be resistant to mold, a stucco house in a rainy climate could be susceptible to mold growth on the outside surfaces.


Stucco does not give. If your house shifts or settles on its foundation or if you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, the stucco could crack. If not repaired, cracks in the stucco could allow water to seep inside.


There are two types of stucco: natural, which is the type composed of silica, lime and cement, and synthetic. Synthetic stucco, or Exterior Insulation and Finish System, was designed to lower the cost of stucco and speed the installation. However, EIFS is not breathable, so if water gets underneath the stucco, it won't evaporate and could be more likely to cause water damage to the structural wood beneath.