According to "The Dictionary of Architecture and Construction" stucco is:
1. An exterior finish, usually textured; composed of portland cement, lime, and sand, which are mixed with water.
2. A fine plaster used for decorative work or moldings.
3. Simulated stucco containing other materials, such as epoxy as a binder.
4. A partially or fully calcined gypsum that has not yet been processed into a finished product.
It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, and as a sculptural and artistic material in architecture.
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Stucco has been used on homes for generations because it is one of the most durable types of exterior siding. It can last for 50 years and is easily cared for. You spread stucco with a trowel over the exterior of the home that creates limitless possibilities in design and decorations. Stucco is currently available in two different, and distinct types.
Cement Mix Stucco
This type of stucco is very durable and can hold up to pretty harsh environments. While it is porous, this type of stucco dries quickly without any water damage.
It’s called “hard coat" systems and have a base coat of cement that is applied before the finish coat is applied (in most cases).
These can range in depth, depending on a few different factors like which stucco system you are using (three coat or one coat/two coat system), what substrate you are going over, etc. The general thickness for base coats can be from 3/8" - 7/8" typically.
2. Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems
EIFS is not cement based at all. This consists mainly of a foam insulated board covered with a special finish that resembles stucco.
EIFS assemblies are designed to keep water on the outside of the building, whereas a hard coat stucco system will absorb water and it will leave the system through evaporation and/or through the weep screed.
Depending on your location, either one of these types of stucco finished could be the perfect exterior siding for your home.
“It's always wise to have a professional inspection before purchasing a stucco-sided home”.
Resources and Further Reading
Dictionary of Architecture and Construction, Cyril M. Harris, ed., McGraw- Hill, 1975, pp. 482-483
BW Earp Lath & Plaster. “Stucco Articles.” Different Types of Stucco Explained | BW Earp Stucco Articles for Albuquerque and Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2010, bwearp.com/albuquerque-stucco/different-types-of-stucco-explained.htm.
The Stucco Guy. “What Are The Different Types Of Stucco? – Everything You Need To Know!” The Stucco Guy - Info On Repair, Contractors, DIY, Textures, Colors And More, 8 May 2018, thestuccoguy.com/different-types-of-stucco/.