18 Different Types of Stucco Siding for Home Exteriors

Get to know the different types of stucco siding for home exteriors that are perfect for those located in dry, sunny climates. Consider stucco if you want a seamless appearance for your home.
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Landscaping and exterior view of a home with white stucco.

Stucco is made up of Portland cement, lime, sand, water, and additives applied in several layers over wood or metal lath. There are numerous benefits for choosing stucco as siding for home exteriors including noise-reduction, energy-efficiency, low maintenance, longevity, and versatility.

Stucco type of siding is also easy to install, fire-retardant, and resists rot, mildew, and molds. It’s an excellent option especially for a modern and southwestern style of homes since it draws attention to the home’s architectural details.

While it’s suited in dry, sunny climates, a stucco home is not your best option when you’re located in extremely rainy areas or areas prone to earthquakes. It can repel water only at a certain point and can be somewhat brittle. The upfront cost of a stucco exterior is also very expensive compared to other options.

Type

Traditional

Luxury home with white stucco exterior.

The most common way to install stucco is by installing the mixture over a layer of mesh that is wrapped around the house. A concrete mixture is made from a number of different aggregates. Traditionally, stucco was composed of water, sand, and lime. While stucco used to have a number of different materials added to it to try to increase its strength and durability, such as plant fibers and even animal fibers, the main ingredient in stucco now is Portland cement.

By adding this cement, it’s easy to create a stucco that is incredibly durable. Modern stucco is a mixture of water, sand, and Portland cement. Sometimes modern stucco has lime added to it to make the stucco easier to work with and more permeable. It is also popular to add glass fibers and acrylics to the stucco to ensure that the material is as strong as possible.

While traditional lime stucco was very hard, it was still possible to chip it without much trouble. Additionally, the lime made the stucco white, while any aggregates or additional pigments mixed into the stucco could change the color. Portland cement stucco, on the other hand, is incredibly hard, but if it is not applied to a stable mesh base, then it can easily crack.

This stucco has a traditional gray color, which is the color of the majority of Portland cement that is used. It is possible to find some white Portland cement; however, modern homes can be completed with stucco that has a wide variety of color choices. It’s also possible to have aggregates like glass chips and stone “dashed” onto the last coat of the stucco before it dries.

This type of stucco is great because it is incredibly versatile, as you can smooth or roughen up the finish and even add stones and other aggregates to the stucco for a unique look. It is also very resistant to fire and will help to protect a home if a fire does break out. When applied correctly, stucco can last for up to 50 years before it has to be replaced, and it is a very affordable type of siding.

Stucco does a great job of insulating the home from both temperature swings and loud noises. Unfortunately, very damp environments are not ideal for stucco, as the material can actually become oversaturated, causing the other building materials and wood to get wet. Additionally, if the home should shift, then the stucco can crack, requiring major repairs.

Synthetic

Suburban home with adobe siding.

Synthetic stucco is made from a mixture of acrylic resins, and the final mix is actually similar to paint. You can add aggregates to the synthetic stucco so that it mimics the appearance of traditional stucco without some of the problems that this material has. By using different sizes of sand and other aggregates, the synthetic stucco can actually perfectly mimic traditional stucco in appearance. If a traditional stucco home is not painted, then it is fairly easy to tell that it is made from traditional stucco and not the synthetic option, while when the two homes are painted, it is almost impossible to tell them apart.

Synthetic stucco doesn’t use any cement or lime in the material and is based on natural materials. It uses acrylic resin as the base. There are a number of benefits that synthetic stucco has over traditional stucco, which makes it a great option for some homeowners. Not only will synthetic stucco prevent water damage from occurring at the home by stopping water from entering the house through the exterior wall, but even when there is a lot of water outside, synthetic stucco will remain water resistant or waterproof.

Unfortunately, if water does find a way in, such as around a window or a door, then the synthetic stucco will hold the moisture. Manufacturers have made huge advances in dealing with this problem, and synthetic stucco now is much better at releasing water once it has gotten into the material, and it doesn’t hold onto it as much.

While traditional stucco tends to dry unevenly, synthetic stucco dries much more evenly, just as paint does. Unlike traditional stucco, which has to be applied over a mesh, synthetic stucco is applied over a foam board. The resin in the stucco has a lot more movement to it, which means that the stucco is much less likely to crack or to break.

A lot of movements, such as an earthquake, or a house that continues to settle, will likely cause some cracks to form. Because synthetic stucco is so easy to install, can be used to create dark colors on the home with a very little problem, and does a great job mimicking the appearance of traditional stucco. Homeowners are often willing to pay the higher price tag for this siding option.

Finish

Float or Sand

Float or Sand Stucco Texture

This basic type of finish is most commonly used on commercial buildings, but it can easily be used on a residential home, as well, if desired. This versatile finish is possible when using both synthetic and traditional stucco and can easily be applied in just one coat, making it a great choice for people who want to finish the job quickly. While it is generally applied using a trowel, it can be sprayed on, and then a trowel can be used to flatten the stucco and make sure that it is nice and tight to the home.

It is available in coarse, fine, and medium finishes, and as long as the paint matches and the person takes time to correctly feather the edges, this finish is very easy to patch. This makes it ideal if there are concerns over whether or not the stucco may be damaged and whether it can be easily patched.

Dash

Dash Stucco Texture

This type of finish is actually sprayed onto the home, and homeowners have to decide if they want it to be heavy, medium, or light in volume. This means that homeowners will have a lot of leeway in how their home looks when the stucco is applied. It is a very unique look, and usually requires either two or three coats of stucco to ensure that the final look is uniform.

Whether you get a fine or heavy finish will depend not only on the type of material that is used for the stucco, but also the person doing the work. You can easily use both traditional or synthetic stucco for this finish, and since it can be easily patched, it’s a great option for homeowners who are worried about their stucco cracking or breaking. The problem that some homeowners have with this finish is that it tends to be rough when it has finished drying, and some people do not like the way that it feels.

Worm Finish

Wall exterior of a home with stucco worm finish.

This is also called a “swirl” or a “putz’ finish, and while it was a very popular stucco finish in the past, it is not very often used on homes anymore. This type of finish has big pieces of aggregate in the stucco, so when the trowel is pulled across the surface, it causes the aggregates to move and leave indentations behind them in the stucco. Every part of a home that has this type of stucco finish will look different, as it can be very difficult to control exactly how the aggregates are going to move when they are pulled through the stucco.

Generally, a synthetic stucco is used to create this finish. By mixing in aggregates of different sizes, professionals can produce a course, fine, or medium pattern in the stucco. This type of finish is very difficult to apply and needs to be done by a professional. Additionally, it is very hard to repair this type of stucco finish, which means that patches will generally stand out and be very obvious.

Lace and Skip

When most people picture a stucco home in their mind, they are thinking of this type of finish. This is a great finish for both residential or commercial use, and due to the way that stucco is applied and the rough surface, it is a great way to hide any imperfections in the home. Because there are so many variations of this texture, it’s easy for homeowners to choose a finish that will not only improve the appearance of their home, but it will be one that they really like.

No matter what variation you choose, the application process is the same. While you can use synthetic stucco for a lace and skip finish, it will not have the same depth that you get with traditional stucco. The stucco is either applied totally by hand or sprayed on and then flattened afterward with a trowel. First, a base coat is applied, and then the texture is later added. It’s easy to opt for a coarse, medium, or fine pattern with this type of stucco finish.

English

While this type of finish is much less common than others that are available, it is a great option. It is traditionally found only on older buildings, but it is available for new construction, as well. Generally, this finish uses traditional stucco, not synthetic. The variations are going to be different from home to home, and this type of finish is generally much easier to patch and to repair than some other types of finishes.

If you want to apply stucco to your home and have a finish that will make your home look a little bit older, then this is a great option to consider, since it is traditionally used on older homes.

Smooth Texture

Stucco Smooth Texture

While this type of finish is much more difficult to achieve than other types, it is becoming more and more popular. People love it because you can add varying colors to the stucco if you want a mottled look on the building and one that you can easily customize it to fit perfectly with your design and style of home or office. While it is easier to apply this finish with a synthetic stucco, if you want to use traditional stucco, you can. It’s important to only use a fine cement finish if you want to use a traditional material.

Using fine materials will help to eliminate lines on the building, but medium synthetic stucco can also be used. The problem with this type of finish is not only that you have to hire a professional to complete it, so that you don’t have to worry about lines and the appearance of aggregates, but that it is difficult to patch. Once this finish cracks, which is very common, it is very hard to patch it correctly without there being an obvious line on the exterior wall of your home.

Cat Face

This type of finish for your exterior stucco is very easily identified, as there are very large smooth areas with smaller rough patches scattered evenly around. These rough areas are called “inclusions,” and they can vary in their size, how often they appear in the finish, and the shape of the patch. This type of finish is great for use with both traditional and synthetic stucco, which means that any homeowner can opt to have it on their home.

It’s easy to have a cat face finish that looks completely different from any that a neighbor has, just by changing the appearance of the inclusions. You have to use two coats of finish to achieve this look, and while it can be sprayed or troweled on, the final touches are always done by hand. If you want to have a cat face finish on your home, then you will need to use a medium or fine stucco.

Santa Barbara

Made from traditional stucco, this finish uses very small sand particles so that you have a specific finished look. The idea behind this type of stucco finish is to have a home that looks like an old adobe home and has an irregular finish. Because a cement stucco is used, it is normal to have some color variations in this type of finish.

If you do not like the way that the variations look, then it is very easy to paint the exterior walls later to ensure that the home looks much more uniform. Another option to ensure that your exterior walls are uniform is to fog coat the walls when they are dried. This type of stucco finish is very smooth once it is dried, which means that it is hard to patch and to apply without it being full of visible lines.

Application

Three-Coat

The original process to stucco a home consists of a number of different materials that are going to be needed to finish the home properly. The three-coat process consists of using wire and paper, the scratch coat, the brown coat, and a finish coat. The finish coat is not normally considered a step in the process because it will be needed no matter what application is used for the stucco. Over a water-resistant barrier on the side of the home, a paper that is infused with asphalt is applied.

Then furred chicken wire is applied over the top of that, sticking out from the home a bit so that the stucco can be applied. The scratch, or base layer, is applied. This is a mixture of Portland cement, water, sand, and lime, and there are horizontal lines scratched into the surface. Finally, the brown coat is applied with a long trowel to ensure that the cement goes on evenly.

Later the finish coat is applied, and this is when the stucco can be applied in a number of textures and colors so that the home doesn’t have to be painted at a later time.

When you use the three-coat process, you will enjoy a more durable and a stronger stucco finish. This is able to hold up to wear and damage much better due to how thick and durable it is. Unfortunately, it is a very long process, and it can take weeks to complete. Additionally, the amount of materials and the labor involved in applying this type of stucco makes it much more expensive.

One-Coat

If you want to speed up the process of having stucco applied to your home, then you will want to consider using synthetic stucco, as this material can be applied in a single application. The scratch and the brown coat part of the process are combined, which means that you don’t have to spend nearly as much time working on your application.

While called “one coat,” this process actually has a full coat applied and then the finish applied over the top. When it was originally introduced, the colored coat was mixed into the stucco blend and applied all at once. Unfortunately, the result was an uneven color and a finish that wasn’t as clean and professional as it should have been.

This type of application is very popular because it is so much faster and less expensive than the traditional three-coat method. This means that the job can take about half of the time, cost less in labor, and will cost less over the life of the product. Unfortunately, the thinner depth of stucco applied via the one-coat process means that it is more likely to be damaged.

Common Colors

White

White finish coat stucco


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This color is becoming more and more popular as people realize how fresh and modern a white stucco house can look. There are a number of different shades of white that you can choose for your home, and since you can combine it with other colors, it’s easy to create a custom marbled look on your home. Many people opt for white for their home’s exterior because it reminds them of the beautiful homes in Greece. Large homes and smaller bungalows look great when finished with a white stucco.

Yellow

Yellow stucco finish

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Yellow comes in many different shades, making it easy to find one that will work best for your home, no matter whether you want a more subdued color that will blend in with other homes in the neighborhood or are interested in a cheerfully colored home. Because yellow comes in so many shades, it’s fun to consider which one will make your home pop. Yellow houses, just as white ones, feel a little more tropical and may make you feel like you are on a vacation.

Neutral Colors

Neutral stucco finish

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Browns, tans, and grays are all great stucco colors if you want something a little more neutral. These colors can give the appearance of a home that will blend in with the woods, but a larger home in a neutral color can still be a very commanding and impressive looking home. When you choose a neutral color for the stucco on your home, then you need to make sure that the roof will match. You do not want to opt for a neutral stucco and then have a more flamboyant roof, as this can look out of place.

Pink

While this color stucco isn’t the most popular one that you will see driving around neighborhoods, when done correctly and with the right shade of pink, it’s a very interesting color that will draw attention to your home. Homes with great architectural interest will look especially great with pink stucco, as the bright color will help some of the architectural points really pop and become more visible.

Green

Green stucco finish

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This color is actually very earthy and neutral, especially when you opt for deeper or mossy shades of green instead of bright lime colors. Green can look great when used with highlights, and it will act as a great neutral color, allowing the architecture of your home to really shine. Consider using green stucco with white or a lightly-stained wood as the pops of color.

Two-Tone

If you want something that is really custom to your home, then consider using two different colors of stucco. This does take more time to install correctly on your home since the stucco has to be correctly applied and tapered where the colors will come together, but this is a very attractive look, especially when used on larger homes with more than one floor or an area that you want to highlight.







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