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How Much Does It Cost To Install Stucco Siding?

Typical Range: $1,743 - $6,307

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On This Page:

  1. Typical Cost to Stucco a House
  2. Pros & Cons of Stucco
  3. Maintaining Your Home's Stucco Siding
  4. Stucco Repair
  5. A Note on Synthetic Stucco
  6. Conclusion

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National Average
$3,993
Typical Range
$1,743 - $6,307
Low End - High End
$800 - $13,000

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 359 HomeAdvisor members in .

Stucco has been around for thousands of years. Early stucco was made of lime, sand, and animal or plant fibers. The ancient Greeks and Romans incorporated volcanic ash into their mixtures, strengthening it. This “traditional” stucco was very hard, but also very brittle. It could break easily by hand. Stucco is found all around the world dating back several centuries, many examples of which are still standing.

Stucco has been used in everything from siding to art and architecture. It can be made into any shape desired and has been used for curved ceilings, frescoes, and has even been mentioned by Michelangelo several times in his notes. Stucco artwork has been found in places as diverse as Palenque and the Acropolis.

Modern stucco is harder than the traditional material and doesn’t break as easily. This is due to the incorporation of Portland cement into the mixture in the mid-1800s. The strength of modern stucco makes it appropriate for siding material. It is very popular for Spanish-style homes, and its one-hour fire rating makes it ideal for multi-family housing.

In the US, most stucco homes are found in California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Florida. Not only does it resemble the historical adobe of the region, it withstands the warmer temperatures as well.

Typical Cost to Stucco a House

Stucco is applied in three coats. The first is a “scratch coat”, applied to give the second, heavier coat something to stick to. The second coat is called the “brown coat” or “levelling coat”. It smooths the surface over which the third “finishing coat” will be applied.

Stucco generally costs $6.00 to $9.00 per square foot to install. The materials cost about $9.00 for an 80-pound bag of mix, which will cover about 25 square feet at 3/8” thickness. Finishing coat stucco costs $17.00 to $22.00 per bag, but as the finishing coat is thinner, you will need fewer bags. The coverage of the bag depends on the manufacturer, so check this specification carefully. For 1,000 square feet, you should need 80 to 90 bags for the first and second coats, and 15 to 25 bags for the finishing coat.

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Installation Considerations & Cost Factors

If you are installing siding on an existing home, the old siding must be removed and disposed of. The site must also be prepped and primed. This can add at least another day to your schedule and another $400.00 to your budget.

Labor rates vary from region to region, but in general you can expect a cost of $40.00 to $50.00 per hour for labor. 1,000 square feet of stucco should take 3 to 5 days to complete.

When installing stucco, it needs a surface to adhere to. After a house has received its weather wrapping, a wire mesh is often installed over it. This wire mesh gives the base coat something to grab onto. This coat is called the “scratch coat” because it’s scratched with shallow grooves, all going in the same direction. (Cross-hatching these scratches will weaken the base coat.)

The second coat, called the “levelling coat”, adheres to the scratches. This coat levels the surface and defines the shape of the surface. The third coat is the finishing coat and is where the surface receives its texturing. Stucco can be smooth or heavily textured.

When prepping your house for stucco, remember that it is ideally applied on an overcast day with temperatures between 50 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. If temperatures are expected to be below 40 or above 90 in the following week, you should delay the job so that the material can set and cure properly.

Stucco is naturally tan or grey, but it can be painted or colored in the mix. If you paint it, wait about six weeks to allow the bare stucco time to dry and set before painting. Because it normally has a rough texture, spraying is better than rolling and is often faster. The cost of painting depends on paint brand, thickness of the coat, and the type of paint. For stucco, flat, acrylic exterior is best. On average it costs $20.00 to $40.00 per gallon. Some can cover up to 350 square feet per gallon.

Need a siding professional to install your stucco? Hire one today.

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Pros and Cons of Stucco

Pros

  • Stucco has excellent insulation qualities.
  • It has great sound-deadening qualities, making it ideal for noisy environments.
  • The material can hold up for an hour in case of fire and has saved many homes from destruction.
  • Stucco installs easily. Though it goes on in several coats, it often takes only a day or two for some smaller projects.
  • Although most jobs have a 15-year warranty, stucco itself can last 50 years or longer.

Cons

  • Stucco is more expensive than many other forms of siding.
  • It doesn’t do well in areas of heavy rain or where the ground or foundation is prone to shifting.
  • If you have to re-stucco your home, it will need to be sandblasted to remove any paint so that the new coat of stucco can adhere.

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Maintenance

Stucco needs to be washed periodically. A high pressure garden hose is recommended to avoid the potential damage of high-powered pressure washing. Start at the bottom and spray your way to the top, then rinse back down again.

As you clean each wall, inspect it for cracks or holes. Moisture that gets behind your stucco can damage your interior walls and cause mold. It can also weaken the stucco exterior and create more cracking and even dangerous situations.

When painting stucco, avoid glossy paint. Flat finishes work best. Use an acrylic-based paint designed for exteriors. This will help with waterproofing and can withstand the weather better than any other commonly-available paint.

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Re-stuccoing Your Home

If you need to re-stucco a large section or even your entire home, any paint will need to be stripped off before the new coat can be applied. This is done with a sand-blaster. After sand-blasting the area, a quick rinse should remove any blasting media from the house. Let it dry thoroughly (about 48 hours) and then apply the new coat.

If your stucco has the color mixed into it instead of being painted, you can use a broom to whisk it free of debris. If you have a power washer, you can use it here, keeping it about 2 feet away and using a broad pattern. Spray the wall with wide, sweeping motions. After it dries, you can apply a fresh coat of stucco.

For best results and to save you some hassle, contact a siding professional today.

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Stucco Siding Repairs

Though you can spot cracks and holes easily enough, there is some damage you might not be able to spot so easily. “Stucco tears” form when the stucco around openings such as windows isn’t sealed right. Moisture gets in and the wood behind the stucco rots. Staining under the opening looks like it’s crying (hence the name), and by this time major repairs are needed which can easily reach $200,000.00. It’s worth the extra $500.00 to $1,000.00 to have a moisture intrusion test done before buying a stucco home.

The good news is that most stucco repairs are fairly easy DIY projects. Most homeowners can make these repairs themselves.

When dealing with cracks, look to see if it’s vertical or horizontal. A vertical crack indicates a shifting foundation. If you see vertical cracks, you need to call a foundation expert for an inspection. This costs anywhere from $350.00 to $1,000.00 depending on how accessible the entire foundation is.

If the cracks are horizontal, you can patch them. A small crack can be filled in with caulk that can be painted over and hidden easily. Larger cracks need to be cleaned out with a screwdriver or chisel. It should be soaked to make sure it doesn’t suck water out of the patch material. A masonry bonding agent will help your patch to stick. Press bitumen-coated fiberglass into the crack. After it dries, apply a second coat and texture it to match your wall, painting it after that second coat dries.

Stucco patch is available pre-mixed for $13.00 to $20.00.

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A Note on Synthetic Stucco

Synthetic stucco is very waterproof, and this is actually its downfall. While it provides excellent protection against moisture, it also means that it doesn’t breathe. Though the chemicals involved in making synthetic stucco (also known as EIFS, or exterior insulation finishing system) make for richer colors, they also trap moisture that gets in.

EIFS works best on a solid wall, something that most homes don’t have. When openings such as windows and doors are present, moisture gets trapped inside and causes rot, mold, and other serious damage. The only way to avoid this problem is to have it installed by highly trained, and thus highly expensive, crews.

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In Conclusion

Stucco has a very long history of use as siding for buildings as well as a medium for art. Fairly easy to install and good for decades, its higher than average cost is compensated for by its longevity.

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