What Is Stucco?

exterior stucco toronto

When it comes to covering the exterior walls of your home or building, you have many options. Stucco is one of the most common materials used to cover the outside of homes. When applied properly, stucco improves the visual aesthetics and increases the resale value of your home. It also protects your home from many natural hazards.

What is Stucco?

Stucco is an inexpensive coating applied to the exterior of homes. It is made of natural materials. When applied properly and maintained, stucco can last for years, giving the outside of your home an attractive coating. There are two different types of stucco:

  • Traditional stucco
  • Modern/contemporary stucco

What is stucco used for?

amazing custom home with stone siding and stucco by exterior by design

Stucco is a commonly used substance that is applied to the exterior or interior surface of buildings. This type of material offers a host of benefits which include being rot and fungus resistant, low maintenance and affordable. In fact, due to its low cost and durability it has become a favoured material for many construction projects.

Stucco installation can either be done manually or using a machine by a stucco contractor. It is most commonly used on concrete walls or some other type of building structure. It provides a durable finish and can be used in various types of climates. Since it can be applied to concrete, brick, or a steel or wood frame, it seems like you just can’t go wrong with stucco. Apply it on just about anything for an impressive finish.

Stucco complements both traditional and modern buildings and can be tailored to suit any building by choosing the right stucco texture to create the desired look.

How is Stucco Made

Stucco forms when Portland cement materials, sand and water that are mixed together to create a plaster. It is very versatile and there are many types of Stucco that are formed out of varying raw materials. There are different types of stucco.

toronto modern stucco finish

Traditional Stucco

To form traditional stucco, lime is often used instead of Portland cement. Another benefit of stucco is that it is convenient and very easy to use. The mixture is usually combined on site and ready to apply within minutes.

Adjusting the amounts of raw materials in your stucco mixture will achieve a different texture and enhances certain properties of stucco. Cement makes stucco more durable. While adding more lime makes the mixture easier to mold. Other materials like glass fibers and acrylics can be added to traditional stucco to make it even more durable.

Playing around with the mixture doesn’t always yield positive results. For example, sometimes pure cement stucco is used but this can form a very hard plaster, making it a little more difficult to work with. Another disadvantage of adding pure cement is that it can cause the stucco to crack if a stable stucco mesh base, also called stucco lath, is not applied. When stucco installation is done correctly, it can last up to 50 years.

upper stucco

Synthetic Stucco

The difference between synthetic (also known as acrylic stucco) and traditional stucco is that cement and lime are not used in synthetic stucco. Instead acrylic resin is used and adds a water resistance quality to the mixture. One of the other benefits of synthetic stucco is that it dries evenly and very quickly. It also makes the stucco flexible and less prone to cracking.

When it comes to stucco finishes, the options are simply endless. A few of the popular choices include:

  • Sand finish
  • Lace finish
  • Combed finish
  • Freestyle finish

Stucco Thickness

PUCCS EUFS stucco for Residential and low rise

The appropriate thickness of Stucco is determined by what materials are present in the mixture and whether lath has been used. Lath should always be used over frame construction and is sometimes used over solid substrates which include concrete masonry, cast-in-place concrete and precast concrete. Whenever lath is used, it is best to apply three coats of stucco plaster for a total plaster thickness of about 7/8 inch.

If you won’t be using a metal lath but plan on applying three coats, 5/8 inch is the right thickness. The only time a two-coat application is used is over solid plaster bases without metal lath. The thickness for unit masonry is ½ inch; for cast-in-place or precast concrete, the thickness for two-coat application is 3/8 inch.

How to Clean Stucco

As mentioned before, stucco is a low-maintenance finish. This is one of the reasons homeowners love it. You can keep the stucco surrounding your home free of mould, mildew and algae by using a simple remedy of liquid dish soap and water periodically. This gentle cleaning is very important in keeping your stucco looking great.

men cleaning street with water pressure

If you notice mould, mildew or algae on white stucco wall, you can use bleach to clean off the stains. Make a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub away the spots. Remember bleach should only be used on white stucco.

Another reason why regular cleaning is recommended is to reduce the need for heavy duty cleaning that can cause damage to the plaster.

Painting stucco to conceal dirt or stains may seem like a good remedy but it is not.

Another great solution to use to clean stucco is Trisodium Phosphate solution (TSP). It is available in most hardware stores. To clean you stucco wall using TSP, follow the steps below:

  • Attach a jet nozzle to your hose, making sure that you set it on the gentle water pressure. Then spray down the area on the wall you plan to clean and wet it from the bottom to the top. Make sure you stand back as far as possible to maintain the lowest pressure possible against the plaster.
  • Make a paste from mixing TSP and water. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to form the paste. The use a soft-bristle brush to scrub away stains on the stucco.
  • Rinse the walls off thoroughly using the hose from top to bottom.

Stucco Process

The three-coat system consists of using paper and stucco wire (lath) and applying several layers of stucco mix – a scratch coat, a brown coat and a top coat.

The lath used in this process is made out of asphalt infused paper, metal wire and some other materials like weep screed and plaster stop.

First, the weep screed and plaster stop should be placed appropriately on the wall. Weep screed prevents plywood from absorbing moisture from water that may splash onto the wall. The paper is needed if the stucco is being applied to a wall made out of wood.

Next, the stucco wire is placed and the scratch coat is applied, followed by the brown coat and the top coat.

Benefits of Stucco

Like other exterior coatings, there are many pros and cons to using stucco on your home’s exterior. Consulting with a professional installer can help address your questions and concerns.

Many homeowners in recent years have increased their interest in exterior stucco, and that is because of how practical it is. The benefits of stucco include:

Pros of Using Stucco:

Visually appealing
Durable and
Weather resistant
Fire resistant
Cost effective
Wide range of available colours and textures
Can be applied to masonry brick, cement, wood, steel, cinder blocks, clay bricks, and adobe
Can be painted after it is applied
white stucco exterior of a house

One of the reasons stucco is popular is because it is an inexpensive product that can be applied to almost any surface. The versatility of the compound makes it coat all areas of your home without a lot of excess work or materials. Once applied stucco can last for years.

Stucco is also an easy material to colour. Pigmentations can be added to the mixture before it is applied to your home so you can create the colour of your choice. It can also be painted after it is applied to your exterior walls so you can change the colour of your home fairly easily.

stucco designed exterior

This gives homeowners the opportunity to customize their home by adding their personal touch to the exterior surface.

Adding to the curb appeal and individuality, stucco also comes in different textures so, once applied, you can create an outdoor look that is unique.

Stucco is a durable product that protects your home. Once applied, the stucco coating will shield your home from many natural elements like cold, rain, winds, and other weather conditions. It is also resistant to fire and heat, keeping the interior of your home safe.

Stucco Cons:

Stucco is porous
It is not good in humid, wet areas
Crumbles easily in wet environments
Is a challenging material to fix
Requires more maintenance in wet, snowy, cold regions
Repairs can be expensive
If not applied correctly, stucco can bulge, crack or separate

Stucco is considered one of the most popular materials used in home exteriors nowadays. Compared to other materials, stucco is one people usually prefer due to the numerous benefits that make it the most practical and convenient option available. So, if you are interested in exterior house finishing, siding, or restoration, stucco might be exactly what you are looking for.

classic look on exterior home with stucco decor
  • Durability and sturdiness
  • Easy to customize and design
  • Inexpensive to install
  • Easy to maintain in the long run
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Resistant to changes in climate and temperature

With exterior stucco, you can rest assured that your house will end up in an excellent condition for reasonable pricing. In addition, you can be confident that your home is in good hands when you choose Exterior by Design because your peace of mind is our main priority.

stucco durability

One of the biggest drawbacks is that it is not effective in all climates. If you live in a very wet area, stucco is not the best option. Because it is porous, the moisture breaks down stucco so it crumbles easily.

When applied properly, stucco looks great. However, as easy as it looks to put on your outer walls, there are things you need to do to make sure it is properly applied. If stucco is not put on properly, it will crack, bulge, and separate from your walls.

Classic stucco exterior

Although stucco is a cost effective material to use, repairing stucco can be quite expensive. The more you have to fix, the higher your maintenance costs will be. Poorly applied stucco can be challenging and pricey to correct. If you do not know what you are doing, it is always better to hire a professional to do the job.

Stucco, like other outdoor facades, requires regular maintenance. Over time, the stucco surface will crack, break, or crumble off your home’s exterior. Exposed areas are vulnerable to weather and critter damage. Open spots can create opportunities for moisture, insects, rodents, and other natural hazards to enter your home.

in progress of exterior stucco

Poorly maintained stucco also loses its visual appeal once too much damage becomes visible. If there are highly visible cracks or bald spots on your home’s exterior, this will take away from the aesthetic look of your home. Regular maintenance is important to keep the outside of your home looking nice.

Is Stucco Durable?

Stucco is an important material for any home, made from Portland cement, sand and water, it creates a durable exterior plaster for your home. With an extremely strong nature, stucco is most often found on the outside of a home to maintain the integrity of your home while keeping Toronto’s changing weather in mind without sacrificing contemporary beauty.

Is Stucco a Good Insulator of a Home?

amazing custom home with stone siding and exterior stucco

Stucco is able to keep up with the temperature you feel is best within your home for the needs that each season brings to Toronto.

Keeping Warm in the Winter & Cool in the Summer: Stucco has higher installation rates than almost all outdoor exteriors for the home due to its mix of unique and durable materials that no other exterior finish can compete with.

With being waterproof and heat resistant, stucco keeps unwanted temperatures where they belong: outside. During the cold winters expect to stay warm with top quality R-Value Stucco while keeping temperatures cool within your home on the hottest of days.

Is Stucco Heat Resistant?

amazing custom house with stucco and stone siding

Stucco will not get in the way of your hydro bills as it is not only heat resistant, but fire resistant as well, all in all creating a safer environment for you and your family.

Withstanding the Heat: Stucco is the most energy efficient and cost-effective form of siding for your home, through longevity, stucco installation ultimately pays for itself. Exterior stucco can last up to fifty years because of the great quality of endurance it holds through the ability to expand and contract to temperature changes.

This is extremely beneficial for Torontonians due to the toll that fluctuating temperatures have proven to take on our homes every season.

How Effective is Waterproof Stucco?

classic exterior look of custom home with stucco

As long as your Toronto home is properly built for waterproofing, water, mold, and mildew are no match for exterior stucco.
No Decay with Stucco: Due to Stucco’s great resistance to water because of the hard exterior it withholds, stucco is both unaffected by any form of dampening or rotting.

Stucco is a high-quality exterior shield for your home as it creates a barrier immune to flaking, crumbling, and even humid climates for those extremely hot summers.
Anywhere within Toronto and we will be there! Call exterior by Design for a free estimate at (647) 222-1818.

How Much Value Does Exterior Stucco Add to Your house?

exterior renovation and side stone

One of the great benefits of stucco is how affordable it is, which makes it a terrific way to add value to your property. If we assume your exterior stucco expenses add up to an estimate of $3,000, we could also assume that your house will gain double the amount in added value, almost up to $7,000. Because stucco’s popularity has significantly grown in recent years, it has become an asset in a house’s exterior. In addition, considering how cheap stucco is to install compared to other materials, it is definitely a bang for the buck!

It is quite clear that exterior stucco for your house is a fantastic investment.

All across the GTA, Exterior by Design has helped people get the house of their dreams for competitive pricing unlike anywhere else. With our 25-year warranty and a $5 million liability insurance, you are definitely getting your money’s worth.

Examining Your Home’s Exterior

Exterior stucco is an increasingly popular choice for homeowners in the Toronto area. And for good reason. With exterior stucco’s wide range of unique designs and textures, its durability, and its weather-resisting attributes, it brings beauty and character to homes in Oakville, Mississauga, Toronto, and Etobicoke that lasts for decades. Like any large home renovation project, applying exterior stucco to your home takes forethought, planning, and an expert stucco contractor. Before embarking on this time-consuming and costly project, any stucco contractor worth their salt will begin by undertaking a thorough examination of your home’s exterior. Every house is constructed differently and has hidden quirks and peculiarities that will affect how the stucco should be applied. These are a few of the things stucco contractors will look at before they begin work on your home.

What Features Will a Stucco Contractor Examine Before Starting Work on Your Home?

1.Wall Material

The stucco installation process greatly depends on the type of walls it will be applied to. While wooden walls require the installation of roofing felt along with fiberglass mesh netting, cinderblock, concrete, or brick walls need to be painted with a binding compound first in order for the stucco to stick.

2.Cleanliness

Before applying stucco to already existing concrete, brick, or other types of siding, the surface must be completely clean and free of all dust, debris, or dirt that naturally builds up over time.

3.Cracks and Breaks

Damage to the existing structure of your home needs to be fixed before stucco can be installed. Stucco contractors look for cracks or breaks in your home’s exterior that could allow water to seep in and compromise its structural integrity. Even hairline cracks or fissures could permit water to leak between the internal walls and the exterior stucco, causing mould and mildew to grow between the layers, which could potentially cause extensive damage to your home.

4.Doors, Windows, and Roofs

The majority of water damage to stucco is the result of leakage and moisture issues with windows, doors, and roofs and is not due to the quality of the exterior stucco itself. Roofs with wide overhangs better protect homes from moisture damage, while the roof rakes that intersect walls need kick-out flashing that will protect the wall from any water that drips from the roof. Windows and doors need pan flashing at sills and Z-flashing with end dams at heads. Stucco contractors will integrate these window and door flashings with a water-resistant barrier to prevent moisture from building up between the stucco and your home’s core structure.

5.Current Hardware

Your home’s current siding needs to be removed prior to installation. The stucco contractor will inspect and replace studs, headers, framing members, and soffits as needed along with old or damaged sheathing and insulation.

6.Potential for Property Damage

Stucco contractors aim to eliminate the possibility of damaging either your interior or your exterior during the stucco application process. They will examine your landscaping and interior openings such as windows to plan how best to protect them during the project, which could take a month or two depending on your property’s size.
Any underlying issues at your home cannot just be covered up with stucco; they will undoubtedly rear their ugly heads at the worst of times, damaging both your new exterior stucco and your home’s core structure. A thorough home inspection before the stucco is applied will help to prevent unexpected issues from arising during the project and save you and your stucco contractor valuable time, money, and energy along the way.

Why Choose Stucco for Your Home Exterior

stucco designed exterior

Stucco is a natural, cost effective coating that not only protects your home but adds character and customization to your home’s exterior. While there are some drawbacks to using stucco, the benefits far outweigh any cons. Once applied properly to your outside walls, stucco will give you a visually appealing, unique look that will last for years while protecting your most valued possession.

Do-it-yourself applications are good if you do not know what you are doing. However, if you are inexperienced with stucco applications, or have large areas to cover, it is always better to hire an expert to do the job. Professionals will do the job properly the first time so you don’t have to face high repair costs later on.

Reputable businesses are also insured and guarantee their work. If cracking or bubbling occurs, they will fix it properly at no additional cost to you. This gives homeowners peace of mind.

At Exterior by Design, we can help you choose the best stucco for your home’s exterior surfaces. We are a proudly Canadian company that specializes in stucco applications and repairs. Our expert staff can help you create a unique, beautiful exterior that will last for years.

Why Install Stucco in Fall?

stucco facade

Stucco finishes are increasingly gaining popularity again amongst many home and business owners for its cost-effectiveness and stability. Stucco is essentially a mix of Portland cement, sand, lime and water and is applied over a base on concrete masonry. It is applied wet and sets hard over a period of time until it achieves the desired aesthetic look and weather durability. Weather is a key factor for proper stucco installation as it plays a vital role in giving that smooth, perfect finish.

Contrary to popular belief, the ideal time to install stucco is fall and not summer as fall temperatures (early to mid 20 degrees Celsius) are more conducive for uniform stucco installation.

Fall v/s Other Weathers

A quick comparison of different weathers vis-à-vis stucco installation will throw more light on the importance of choosing the right weather for installing stucco.

  • Hot summer weather (temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.8 degree Celsius) can rapidly dry out the water in the stucco mixture that can develop cracks if not hydrated properly. Quick evaporation also means more water is required to keep the stucco mixture hydrated.
  • Cracked stucco can lead to more damage to the wall and will require more time to fix thereby leading to longer work hours and increased labour cost.
  • Spring too is not the best time, as, in recent years, spring has been wetter (received more rain and frost) than ever before that may hinder timely drying of stucco.
  • Winters pose the problem of uneven and delayed drying as snow can cause stucco to freeze and crack while untimely showers can prolong the drying process.
  • Cold weather also makes the stucco wall prone to efflorescence, which can cause further damage.

Looking at the above points, it is evident that fall is best suited for stucco installation, however, it is suggested to check the weather forecast in advance before starting any siding work.

RELATED ARTICLE: Why High-End Homes in Toronto Choose Stucco?

Exterior stucco design with stone siding