Stucco is one of the oldest materials used to side a home or building. Originally, it contained lime as its base and was used by ancient Greeks and Romans to side their homes. Concrete was introduced in the 1900s, which became a better, more workable alternative to lime, increasing the material’s popularity. Stucco is primarily found in regions with warmer climates because it does not do well in freeze/thaw areas. However, newer materials are emerging that stand up better so that they can be used more widely.
There are many different types of stucco and finishing techniques, which means that the material has a wide range of costs. Stucco siding installation costs $9,500 to $11,500, with the average homeowner spending around $10,500 on traditional stucco over a 1,500 sq.ft. exterior with standard trim. This project’s low cost is using a thin-coat stucco over a 1,500 sq.ft. surface for $8,000. The high cost is around $18,000 for EIFS stucco with trim over a 1,500 sq.ft. exterior.
|Stucco Siding Prices|
|National average cost||$10,500|
Stucco siding is a unique way to clad a home. Rather than applying a solid material to the exterior, this material is applied while wet and then dries. It has lower material costs but higher installation costs than other types of siding. Most stucco costs between $6 and $8 a square foot installed using a three-coat system on a home, but decorative finishes may cost more. Thin-coat or single-coat stucco can cost less, while newer insulating forms may cost more:
|Square Footage||Average Price (Installed)|
|500 sq.ft.||$3,000 - $4,000|
|1,000 sq.ft.||$6,000 - $8,000|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$9,000 - $12,000|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$12,000 - $16,000|
|2,500 sq.ft.||$15,000 - $20,000|
The type of system you use will also affect the overall cost of the project. The most traditional types of systems include one-coat and three-coat, both considered hard coat stucco. A new system, known as EIFS, does not fall under the same category of hard stucco and is designed to be more durable. On average, you can expect to pay between $1 and $5 for materials based on the type of system used. Below you can see the different costs per square foot for each system.
|Type of System||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|One-Coat||$1 - $3|
|Three-Coat||$2 - $4|
|EIFS||$3 - $5|
This one-coat system runs an average of $1 to $3 per square foot. It is the less costly system since it requires less labor as only one coat is used during the process. The one coat is a blend of cement fibers, water, and chemicals. It combines the scratch and brown coat of the three-coat process into one application. The one-coat option is a popular one because the application takes half the time, and it is as durable, flexible, and fire-resistant as the three-coat system. The main drawback is that it will be thinner and more susceptible to damage.
You can expect to pay an average of $2 to $4 per square foot for materials when using a three-coat system. The materials in the process consist of three main layers. The base uses paper and wire, followed by a scratch coat layer and brown coat layer. After the three layers will be a finish or “top coat” layer. This is typically not included in the number of layers as it is required with any stucco process. The base layer is the layer that is most weather-resistant, and the other layers include mixes of cement, lime, sand, and water.
A three-coat system is a popular option because of its durability since its added thickness holds up better to wear and tear. The drawbacks are that it takes longer and costs more to install than single-coat.
EIFS is the latest development in stucco materials. This is the most expensive type, with a material cost of $3 to $5 a square foot, for materials only. It stands for Exterior Insulation and Finish System and comprises many thin layers over foam insulation, with a topcoat designed to resist moisture. It is made by using an adhesive to apply the foam to the substrate, then a base coat is put on the foam board. Mesh or lath is embedded in the base coat and allowed to cure. From there, the finish coat is added. The finish coat contains polymers that make it more flexible, less likely to crack, and more water-resistant. Like the other types, it can be pigmented and finished with different textures.
Stucco comes in a few types. The traditional one was made with cement and lime and is still used today. However, other types can be easier and faster to install and longer-lasting, more durable, and insulating. Different finishes involve mixing in different materials to produce a desired aesthetic look. The type you choose impacts your project’s cost, and you can expect to pay an average of $0.50 to $4 per square foot, depending on the finish material chosen.
|Finish Material||Average Costs per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Cement||$0.50 - $3|
|Synthetic||$1 - $4|
Traditional, or cement, stucco is a hard form of stucco made from Portland cement and lime. It can cost between $0.50 and $3 a square foot, including all materials. It can be applied in the traditional manner, which is done by layering up to three different coats over a metal lath. It can also be used for quicker and easier thin-coat applications that use one layer of material for a faster installation. Cement siding is strong and durable, but it does not last as long as other types. It also varies in texture over the surface, which means that it is most commonly used with certain styles, such as tabby shells.
Synthetic stucco, also called acrylic, is a newer type that provides some extra uniformity and costs between $1 and $4 a square foot for materials, depending on the type. It is suitable for all three layers of application, thin-coat installation, and EIFS installation. Synthetic is softer than traditional stucco, which is hard and rigid. Aside from some slight variations, it is hard to tell the difference between natural and synthetic unless you know what to look for. If there is a hole in your stucco, you can look for the underlayer. Natural stucco usually has a mesh underlayer, while synthetic usually has a foam core. You can also touch the material and consider the texture.
Applying stucco to a home is a fairly labor-intensive process. No matter which system you use, the various layers and materials must be applied by hand. Each of the three types of stucco has related labor costs. The most common labor costs tend to be between $2 and $9 a foot, or $45 to $85 per person per hour, but the finish and your home’s condition can make a difference.
One-coat stucco is applied using a metal lath and applying a single coat of material mixed with fiberglass before applying a top coat. Since you do not have to wait for curing at any stage, the installation is much quicker.
The process to install a three-coat system can take several days because curing each layer takes considerable time. The application process starts with a water-resistant wrap, followed by the scratch coat made of cement-based stucco. Next, the brown coat is applied to add strength before the final coat is applied.
During the EIFS system installation process, a thin layer of foam insulation will first be applied, followed by a scratch coat applied with a lathe. The synthetic layers of material will then be thinly applied one coat at a time. While there is curing time, the thin layers make the process quicker than a three-coat system. Consider the height of the wall you want to stucco. If it is 14’ or higher, the project requires scaffolding. Scaffolding can take several hours to build, which adds to your labor costs.
It is much more common to repair old stucco than to replace it. Most older sidings can be repaired and given a fresh topcoat that makes it appear new. If you want to replace it completely, the removal cost is added to the installation costs. The removal cost runs an average of $1 to $3 a square foot, depending on the condition, how hard it is to remove, and the condition of your home beneath it. You may have additional repair costs before you can begin the installation of the new stucco.
The total cost to re-stucco a house per square foot ranges from $7 to $10 a square foot, but they can be higher or lower, depending on the type you choose and your home’s condition.
If you have existing siding on your home, it can be tempting to leave it in place and stucco over it. Unfortunately, stuccoing over wood or vinyl siding is not a good idea, because it needs to adhere to a firm surface. Existing siding is not as secure as the home’s frame or a brick-sided, fiber cement, or cinder-block home. If the vinyl or wood siding were to crack under the stucco’s weight or become damaged by moisture, the stucco fails with it.
So the only surfaces stuccoing over include cinder block, fiber cement, and brick. You can expect to pay an average of $6 to $12 per square foot for the entire installation process depending on the surface type. Below you will see the average cost you can expect to pay for each type of surface.
|Surface Type||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Fiber Cement||$6 - $8|
|Cinder Block||$6 - $10|
|Brick||$6 - $12|
Expect to pay an average of $6 to $8 for stuccoing over fiber cement. This can be a good option for a homeowner looking to update the look of the exterior of their home. The smooth surface of fiber cement makes preparation minimal but requires precision during the application process. Typically, three-coat methods are used, but the first coat can often be skipped when the surface is cement. Adding stucco to your fiber cement exterior improves the aesthetics of your home’s exterior and makes it weather-resistant.
Costs for stuccoing over cinder block are usually around $6 to $10 a square foot for materials and labor. Cinder block operates the same way that brick siding does with stucco. The strength and integrity of the cinder blocks mean that you do not need the scratch coat. Instead, the brown coat can be applied on top. This also saves time and money for the installation of the traditional type. While the installation process is the same for brick, the cinder block surface provides more flat areas, often leading to shorter installation and lower costs.
You can stucco over brick, including both masonry brick and brick siding. Expect costs to be between $6 and $12 a square foot to install it on a brick home. The scratch coat can be excluded from the process because the brick gives it the strength and integrity it needs. This cuts a 3-coat system down to two coats and can save time and money. Stucco over brick costs slightly less on average than over a timber home. EIFS installs the same way over brick and has no cost reduction.
Costs for resurfacing stucco are usually around $4 to $5 a square foot, including labor and material. If it is old and has a lot of minor cracks or damage, it may be better to resurface it rather than make many small repairs or remove and replace it. Resurfacing gives the siding a new top layer and texture and is often done with synthetic materials to last longer. Resurfacing is the application of a new topcoat, so it can often be applied to the existing stucco. This can hide cracks and other imperfections and give it a fresh, new look.
Your stucco’s finish heavily impacts your home’s appearance. The final coat is hand-troweled onto the home’s exterior. This can take on many shapes and designs, depending on your preference and the installer’s skill level. Some methods are more common than others, but a few are highly specialized. Most do not add additional costs to your project.
Dash is the most common texture and the one associated with most stucco homes. This is a rough texture with a pronounced appearance and deep shadows. This texture is sometimes called “roughcast.” If you do not request a specific finish for your siding, you will likely get the dash finish. This texture works on nearly any type and home style.
Pebble dashing is the process of putting small pebbles or pea gravel into the wall after the final coat of stucco. This gives you a solid, textured wall of stones. This is a less common finish than most stucco walls using only the plastering materials. This texture may have similar costs to other textures or increase costs by around $1 a square foot, depending on the stones and technique. It often has no additional costs because the pebbles can be tossed or thrown on the wall quickly, and the finish needs less plaster.
A skip trowel finish, also known as a lace finish, is a fast and easy way to texture a home. It can be sprayed or hand-troweled on and works best with traditional stucco. This is considered a “forgiving” texture, meaning it can hide wear on the home’s surface. It can also hide repairs easily. This texture can be rough, with high casts and shadows, or smoother and more refined. This can also change over the house and add more depth.
Float is the more commonly known name for the sand texture. This is a more lightly textured type than the popular dash texture. It is created by “floating” or lightly pressing the trowel into the stucco, rather than pressing hard. The result gives it a wet sand appearance. This is a good option if you want something smoother than dash but want some texture.
If you do not like textured stucco, you can give it a smooth finish instead. This is a much less common option than most other finishes. It takes time and must be applied by hand. It is achievable with all types, but its costs are at the higher end of the labor range - $5 to $10 a square foot, depending on the type, rather than the more common $2 to $4 a square foot for dash finishes. The smooth finish is not very forgiving for the home’s structural flaws. If it cracks, like stucco frequently does over time, the cracks are more noticeable in the smooth finish. It can also be more difficult to repair and blend this texture than others. But on the other hand, it is easier to prep and can produce a clean, smooth surface that is easier to paint. Many homeowners also prefer the aesthetic look of smooth stucco.
The Santa Barbara finish is most popular in California, where it originated. This is often the preferred method for the California-Adobe look for the home’s exterior. The Santa Barbara finish is halfway between a smooth and textured finish. It is very lightly textured, with some small sand particles added to the plaster. The finish is applied with a pool trowel, which helps get the specific semi-smooth appearance.
The English pattern is very distinctive from other textured appearances. Instead of a rough finish, it is made by smoothing the material in a circular pattern. The half-circles overlap continuously across the home’s face. This is a slightly more decorative finish than most of the others. It is not as common and should be done with the traditional stucco rather than one coat or synthetic materials.
One of the more unique textured finishes is the cat face. This unique texture is mostly smooth, with textured areas showing through. When done correctly, it looks as though a cat is peeking through the stucco. The cat face texture can be large or small, and it can be close together or more spread out. This means that there is still a lot of room to customize your stucco with this finish.
The tabby shell is a unique finish for homes. Rather than allowing the plaster to show or covering it in pebbles or sand, the plaster is completely covered in shells. It must be applied to traditional stucco and cannot be used with thin-coat or synthetic materials. The shells create a unique textured appearance with depth and shadow on the home’s surface. It also adds some strength - tabby walls last longer than other stucco walls without repair. Tabby costs an additional $1 to $2 a square foot on top of traditional stucco costs.
Like any siding material, stucco has positive and negative attributes. This material can last 50 or more years when treated properly and is extremely fire-resistant. It is also insect-resistant and can be applied to many home styles and materials. While it is primarily used in Spanish-style architecture, it also works well in modern and contemporary home styles. Newer materials can be used in more moderate and hot climates.
This material cracks if the home’s foundation settles and may sometimes crack with no settling. It has a very low R-value, much lower than wood siding, and does not do well in particularly damp climates. Moisture can infiltrate if it cracks, which can lead to mold issues. It can also be difficult to repair, often necessitating repainting the entire home to match the new section.
Stucco does not require much maintenance, but keep up with it to ensure that it lasts its maximum lifespan. The biggest issue that it faces is a settling foundation. For that reason, it is generally recommended to have your soil checked regularly and to take steps to ensure it is not shifting or moving.
If it becomes dirty, it can be cleaned with a soft to medium-bristled brush and a garden hose. Do not use a high-pressure washing system on this type of siding because this can cause damage.
Mold can be removed with a water-and-bleach solution and gentle scrubbing, while efflorescence can be removed with a vinegar-and-water solution. Most maintenance can be performed DIY for the bleach solution and brush’s cost. Or, you can hire house cleaners to do this for around $75 an hour.
Stucco and brick are low-maintenance and long-lasting siding materials. Both are flame-retardant and insect-resistant. Brick siding is also completely moisture-resistant, while some types may develop problems in wet or high-moisture areas.
Brick siding costs between $12 and $35 a square foot installed, depending on the type and installation style. Most stucco siding installations range from $6 to $8 a square foot, but they can be more expensive, depending on the type and finish. This means that there is some overlap between the costs of the two materials, but brick tends to be slightly more expensive.
|Type||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Stucco||$6 - $8|
|Brick||$12 - $35|
Stucco and wood siding are different types of materials. Stucco siding is applied evenly over the entire home, giving it a textured appearance. Wood siding is installed in boards or planks in various patterns and styles. Stucco is resistant to insect activity and is flame-retardant. Wood is susceptible to both these issues, and while both materials are affected by moisture, wood is more likely to develop problems from moisture than stucco. Stucco is less expensive, costing between $6 and $8 a square foot on average. Wood siding costs around $2 to $35 a square foot installed, and some types of wood may cost even less.
|Type||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Wood||$2 - $35|
|Stucco||$6 - $8|
Many people who want a low-maintenance alternative to wood siding should consider vinyl. Vinyl siding is made of plastic that has been molded to look like wood. While it is insect and moisture-resistant, it is not flame-retardant. Vinyl does not do well in very hot or very cold climates. Stucco has no problems with heat or cold, but it does not do well in high-moisture climates.
Stucco is more expensive at $6 to $8 a square foot, while vinyl is $2.30 to $13. However, it lasts more than twice as long as vinyl. It lasts 50 years or more with good maintenance, while vinyl only lasts 20.
|Type||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Vinyl||2.30 - $13|
|Stucco||$6 - $8|
Another low-maintenance alternative to wood is fiber cement siding. Fiber cement is made of a blend of cellulose fiber, sand, silica, and Portland cement. It can be formed into many plank and board sizes and can take on different textures. Many fiber cement companies also make a board that looks like stucco. The average cost to install fiber cement siding is $6 to $13 per square foot, compared to $6 to $8 for stucco. The biggest difference between the two is the increased durability of the fiber cement. It resists cracking better than stucco and needs less maintenance. Both materials last around 50 years on average.
|Type||Average Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Stucco||$6 - $8|
|Fiber Cement||$6 - $13|
If you remove old siding to stucco your home, you may have a siding removal and disposal fee of around $1 a square foot added to the project’s cost. This cost may be higher or lower, depending on the material, how easily it comes off, and disposal.
While stucco can be pigmented in several colors, many people choose to paint it, particularly after a repair to match the old and new sections. Painting your stucco adds around $2 to $5 to the project’s cost. Always wait at least a few weeks for new stucco to cure before painting it.
If you have a chimney in your home, you can have stucco applied to this for a cohesive appearance. Because most chimneys are made of brick or cinder block, their costs to stucco are slightly less than stuccoing on a stick-built home. Expect costs to be around $4 to $6 a square foot.
While less common than some fencing styles, you can also apply a stucco finish to a fence. It can be applied to wood, stone, and brick fences, provided that they have a solid surface. Prices are similar to applying it to a home. Costs to install stucco on a wood fence are around $6 to $8, while applying it to a concrete or brick fence is around $4 to $6 a square foot.
Stucco typically costs around $6 to $8 per sq.ft. on average to install, but it may cost more or less, depending on the type and location.
Stucco typically lasts around 50 years when well-maintained. This includes taking care of the soil around your home’s base to prevent house settling and stucco cracking. It also lasts the longest in areas with moderate moisture because high-moisture areas can cause it to fail faster.
Stucco is a fairly durable and low-maintenance material that looks good on many home styles. It is also moisture resistant and provides your home with a unique aesthetic.
The average cost to stucco a 1,500 sq.ft. home is about $9,000 to $12,000.
In most cases, it is not recommended to side over stucco. It is also not recommended to stucco over existing wood or vinyl siding. Starting with a fresh surface ensures a more even and durable surface.
Yes, stucco is less expensive than either stone or brick, which both start at around $14,000.