What is Stucco and How is it Used?

Stucco, in its most basic definition, is a generic term for a kind of cement plaster that is added to a wall, either the interior or exterior of a building. A stucco wall is an example of a common application for stucco, but it is not rare to see stucco homes with stucco exterior walls. Stucco is popular because it is highly durable, resistant to fungi and rot, and needs little maintenance.

About Stucco Style

Stucco buildings have been around for much longer than you would expect. They emerged in ancient Greece and Rome, where stucco surfaces were used to paint exquisite frescoes. Gypsum, marble dust, and glue were used to create these surfaces.

During the Renaissance, the Italians honed their stucco techniques, which spread across Europe and became one of the most popular building materials. Builders and masons did not abandon lime-based stucco in favor of the increasingly famous Portland cement until the late 1800s. This cement hardened and strengthened stucco.

Stucco gained popularity in the United States in the nineteenth century, and the term was widely used to describe exterior plastering at the time. Stucco gained a lasting foothold on US architecture when the Spanish Colonial Revival-style building became so popular in the early twentieth century, and it is even more popular today because of its proven durability, low maintenance requirements, natural resistance to the elements, limited impact on our ecology, and fire-resistant characteristics.

How Stucco is Created


Traditional stucco is applied in three steps to a wood or stone structure. If the structure is made of wood, an additional step of adding a lath (a wire mesh) to the wall before the first stucco coat (scratch coat) is required so that it can adhere to the structure.

The first coating applied to the structure, known as a scratch coat, is usually made up of cement and sand and is applied over the lath. This layer is then “scratched” to provide more surface space for the second layer bonding.

The second layer, known as the brown or leveling coat, is usually composed of cement, sand, and lime. It has been flattened and smoothed. It must dry for 7-10 days before adding the third coat. The finishing coat is the third coating (also known as the color coat).

A color coat is a finish made of colored sand, cement, and lime that is added directly to the brown coat. Color coat may be applied with a trowel to produce different patterns or sprayed to achieve a smooth finish. It can come in a variety of colors, and using coarser or finer sands can alter the final coat’s consistency. Acrylic finishes can also be used in a typical stucco fashion and provide a long lifespan. It is also available in a number of colors.

Pre-Mixed Stucco Manufacturers

There are many major manufacturers that you can contact for more information on mixing and applying stucco:

  • Omega Products
  • California Stucco
  • Parex USA
  • Mission Stucco
  • Merlex Stucco
  • BMI Products
  • Eagle Building Materials

The Advantages of Stucco


Stucco is a low-cost, sturdy, and durable finish. It is adaptable to a wide range of climates. It is versatile and can be used on concrete, concrete masonry, brick, wood frame, or steel frame structures. It is both fire and color retentive. As a result, different pigments may be applied to the plaster to give the stucco the exact appearance you like.

The Disadvantages of Stucco

Stucco is rot-resistant, long-lasting, and versatile; however, it does not do well in wet conditions. Since stucco is porous, water can seep through it. The substance would crumble as a result of this. Furthermore, if your home frame is exposed to water for an extended period of time, the moisture can cause damage.

Finishing areas of the house that come into contact with moisture the most (primarily the bottom footing of the home, but sometimes the top) with a different material, such as brick or vinyl, will make the stucco last during wet seasons.

Stucco is a difficult material to restore. Homeowners in damp or snowy climates may have to patch stucco more often. Nonetheless, any stucco repair is difficult due to the various layers that your contractor would need to repair. Stucco repairs are costly and time-consuming.

Looking around the area is one of the easiest ways to decide whether or not you can stucco your house. If there are no stucco houses, it is most likely due to conditions. You should also consult with a local stucco specialist to see if it is appropriate for you.

Coloring Stucco

Stucco can be blended with pigment to produce a variety of colors, or it can be used without pigment to reveal the natural gray of the cement. Some contractors choose warm colors like yellow, pink, or orange, but beige and white are possibly the most common stucco colors.


Stucco may be painted, but it must be allowed to cure for at least six weeks before painting. Coloring stucco with pigment is much preferable to painting it because painting requires constant upkeep, whereas premixed coloring is permanent.

Should You Apply Stucco Yourself?

Although applying Stucco may appear to be a simple process, the improper application may result in serious problems such as bulging, splitting, and cracking. If moisture seeps in through the stucco, the timber frames of the house can rot. Before embarking on a DIY stucco job, it is always a good idea to do some analysis.

It is strongly advised that you hire a professional. They can ensure that the stucco is applied properly and in accordance with the regulations. Stucco that has been properly applied can last for several years. Hiring well-trained professionals always pay off. A poor stucco job will cost you thousands of dollars to restore in the future.