If you’re thinking about using stucco for the exterior finish of your house, there are a few things you may want to consider first. It can create a very attractive and soft look for the home, but the amount of maintenance required may exceed the aesthetic value.
Stucco is prone to shifting and therefore hairline cracks can be visible after some time. The cracks can be patched up, but the patches will be probably be obvious. The UV light affects the stucco color enough to see the patches. Repairs to stucco can be done without apparent patches but that entails finishing the entire wall corner to corner.
The traditional stucco is several layers of Portland cement over wire mesh and a water proof membrane. Because it is nailed to a wood surface, it is subject to movement from wood curing and settling. Even though the finish coats have flexibility designed into the,, it is still not enough. After a few years the stucco coat will stabilize and be relatively free from settling. After that, it requires annual maintenance from mildew and moss. The coats have an inhibitor against these built in, but it is again not enough. The climate in our region is wet and humid and will promote growth on stucco.
Stucco can also be done using Hardiplank, however we have not applied this to a home yet. An alternative to stucco that is probably more suitable for this area is stucco-coated brick. There is very little maintenance required, and touch-ups can be done easily and discreetly. A stucco coat over brick is a good way to soften the look of the house to fit in with other homes in the neighborhood.
Stone requires the least amount of maintenance and is incredibly durable. Brick is a close second. We have homes that we built over 20 years ago in brick and/or stone that look as good today as they did when they were new.