The Cons of Stucco

Cracking is one drawback to stucco.
Cracking is one drawback to stucco. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Stucco is a building material often used in the southwest for exterior applications, such as siding. Stucco can be made from a mixture of sand and cement, or a synthetic material called Exterior Insulation and Finish. Stucco provides many pros and cons, which should be thoroughly analyzed before you commit to using this material for your home.

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Cement stucco is a very rigid building material. It can crack if the framing shrinks or the foundation shifts, which leads to unsightly blemishes on the exterior. Those blemishes may require pricey repairs.


Installing stucco can be more time-consuming than the installation of other building materials. Contractors in some regions of the country may not use stucco as a common siding material, which means the installation will take more time and money due to the installers' inexperience. Ineffective installation can also lead to other problems. If stucco is not installed correctly, it can leak after a rainstorm.


General maintenance for stucco is not that extensive. Regular sessions with a garden hose are usually more than enough maintenance for stucco. However, water and dirt can cause noticeable stains on stucco that are less noticeable on other siding materials. An occasional pressure wash may be necessary to get rid of the stains.


Stucco is not the best match for regions where there is heavy rainfall or constant exposure to water. Water can get trapped inside synthetic or stucco and cause the wood framing behind it to rot.


Stucco is cheaper than some other building materials, such as brick or stone, but it is more expensive than wood or vinyl. Stucco has a typical life span of 50 to 75 years, but that changes if it is cracked or used in a climate that is not conducive to its use. It is also more expensive to replace stucco than to replace longer-lasting building products. Many insurance companies will exclude EIFS as part of liability provisions.


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