3 Areas Your Home’s Stucco May Have Water Damage

When it comes to owning a stucco home in the Dallas – Fort Worth area, you may feel like it is nearly impossible to sustain any type of water damage to your home. Even with the 35 trillion gallons of rainfall that Texas sustained in May 2015, many stucco homeowner’s feel confident about their home’s water sealing.

And they may be right.

stucco-cracksThe problem is water damage to stucco can happen from other areas of your home, or our first cause…improperly installed stucco. Stucco that is improperly installed has flaws in it that can allow moisture behind the stucco and cause problems that aren’t even seen with a typical crack or other visible warning sign.

The second way stucco can sustain water damage is through its various systems that interact with the exterior stucco of the house. For example, roofing, gutters, balcony rails, and plumbing/electrical connections all need to be “meshed” in with the exterior of the home. These penetrations, or areas of vulnerability, can easily cause water leak issues if not properly installed.

In addition to poor construction/application of the homes stucco, and the weaving in of the other home’s systems, the third area of concern is around doors and windows. Doors and windows get used on a regular basis, and therefore have an increased chance of “movement,” allowing for separation of the wood behind the stucco and other vulnerabilities.

In the end, a thorough stucco inspection by a trained professional, utilizing a moisture test is your best bet when it comes to protecting yourself from water damage to your stucco.

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Best ROI on Home Updates

When you are buying a house, do you look inside all of the houses you are considering or do you review the “curb side appeal” first?

Curb side appeal is one of the most important considerations when buying and selling a home. So why is it that kitchen’s and bathroom’s always make the top of the list? No doubt they are two of the most important areas of your home, but without appealing curb side appeal, nobody will see your epic kitchen or bathroom.

In fact, on January 29, 2013 Realtors® declared that, “Exterior Replacement Projects Provide Biggest Return on Investment for Homeowners.

In the same article, by Realtors®, they declared that, “Three different siding replacement projects landed in the top 10, including fiber cement siding, expected to return 79.3 percent of costs, vinyl siding, expected to return 72.9 percent of costs, and foam backed vinyl, expected to return 71.8 percent of costs.”

stone-optionsWe’ve discussed siding vs. stucco in the past, so you are already aware of the superior advantages of stucco and therefore can recoup even more value with a stucco project than a siding project, as discussed here.

Mark Daniel Exteriors provides all of the stone options discussed in the above article.

The next time you are considering an upgrade to your home, consider one of the best options available…stucco or stone.

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Is Stucco Worth it For an Old House?

residential-stucco-slide2When it comes time to renovate the exterior of an older home, consumers have numerous choices for siding material. Options include stucco, vinyl, wood, brick, stone, aluminum and cement fiber siding. Individuals who do their homework and compare the advantages and disadvantages associated with each type of material often arrive at the conclusion that stucco represents the best investment.


Stucco costs more than vinyl and aluminum but is less expensive than wood or stone. Installers can apply it on most existing surfaces, including old stucco, brick, stone and concrete. When properly installed, it requires minimal maintenance other than the occasional power wash and it will last for several decades.

It is resistant to flames, mold and mildew. Stucco expands or contracts with the weather but there is a danger of cracking if the home’s foundation shifts. Because this material is fire resistant and durable, some insurance companies offer discounts on policies written for homes with stucco siding.


Stucco offers endless ways to customize the home’s appearance. Various application techniques produce different looks. Stucco can be coarse, smooth, swirled, or raked depending on the homeowner’s personal preference. After it is applied, it can be painted any color to suit the environment. Mixing pigment into the stucco changes its color and eliminates the need to paint after installation.


Stucco is an effective sound insulator. This makes it a good option for homes in noisy neighborhoods or those located near schools. Stucco can make a home more energy efficient. It will keep the interior warmer in the winter and cooler during the summer saving on energy usage year round.

When comparing the various options for exterior siding, many consumers opt for stucco based on its cost, durability and versatility. With proper application, it can increase properly value and offer decades of reliable protection to any home.

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Acrylic Finish vs. Stucco Finish

When choosing an attractive finish for your home or exterior, it is important to consider the practical and decorative applications. Different types of materials can provide your home with different looks and levels of protection and insulation, which makes stucco and acrylic some of the best choices for your home. Let’s take a look at the practical applications for each option.


Acrylic stucco is a special synthetic alternative to the traditional type of stucco. It has a more modern look, and can be chosen in a variety of colors, and is known for its overall smoother appearance. This stucco does not absorb moisture, due to its dense material and water repellant type of finish. Due to its constructive makeup, this material is more prone to cracking than a traditional stucco.


Traditional stucco is an attractive coating for all types of walls, ceilings, and decorations. It is made of cement, water, and sand, and it hardens into a distinct pattern commonly over wood framing. It is very durable, long lasting, and resistant to fungal growth and rot. Like any surface material, it should be carefully maintained for the best effect.

Advantages of Stucco Over Acrylic

To begin with, there are many more patterns to choose from in traditional surfaces than acrylic ones. Traditional surfaces are also easier to take care of, as they will not need to be frequently resealed. It can be dyed a variety of colors, resulting in a much more attractive finish.


While both types of materials can have attractive applications in the home, choosing the traditional surface can have much more decorative options, as well as stronger practical advantages. Always shop according to your preferences and budget, and think about the long term when you buy finishes.

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3 Things to Know About Stucco

In the Dallas – Fort Worth area, stucco is growing as a popular choice for many residential and commercial buildings. Many people enjoy the natural look of this durable service, but also consider concrete and brick as an option for the natural (non-siding) look.

In this post we’re going to take a look at three key things to consider with stucco as a building material.

Stucco or E.I.F.S.?

EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing System) is commonly referred to as stucco, but it is actually different. EIFS is made from several layers of material designed to insulate and moisture-protect the wall.

Traditional stucco, in contrast, uses 3 coats of material and can be almost an 1″ thick (whereas EIFS is typically a 1/4 of an inch). When you knock on the wall of a suspected stucco/EIFS building, EIFS will have a hollow sound whereas the traditional stucco will be more solid sounding.

Should I Choose Brick or Stucco?

Stucco vs BrickWe have a whole post dedicated to brick vs. stucco, but people attracted to brick homes tend to like how uniform and structured they look whereas stucco lovers enjoy their unique look and customization with colors that can be utilized.

When it comes to repairs, stucco offers cheaper and more options than brick…so that consideration should be noted for long-term care of a building.

Stucco Color Options

stucco color selectionAs previously mentioned, one of the main benefits to stucco is the many choices in colors. For guidance in color selection, see out post on stucco colors, but note that when selecting a color for your building, you should always view it under as many different light sources as possible.

The look of your home’s stucco color may look drastically different when lit with fluorescent lighting at night versus the direct sunlight you see during the day.

Also considering the surrounding elements and trim color of your home, and even the foliage, can help make that color selection process more accurate…ensuring you select the right color.

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Frequently Asked Stucco Questions

stucco-faqIn this article we will tackle the frequently asked questions about stucco. It’s really important that we learn all that we can about this construction material, especially if you’re considering it in the hot, humid, and storm-prone area of Dallas, Texas.

How can you distinguish stucco from E.I.F.S.?

Before we discuss their differences, let’s first start defining EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing System), which is used to protect, insulate and waterproof exterior walls. It’s made with different layers such as a moisture barrier, foam insulation, a basecoat of plastic cement, a fiberglass reinforced mesh and finally, the finishes. Both stucco and EIFS are hardly distinguishable from each other since they use the same type of finishes, but their differences can be seen more clearly through their interior layers.

Traditional stucco uses three thick coats that can be almost an inch thick while EIFS only uses a cement stucco of less than a fourth of an inch thick. You can detect the difference by tapping on the finished wall. An EIFS enforced wall will have hollow sound when tapped while traditionally stucco enforced wall will give a solid sound. EIFS will also give in a little if gently pressed due to the thinness of its cement stucco layer.

What is acrylic stucco?

Acrylic stucco is composed of high-quality acrylics and is known for its adhesion, flexibility, breath-ability, sturdiness and texture. A special type of ceramic and aggregate compound is also added to the mixture to get an ideal stucco texture surface yet with additional characteristics that are not found in usual dry mix ratios of stucco. Among these characteristics are water and moisture resistance, long bonding life, UV protection, cracking and peeling resistance and resistance to extreme temperature and humidity range.

What is the brown coat in stucco?

The brown coat is the intermediate layer between the plaster-based “scratch” layer and the final finish layer. It’s made up of a mixture of cement, lime and sand and is prepared to make a smooth and even surface for the finish coat. It’s important that these three layers are sprayed with water if they’re being cured during the hot dry Dallas summer season or you’ll be left with a week and brittle stucco.

Final Words

Here’s a short summary of our FAQ. EIFS and stucco are pretty much indistinguishable on the exterior unless one will look at their inner layers. EIFS utilizes a thinner coating and more varieties of material than its traditional counterpart. Acrylic stucco is a special stucco mixture that’s designed to resist weathering and last a long time. Finally, the brown is an intermediate layer that provides a smooth surface for finishes.

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A Brief Guide to Stucco and Concrete

stucco wallThere are numerous ways to attractively decorate the interior or exterior of your home. Many people choose to go with a natural design, leaving the building material (such as brick or concrete) as the key design element. On the other hand, some may find that the aesthetic attraction of stucco may be better suited on top of that plain concrete surface. So with that said, let’s look at the difference between stucco and concrete.


A wall that has a stucco surface is meant to be decorative, as stucco by itself has no strength for supporting and is not meant to hold up the weight of the home. Typically, the material is made up of a combination of an aggregate, water, and a binding agent. Beneath the material, another type of masonry based structure must be present, such as brick or wood, or even cement. Typically, after the material has been applied to the wall, it will be given a coarse or rough finish.


Concrete, on the other hand, is an extremely sturdy and reliable material that is made out of a combination of cement and water, with addition stone aggregate added to the mix for strength. Typically, sand and gravel are used as an aggregate, though carefully measuring the water is the most important part of the process. Too much much water will weaken the strength of the cement, while too little will keep it from being easily molded and applied.

Which is Better?

While both of these materials can be applied to the surfaces of your home for aesthetic appeal, one is better suited to the task than the other. Stucco is specially designed to have the rough and tumble, almost rustic or urban decorative appeal of concrete without all of the weight and difficulty in application.

Concrete, on the other hand, is almost entirely used for functional purposes, such as laying down the structural framework of a home. Concrete will typically be laid in places that will need to resist wear and tear and large amounts of stress.

Stucco will typically be used in vertical applications, such as for walls and borders. Concrete, on the other hand, is much tougher and heavier, and will typically be used to fill in cracks or act as a horizontal support. Both of these materials are used regularly in construction projects, and play different roles in bringing a building together.

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Is Brick or Stucco Better?

Stucco vs BrickBoth stucco and brick are common materials used in home construction and are usually applied to the outside of a home. Serving as aesthetic and pragmatic materials, stucco and brick are chosen by many but there are significant and noticeable differences between the two materials.

Brick as an exterior option

Formed using clay, aluminum silicates, and carbonate iron, brick is incredibly common for the exterior of houses. After being produced and fired in a factory, shipments are available for a wide range of projects for use in homes, pathways, and chimneys among others. Homes constructed with brick tend to bring lower insurance rates due to its ability to not burn in the event of a fire. Furthermore, many like the nice organized look that brick can bring to any building project. In addition to being recyclable, brick is a cheaper material than stucco although installation and repair costs are more expensive than that of stucco.

Stucco as an exterior option

Stucco, just like brick, has been a chosen material for home construction for a long time and brings a significantly different appearance than what brick has to offer. Stucco is made from a combination of water, sand, and limestone and requires quick application to gain the desired look. Both stucco and brick work well in energy saving and do well in reducing costs in comparison to vinyl or wood sidings. See stucco vs. vinyl siding.

So which is better, brick or stucco?

Although both of these materials have pros and cons to offer, many aspects of stucco set it apart from brick. While brick remains the same color (over time it will fade) stucco surfaces can be painted and any kind of color can be chosen. Furthermore, brick is rigid and tends to favor uniformity more than uniqueness; with stucco the architecture can bend and curve without affecting the structure of the stucco. In addition to these aspects stucco is a durable product in various climates and can resist rain, snow, and heat; however, brick is also a lasting material though its repair costs can exceed what one may be willing to pay. Despite the fact that stucco can cost more initially, it characteristics allow it to endure as much if not more than brick and they create the ability to create architectural designs that would be impossible with brick.

Each of these substances has different qualities and characteristics and has their own things to offer. Although it may be difficult to choose between the two, the decision is really dependent on individual preference and a variety of factors. Brick may be enduring and uniform, although the cost of repair and maintenance can exceed expectation; stucco, like brick, is lasting but it can also offer the chance to be imaginative in construction and, ultimately, can end up being cheaper than brick with all aspects considered.

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Vinyl Siding vs. Stucco

Like books, houses are judged by how they look from the outside. Attractive house exteriors help increase the value of the home and create a sense of expectation – a mood, if you will – of what the house will look like inside. The choice of an exterior will depend largely on preference, overall design and of course, budget. By far the two most popular choices for exterior siding are stucco and vinyl. Although vinyl was the more popular option for many homeowners and builders, stucco has gained some serious following. Before you decide which siding to use, here is a look at how stucco fares against vinyl as an option for home exteriors.

What is Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl sidings are engineered materials made from plastic, usually polyvinyl chloride resin or PVC, and other materials that will modify its color, flexibility, gloss, durability and resistance to breakage due to impact. Vinyl sidings were first introduced in the 1950s, which in part explains their popularity.

What is Stucco Siding?

Stucco sidings are made from several materials (lime and sand, also glass fibers and acrylics) collectively called aggregate. This aggregate is glued together using water and a type of binder. Unlike vinyl sidings, which come in standard sizes, stucco sidings are applied wet and allowed to set. The materials that make up stucco are formulated to enhance its workability so that it is easy to apply and modify if and when necessary before it hardens.

Why is Stucco Better Than Vinyl?

There are many issues that are associated with the use of vinyl. The fact that it is made from a type of plastic resin means that the material is inherently hazardous because of the chemicals it contains, which can include lead, chlorine, dioxin and formaldehyde, among others. Some of these chemicals could be released once the siding is exposed to heat. When ingested or touched, these chemicals could increase the risk of heart disease, respiratory problems and even cancer. Stucco, on the other hand, is made from natural materials that do not emit, release or leach harmful chemicals.

The materials that go into the making of stucco siding are also very durable, which means the sidings can and will withstand punishment from and exposure to the elements for many years. This makes stucco a better option for homes that are exposed to extreme changes in weather conditions.

Stucco has better insulation efficiency and is durable enough to resist fire. It is resistant to flaking, rotting and moisture damage, so problems with mildew and mold are virtually non-existent.

In terms of appearance, stucco and vinyl can be dramatically different. Vinyl is rigid, providing a smooth, precise and therefore clean finish. Stucco, on the other hand, can provide a textured, organic appearance that increases interest.

Stucco vs. Vinyl Siding

Probably the only advantage of vinyl over stucco is that vinyl tends to be more affordable, although the price difference is negligible given the benefits that stucco siding can offer. Stucco is classic and can be priced competitively enough to be cost-efficient. It is very durable, able to withstand the elements and offers an innate style that vinyl siding often lacks. For homeowners and builders who prefer an exterior that provides excellent aesthetic value and lasts long, stucco siding is the better choice.

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