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.