Before You Build, Consider These 5 Common Problems With Stucco Homes

Barbara Bellesi Zito
Updated October 26, 2021
Stucco and brick house with maroon door
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Stucco can look beautiful on a home, but maintaining it can be tricky

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Stucco has a distinctive, textured appearance that can make for a beautiful home exterior. And stucco is more than just good looks—it also has strong fireproofing capabilities. But there are some drawbacks to consider before choosing stucco for your siding, too. Here’s what to keep in mind.

1. Don’t Try to DIY

While some siding installations and maintenance can be a DIY project, stucco exteriors are better left to the pros. There are typically several layers to a stucco exterior, and a poor application can lead to problems down the road. 

Some stucco exteriors are flashed, meaning they contain layers of weatherproof material. If the flashing isn’t installed properly, water can seep into it during a rainstorm. Waterlogged stucco is not a good look for a house and can also lead to mold growth. 

This is why it pays to hire a local stucco professional, who knows how to install each layer of stucco for a long-lasting finish. Keep in mind, though, that stucco repairs cost $60 to $120 per square foot, according to HomeAdvisor, so spotting damage early can cut down on pricey home improvements.

2. Painting Is an Even Bigger Project

Stucco houses in a row in a new subdivision
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To be fair, you’ll want to carefully consider the color of any home’s exterior, as painting a house can be a time-consuming project that you’ll want to get right the first time. But choosing the right color matters even more when it comes to stucco.

That’s because you can’t simply start painting stucco—it’s got to be sandblasted first. This process involves a combination of sand and air blasted at high pressure to smooth a surface so it can be treated or painted. So unless you like the look of ladders and scaffolds in your yard, you’ll want to test out colors first before you commit to a final choice.

3. Storms Can Be Destructive

Wet weather can pose a serious problem to stucco homes, which is why you’ll find them more in dryer climates. Whenever it rains or snows, you’ll need to ensure that your stucco finish doesn’t get too wet, because it will lead to cracking and possibly even mold growth. 

One of the best ways to keep water from pervading any home’s exterior is to point gutters and downspouts away from the home to let the water run off after a storm. Another way is to weatherproof doors and windows so that rain and melting snow can’t get in. 

After major rain storms, you should inspect your home’s exterior for any signs of water damage and contact a professional near you immediately if there’s any hint of trouble.

4. Landscaping Isn’t Just About Curb Appeal

While it’s a good idea not to plant flowers or bushes directly against any type of foundation, it’s super important to avoid this if you have a stucco exterior. When moist soil, be it from a recent rainfall or a dousing with a garden hose, comes in contact with the stucco, it causes the home’s exterior to crack

While cracks can certainly be repaired if addressed quickly, plot your garden and landscaping carefully. Don’t plant too close to your home, or create a moisture barrier to keep water away.

5. Resale Could Be a Challenge

Upclose shot of stucco house with green shutters
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Just as you have concerns about common issues with stucco, so will potential home buyers. This is more than curb appeal, though; this is about the integrity of your home. Stucco homes in a humid or wet climate might take longer to sell than homes with vinyl or wood siding. If you are looking to put your house on the market, a refurbished stucco exterior will give buyers peace of mind that they won’t have an extensive and expensive home improvement project to tackle shortly after they move in.

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