Fiber cement siding holds up to harsh weather, fire, and insects.
It is difficult to install and needs to be periodically repainted, however.
Stucco siding is very durable and can last for 100 years.
It can retain moisture and isn’t always easy to paint, however.
Stucco has the advantage in just about every category other than appearance.
Choosing a siding is a major decision for a homeowner. It affects not only the look of your house but also how well it’s protected from the elements. If you've heard of stucco and fiber cement siding, you may be wondering which is best for you.
This comparison guide breaks down each material's pros and cons so you can make an informed decision. Then, contact a siding professional near you for a consultation and quote.
Fiber Cement Siding Pros & Cons
When considering fiber cement siding, you should be aware of the pros and cons of this type of material first.
Fiber cement siding has some very attractive pros, from appearance to durability.
Handles Harsh Weather
Whether you're talking about salty air or hurricane-force winds, fiber cement siding is extremely tough and can handle just about anything Mother Nature throws at it.
Pests like termites and carpenter ants that cause damage to homes are drawn to wood—but not fiber cement.
Fiber cement is composed almost entirely of flame-resistant materials, so it won’t ignite when exposed to fire.
Lots of Design Options
Fiber cement siding comes in a wide variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and textures, so homeowners can create a custom look.
There are some significant drawbacks you should be aware of as well.
Although fiber cement is a low-maintenance choice overall, it does need to be repainted every 10-15 years or so.
Certain carcinogens can be released when cutting and installing fiber cement, so your contractor will need to take safety precautions. Fiber cement can be heavy and difficult to maneuver, and it can break during installation if not handled carefully.
Not Very Energy-Efficient
Fiber cement siding isn’t an especially good insulator. Wood and vinyl do a much better job of stopping heat loss—which in turn saves you money on your energy bill.
Stucco Siding Pros & Cons
What about stucco siding? There are some key differences for this type of siding compared to fiber cement. Here are its pros and cons.
Stucco offers a number of benefits, including that it can last for 100 years.
Like fiber cement, stucco holds up to strong winds, fire, and insects. If properly installed and maintained, stucco can last 100 years.
Stucco has a unique textured look that is popular with homeowners. You can choose from different shades and finishes to further raise your home's curb appeal.
Like fiber cement, stucco siding requires little in the way of upkeep other than regular cleaning with a garden hose and brush.
Stucco isn’t right for all climates and can sometimes develop cracks.
Not Suitable For Wet Climates
Although some types of stucco can repel water, stucco in general tends to absorb and hold on to water. That means this type of siding is better suited for arid climates. Waterlogged stucco can lead to problems like mold growth and cracking.
Stucco doesn't have much flexibility to it, so if it is rattled by an earthquake or if it simply expands and contracts as the temperature changes, you may notice cracks start to develop.
Can’t Always Be Painted
Painting stucco isn’t as straightforward as painting other types of siding and may involve special preparation steps like sandblasting.
Fiber Cement Siding vs. Stucco Siding
So how do these two siding options compare? After all, their pros and cons are similar in many areas. Here’s the breakdown.
Fiber cement siding gets the edge on appearance because it offers homeowners a wider range of design options.
Stucco siding has better durability. While both types of siding are known for their strength, in the long run, stucco can last for decades longer than fiber cement.
Stucco siding has the advantage on price, too. The cost of fiber cement siding averages about $10 per square foot, while the cost of stucco siding averages closer to $8 per square foot.
Ease of Installation/DIY-ability
Stucco siding takes this category due to the fact that while both siding options are difficult to install, fiber cement is even more challenging because of the heaviness of the material and the safety precautions that need to be taken.
Stucco siding comes out slightly ahead on maintenance. Both types of siding are easy-care, but fiber cement does need to be repainted every 10-15 years.