Stucco vs. Vinyl Siding: What Are the Differences?

stucco vs vinyl siding

Did you know that the curb appeal of a house and the property next to it account for as much as 7% of a home’s selling price? After all, it’s the first thing people see while on the street. Thus, it’s a chief factor that can attract or detract potential home buyers.

Siding, in turn, is a crucial element in curb appeal, as it’s the material attached to a house’s exterior. Stucco and vinyl are two of the most popular choices.

So, which one is better, then?

To help answer that question, we created this stucco vs. vinyl siding guide. Read on to learn how the two differ and stack up against each other.

Siding 101: A Brief Overview

Siding is like the skin of a home, covering its outermost walls and improving its appearance. However, its primary function is to protect against exposure to heavy winds, rain, and hail. It also insulates homes, preventing heat losses and gains from occurring through walls.

Stucco vs. Vinyl Siding: A Quick Comparison

Stucco is a cement-based masonry material, while vinyl comes from plastic. The former’s composition and application methods make it more durable. However, while the latter has a shorter lifespan, it’s more affordable and customizable.

What Is Stucco Siding? A Detailed Explanation

Today’s stucco siding combines Portland cement, sand, and water. The mixture creates a paste that you must apply wet to external structures. It adheres to different surfaces, such as brick, concrete, hollow tile, metal, stone, and wood.

Primary Benefits

Stucco siding is highly resistant to fire. That’s why it’s one of the best siding materials for homes made of wood frames. It helps retard flames before they burn the flammable layers underneath.

Stucco is also resistant to mold, rot, and pests. It also has good sound resistance, buffering noise entering a house from outside. Additionally, it has medium resistance against wind-borne debris and hail impact.

Application Process

To ensure a stucco siding’s durability, you must apply it in three full coats. The first layer called the “ground,” and the second, known as the “scratch,” must be around 3/8-inch thick each. The final coat, called the “finish,” can be as much as one inch thick.

Lifespan With Prompt and Correct Repairs

Due to its rigorous application process, stucco remains stable for up to two decades. After that, it starts absorbing moisture. If you leave it unaddressed, it can begin separating from the wall.

Fortunately, you can prevent that by applying a new stucco patch to the affected area.

Painting the repaired section further helps boost the stucco patch’s moisture resistance. That helps delay the overall aging process. It also matches the fixed area’s color to the finish.

So long as applied and maintained correctly, stucco siding can last up to 100 years.

What About Vinyl Siding?

Vinyl is a plastic siding engineered from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) resin. You can install it over your home’s exterior rigid insulation.

The two most popular vinyl siding styles before were horizontal and vertical. However, you can now get it in other types, such as scalloped, log, or shake designs. It’s also available in almost every color imaginable, so it’s easy to match the rest of a home’s exterior.

Primary Benefits

Since vinyl siding is plastic, it has excellent flooding-sustained moisture resistance. For the same reason, it’s very resistant to pests, especially termites. It also resists mold and rot.

Another great perk to vinyl siding is its ease of maintenance. You only need to clean it annually to preserve its appearance and integrity. Power washing is the simplest, most effective way to maintain vinyl siding.

Application Process

When you buy vinyl siding, you’ll get it as pre-made planks. So if you plan to DIY its installation, you can cut, hang, and mount it to your home’s exterior walls. However, if you have existing siding, you must remove that before installing the new one.

Estimated Lifespan and Ease of Repairs

Vinyl siding can last two to four decades. Higher quality materials, combined with proper installation, can last longer. It’s also easy to repair; you only have to replace the damaged areas with new planks.

When to Get Which

If you want a siding material that provides a higher level of fire protection, go for stucco. It won’t burn, so as long as it’s in good condition, it won’t let the material under it catch fire. While vinyl is difficult to ignite, it can still ignite and melt.

Likewise, choose stucco if you want a siding that can almost or even last as long as your house. Just remember that you need to repair this siding material as soon as it develops cracks. Otherwise, it’ll begin to separate from the wall and ultimately fail within a few years.

On the other hand, go for vinyl siding if you want a more affordable option. It only costs between $3.50 and $8.50 per square foot installed. That’s about half the price of stucco siding, which costs around $8 to $15 per square foot installed.

You can further reduce the cost of vinyl siding by mounting the panels yourself. It’s far easier to install than stucco, which requires a three-layer coat. It’s also often better to have an experienced professional apply a new stucco siding.

You should also consider vinyl if you want a siding that requires little maintenance. Even if it requires an annual power washing, you can rent out a power washer that’s easy to use. Alternatively, you can hire a professional cleaner, which is still pretty affordable.

Time to Invest in the Right Siding

And there you have it, your ultimate stucco vs. vinyl siding comparison guide. Now you know that the former is a cement-based material, while the latter is plastic. You also learned that stucco lasts twice as long, but vinyl is far more affordable and easier to maintain.

So, why not use your newly-gained knowledge to decide which siding to get for your home?

If you liked this article, you’d surely love to read our other informative guides. So, browse more of our latest news and blog posts now!

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