While stucco isn’t exactly a hip new trend when it comes to home exterior choices in Upstate South Carolina, we’ve seen our share in the area. It’s actually one of the oldest and most common home exterior options worldwide, and when done right, its curb appeal is unmatched. Wondering if stuccoed brick is a good choice for a custom home exterior?
Stucco has its pros and cons, and whether or not it’s the right choice will largely come down to a few important details. First, let’s take a closer look at just what it is.
What is Stucco?
Stucco is a kind of plaster used in both residential and commercial building exteriors, although you’ll often see it in home interiors, too. One of the oldest types of home exteriors in history, you’ll find remnants of stucco on the exteriors of ancient Greek ruins today.
It’s made using lime, sand (or, more recently, Portland cement), and water. Essentially, builders put together a wire framework around the outside of the home, apply the wet stucco in layers, and allow it to dry into a solid and durable finish.
It has a very distinctive “flat” appearance, and once you see a few examples of it in use, you’ll realize it’s not uncommon to spot stuccoed brick homes in Upstate South Carolina, too!
Why would someone choose stuccoed brick for a home exterior? Here are a few of the positives to choosing stucco:
Pros: Fire Resistant, Inexpensive, and Durable
First off, stucco can add serious fire resistance to your home, due to the method of application. Since it’s applied in several layers that are allowed to cure over time, it’s an incredibly thick home exterior that is tough for fire to burn through. Just one inch of stucco on your home exterior can add a full hour to your fire rating.
Second, it’s incredibly cost-effective long term! There’s some significant investment during the initial application and the time you’ll need to allow it to fully dry, but it won’t need the same level of maintenance, upkeep, or replacement as other home exterior options. It also lends itself well to customization — it can be applied ‘rough’ for a more rustic look, smooth for a subtle finish, or patterned to give a unique curb appeal. You can also add stones or other decorative features to up the totally custom look.
Another big positive to choosing stuccoed brick for your home exterior? The sky is the limit when it comes to color choices! While Brick exteriors have a very limited range of colors (unless you choose to paint over the natural look), but really any color of your choice can either be mixed in with the stucco prior to application, or painted over with an acrylic finish.
A word of warning: Do not try to paint a stucco exterior with the wrong type of exterior paint, and absolutely do not attempt to have the home’s exterior painted before the stucco is fully dry. You’ll undermine the durability of your home, and you’ll end up having to repaint anyway.
Finally, cement-based stucco is incredibly insect-resistant, as well as resistant to rot and fungus. Stuccoed brick homes are durable and long-lasting — one of the main reasons this ancient choice for a home exterior has stood the test of time.
So… Is There a Downside to Stucco?
Unfortunately, there are a few.
Stucco works well at repelling moisture in a normal temperate climate, but in very rainy environments it can become oversaturated and make it difficult for the wood frame or other building materials to dry out.
It’s also fairly brittle, so it’s not exactly a great choice in environments where the ground might be prone to shifting. Obviously we’re not too worried about big earthquakes here in the Upstate, but even ground located too near a water source, in which occasional floods could cause saturation, the home could shift over time and cause serious exterior issues.
Really, the devil is in the details when it comes to a stucco exterior. Not only is it vulnerable to damage from any stray baseballs or other flying debris, tiny hairline cracks can develop simply with the passage of time. These are pretty easily patched with an elastomeric sealant, which you can pick up right at your local home improvement store. Still, you’ll want to inspect your home annually to make sure the cracks get patched before they grow too big.
Plus, keep an eye out for woodpeckers, who are strangely attracted to stucco and can actually peck large enough holes to cause potential water damage.
What’s the Final Verdict on Stucco?
It’s really up to you. If the stucco look is an essential aspect of your perfect dream home and your choice of land is suitable for it, the positives absolutely outweigh the potential drawbacks. On the other hand, if you’ve always dreamed of living right next to a creek, or you’re not willing to deal with the wait in allowing it to fully dry, it’s probably not the choice for you.
If you’re still on the fence, we’d we’d be happy to sit down with you at our Design Center and walk you through your options and make sure that your final decision is the right one for turning your dream home into a reality.
Our family here at Five Star Construction has been building homes in and around Greenville, South Carolina for more than two decades, so we’ve got the experience, the reputation, and the dedication you’re searching for. Get started building your luxury dream home by calling (864) 303-9143 or by contacting us online today.