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hardcoat stucco vs eifs

Stucco creates a beautiful appearance for the exterior of you home. Its unique look makes it popular among discerning homeowners. Yet, if you aren’t a home exteriors expert, you might not know that there are actually two different types of stucco that are typically used or what the difference is. Here’s a look at hard coat stucco and EIFS stucco, and why one makes more sense for Colorado homes. 

What Are the Two Types of Stucco? 

Hard coat stucco, also called traditional stucco, is an outer coating for your home composed mainly of Portland cement, lime, sand, and mixed with water. Today’s hard coat stucco may also include other additives.  

Traditional stucco creates a hard, rock-like finish with an interesting texture. It’s applied in one to three coats, depending on the existing exterior it’s being applied over. It can be applied directly to masonry or concrete walls or applied in two to three coats over a metal lath placed on any other home exterior surface. This process has been used for hundreds of years. Metal flashings are used to carry water away from the surface. 

EIFS stucco refers to Exterior Insulation and Finish System, also called synthetic stucco. It’s made of acrylic and applied in several 1/8” layers over polystyrene or some other insulation board on top of plywood or some other exterior sheathing. The look of EIFS stucco is very similar to hard coat stucco, but the two types are very different in other ways. 

What Are the Benefits? 

Both types of stucco are fire-resistant. Both are visually appealing. Yet, there are differences that are worth considering before you choose. 

EIFS stucco became popular in the 1970s, especially for stucco patching, because of its energy efficiency. However, as it turns out, EIFS stucco is only slightly more energy efficient than hard coat stucco. It’s also more flexible and softer. That makes it work well if you’re going to have ornate accents. It also makes it more easily damaged. 

As for hard coat stucco, it has many other advantages. First, traditional stucco is much harder, so it provides a good barrier against woodpeckers, dings from bumping against it or hitting it with a stray golf ball, or hail.  

In areas like Colorado, where snow and rain are often abundant, hard coat stucco makes sense because it is more resistant to water damage. It absorbs less water, and water is less likely to get behind the stucco and cause rot.  

Cost can be another factor, as hard coat stucco is a bit less expensive than synthetic stucco. In the long run, it brings an even greater cost benefit, because it holds up better over time. You’ll need to spend less to keep it looking and performing well over the long term. 

Of course, the choice is entirely up to you. However, talking to an expert can ensure that you make the most informed decision possible. To get a better idea of which is right for your home, contact GS Exterior Experts by calling (720) 683-6288. Or, you can drop us a message using our Contact Us form to set up a consultation. We are a Colorado home improvement company providing stucco and more to help you create a pleasing, durable, and safe home for yourself and all the special people in your life. 

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