While stucco has long been a cost-effective exterior finish for homes in Colorado Springs, there are some important things we’d like you to consider before covering your home in stucco.
Stucco mix consists of cement, sand, and water. However, sand and water are extremely important to the durability and strength of stucco, and because they are almost always mixed in the field, the amounts are prone to human error and their performance is also effected by wind, temperature, and humidity or the lack thereof.
Stucco is applied in one or more coats from 3/8 to 7/8 inch thickness using a hand trowel or a spray hopper much like textured drywall finish. As a result of these installation methods and no accurate measurement tools, thickness is usually determined by the experience of the applicator.
Problems With Stucco
Because 50% of the manufacturing process takes place in the field and there are few precise installation tools Stucco has some major issues. Unknown to most homeowners, stucco has inherent issues that the industry calls normal and accepted.
Cracking – Cracking is one of the largest complaints from homeowners with stucco homes. All stucco cracks are the result of stucco releasing stresses placed on it by shrinkage, expansion or other movement. Depending on size, cracks can run the gauntlet from invisible to unsightly, to the cause of major water intrusion, if they aren’t addressed in a timely manner.
Inconsistent Coat Thickness – When a coat is inconsistent, its strength varies. Thin areas aren’t strong enough to resist cracking. Achieving a uniform thickness can be particularly difficult with open-frame construction; if sheathing is installed only at corners or above and below windows, it creates an uneven surface for applying the stucco. As a result, the stucco is likely to be thinner over studs and thicker across stud bays. Stucco is particularly susceptible to cracking around windows and trim boards, where it’s applied thicker to create architectural character.
Inconsistent thickness can also lead to shade variance in both pre-colored finish coats and field applied painted finishes.
Insufficient Hydration – Causes the system to not cure properly. This causes the multiple coats to act as one coat, creating greater stresses on the system, causing larger and deeper cracks. Each coat must be allowed to dry and cure before the next coat is applied or they will simultaneously cure with tremendous pressure and shear placed on the system with cracking and potential tearing of the metal lath underneath the stucco. Hydration can be adversely affected by dry climates, high temperatures, wind, or direct sunlight especially here in Colorado!
Efflorescence – When painting on stucco, the pH (alkalinity) of the surface as well as moisture trapped under paint have been associated with efflorescence or white blooming problems. White powdery blotches appearing in the painted stucco surface are usually blooms of efflorescence caused by painting over cracks or other areas of extra moisture absorption in the stucco surface.
Where recently-applied stucco was not adequately cured, and where surface alkalinity remained too high (pH over 11) white efflorescence blooms are particularly common. This painting error, sometimes the fault of rushing the paint job, leads to both cosmetic defects and early paint failure.
Warranty – No Stucco manufacturer warrants their product and for good reasons:
- 50% of the manufacturing process is done in the field by untrained installers.
- There are no quality control checks/procedures in the field
- Mixing stucco at best is an inexact science.
- Installation tools (trowels and sprayers) and measuring devises (shove fulls) are rudimentary and unreliable.
- Mixing, Installing, and Curing are performed outside in an uncontrollable environmental climate.
- Mixing, Curing, and Installing stucco is like baking a cake, using a memorized family recipe, and susceptible to human interpretation and error.
Limited Design – Stucco is limited in regards to design choice: There are only 4 textures and 1 smooth choice. Stucco relies upon color for flexible Design.
James Hardie has more than 3 times the design choices of Stucco!
Why Choose James Hardie siding over Stucco for homes in Colorado?
- Naturally fire resistant (Rated non-combustible)
- Naturally moisture & water resistant
- Good impact resistance
- Full line of soffit and trim products available
- Green & Sustainable
- Potential insurance discounts
- HardiePlank® siding carries a 30-year product warranty!
Why Settle For Stucco Colorado Springs? – when you can have James Hardie Siding!
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Colorado Springs James Hardie Siding Contractor
If you are looking for expert installation, professional workmanship and outstanding service for your James Hardie siding investment, look no further than Siding Pro. Contact us for a free James Hardie siding consultation.