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13 Types of Stucco Siding (Pros & Cons)

Stucco siding has a unique look that gives homes a seamless look. If you are curious about it, continue reading to find out more details about the types of stucco siding.

White plaster wall with plaster and stucco mix decorative peices all over wall, white decorative fireplace decorated with green plants with white flowers and white candles, white tile flooring

Stucco siding has a unique look that gives homes a seamless look. This type of exterior is ideal for a sunny and dry climate. Stucco is easy to install, resists mold, mildew, and rot is fire-retardant. Stucco is the ideal option for a house that is built in the southwestern or modern style. In addition, stucco brings out the architectural details of any home. 

Stucco is created from lime, sand, Portland cement, water, and other additives that are applied in several layers. These layers are over metal lath or wood. As a result, stucco has a large number of benefits that includes bring energy efficient, low maintenance, and being able to reduce noise.

Stucco is not the best siding for areas that are incredibly rainy or subject to earthquakes. It can repel only so much water before it becomes brittle. In addition, stucco tends to be more expensive than other options. 

Continue reading to find out more details about the types of stucco siding.

Types of Stucco Siding

While there are technically only two different types of stucco, traditional and synthetic, finishes are also included in this list. The finishes change the look of the stucco.

Cat Face Stucco Siding

Cat face stucco is easy to identify because of its large smooth areas that are evenly surrounded with small rough patches. These patches are referred to as inclusions and vary in size. They also appear at different rates with changing shapes. This type of finish requires fine or medium stucco.

The benefit of cat face stucco is that it can be used with synthetic and traditional stucco. This is an ideal option for any homeowner and any home. Even if houses next door to each have cat face stucco, they can look completely different from each other because of the random pattern of inclusions.

The cons of the cat finish are that it requires two coats of stucco. It also must be completed with the final touches by hand.

Dash Stucco Siding

Close up of brown dash stucco siding

When Dash stucco is created, it is sprayed on the house. It can be used with light, medium, and heavy stucco. Being able to choose between these options gives homes with dash stucco a unique look. Additionally, dash stucco can be used with by synthetic or traditional stucco.

The benefits of dash stucco are that it is easy to patch and a great option for homeowners that are concerned with the stucco breaking or cracking. Unfortunately, it often has a rough look to it once it has dried.

The negatives of dash stucco is that it needs two or three coats of stucco to give it a uniform look. If using a fine or heavy finish stucco, then you need someone that is skilled at constructing stucco.

English Stucco Siding

English stucco is not as common as other types of stucco finishes. However, this is a great option for the exterior of a house. This finish type is most often found on an older building, but you can still use it for new construction. 

English style stucco is most commonly paired with traditional stucco over synthetic. However, there is a large amount of variation between the houses that use English style. 

A large benefit of English stucco is that it is easy to patch and repair versus other types of stucco. In addition, when you use this type of stucco, it gives your home an older type of look. This is not a modern stucco siding option.

Float or Sand Stucco Siding

Close up of sandy colored Float or Sand stucco siding, very bumpy and textured

The Float or Sand Stucco is one of the most basic types of finish that is most often used for commercial buildings. However, if a homeowner is interested, it could be used on a residential house. 

This is a versatile finish that can be used with both synthetic or traditional stucco. In addition, it can be applied to the exterior of the house in just one coat. This is great because the job can be finished quickly. 

Float or Sand Stucco is applied with a trowel but can be sprayed on to the house. After it is sprayed, the stucco can be flattened with a trowel. It can be tight and nice up against the house. You can find this in fine, medium, and coarse finishes. 

A benefit to the float or sand stucco is this finish is easy to patch, depending on how it is applied and how the edges are feathered. This is a great option for those that worry about stucco being damaged. 

Lace and Skip Stucco

2 story home with brown skip stucco, brown tile roofing, arched doorways and windows, gravel rocks in place of a lawn, small green plants and trees, blue sky, sunny day

When you use lace and skip stucco, you can use it with both traditional and synthetic stucco. However, when you use it with traditional stucco, it has a lot more depth than with synthetic stucco. 

Lace and skip stucco can be sprayed on the exterior of the house or applied by hand with a trowel. Either way, a trowel is used to flatten the stucco. Then, a base coat is placed on the house, and texture is added to it after the fact. 

This type of stucco can be used with fine, medium, or coarse patterns and finish. This is the type of stucco is that most people picture when they envision stucco. 

This type of stucco finish can be used for commercial buildings or residences. Among the benefits of lace and skip stucco is that it has a rough texture, and because of the way it is applied, it can easily work at hiding imperfections on the house. In addition, it can have variations in the way it can look. 

One-Coat Stucco

One-coat Stucco is a great way to complete the work on your house quickly. In addition, this should be used with synthetic stucco. All of the material can be used in just one application. 

The process used in one-coat stucco combines the scratch and brown coat to speed up the work. However, the name one-coat is not quite accurate because the full coat is applied, and the finish is applied over the top coat. 

Benefits to the one-coat stucco is that it is a more affordable option. It is a fast type of stucco to apply as it takes about half the time. It costs less for labor and can save a large amount of money for the homeowner. 

There are downsides to a one-coat stucco which include that it is a thinner application that can get damaged easily. 

Santa Barbara Stucco

Santa Barbara Stucco is a traditional type of stucco that uses sand particles that are small to give the stucco a unique look when it is finished. 

This allows your home to look like an old school adobe home with an irregular finish. In addition, Santa Barbara Stucco uses cement stucco to create variations in color. 

The benefits of Santa Barbara Stucco are that it is easy to paint, making your house look even and uniform. It is critical to ensure that the walls are fog coated when they dry. It has an incredibly smooth finish. 

The downside to Santa Barbara Stucco is that it has color variations in the stucco that may not be appealing to all homeowners. It also tends to be difficult to patch and to hide the visible lines. 

Smooth Texture Stucco

Smooth Texture Stucco is a popular option for the exterior stucco for your home. It can be applied with either synthetic or traditional stucco. 

The benefits of smooth texture stucco are that it can create a mottled look by adding various colors. This type of stucco is easy to create and customize. When the proper materials are used, the lines can be eliminated on the face of the building.

The downsides to smooth texture stucco is that it tends to be more challenging to create. If you use traditional stucco, you have to make sure that you use a fine cement finish. It is essential that a professional install this type of stucco. Also, smooth texture stucco is hard to patch correctly. 

Spanish Lace Stucco

Spanish Lace Stucco is a different type of stucco finish. It has a common texture, which is often referred to as the skip-trowel finish. This style is perfect for offices and homes

Spanish lace stucco is applied in two different coats. The first is the base coat, and the second is the texture. It can be created in coarse, medium, or fine styles. 

This stucco is a combination of smooth and not quite smooth finishes. It has bumps but is not as rough as dash stucco. The bumps flatten and have grooves under them at some points. When applied lightly, it looks like lace. When applied more heavily. It looks like lace over stone. 

The benefit of a skip-trowel finish is that it is ideal for covering up flaws. In addition, it only requires two coats and not three. 

Synthetic Stucco Siding

Synthetic Stucco is a mixture of acrylic resins that is more similar to paint. When you add aggregates to synthetic stucco, it looks like traditional stucco. However, synthetic stucco has fewer problems. 

Different sizes of sand and aggregates are used for synthetic stucco to improve its look and make it more able to mimic traditional stucco. When a house is painted, it is close to impossible to tell which is traditional and which is synthetic. However, when left unpainted, it is easier to determine. 

This stucco does not contain lime or cement. It does, however, have more natural ingredients. Its base is created from acrylic resin. 

The benefits include that it is able to prevent water from entering the house. Even when there is a high amount of water, this stucco remains resistant to water. In addition, it is easy to install.

Builders are able to make dark colors with this type of stucco. 

The downside is if water does manage to get in, the stucco holds on to it. However, manufacturers have worked to resolve this problem, and the material has improved significantly.

Synthetic stucco tends to be more expensive. In addition, while synthetic stucco is stronger than traditional, an earthquake or house settling will cause it to crack. 


A three-coat stucco uses paper and wire. It has a scratch coat, brown coat, and finish coat. Those who construct stucco do not consider the finish coat a step because it always has to happen. 

With three-coat stucco, a water-resistant barrier is applied to the side of the house. Then, paper that has been infused with asphalt is applied. Next comes chicken wire that is furred is applied on the asphalt infused paper. This sticks out from the house so the stucco can be applied. 

After this, the base layer, which contains sand, lime, water, and Portland cement, is applied. Horizontal lines are scratched into the surface. Last, the brown coat is applied with a trowel to allow it to go on evenly.

The benefits of a three-coat stucco are that colors can be added in, so the house will not need to be painted. In addition, this type is stronger and more durable, which helps it hold up to water damage and wear. 

The downside is this tends to be a long process that takes several weeks. In addition, it requires a lot of material and labor, which makes it expensive. 

Traditional Stucco

Traditional Stucco is the most common installation of stucco. It is a mixture of material layered over mesh that has been wrapped around the house. This mixture is concrete from multiple aggregates. Typically, stucco was made from lime, sand, and water. Today, many materials have been added to it to help improve stability and strength. 

The main ingredient of stucco that is mixed today is Portland cement. Lime has also been added to make the stucco easier to work, as well as being more permeable. To increase its strength, glass fibers are often added. 

Some of the benefits of traditional stucco are that Portland cement adds strength to the stucco, but it must be mixed with a stable mesh base, or it could crack.

It is versatile and can be rough or smooth based on the installation. In addition, this stucco resists fire and can last as long as 50 years when installed properly. 

Worm Finish

Close up of white Wrom Finish Stucco, smooth, light texture

Worm Finish stucco is also referred to as putz or swirl finish. This is not a common style and is rarely used on houses. It has large pieces of aggregate that are pulled across the surface with a trowel. 

This leaves indentations in the stucco. The entire house looks different because there is no way to control how the aggregates move as it is pulled across the stucco. This type of stucco is a synthetic mix. 

It must be applied by a professional because it is difficult to create. In addition, it can be challenging to repair because patches look obvious on this stucco.

What is Stucco?

Stucco is a common type of siding that is cement-based. It adds texture and dimension to walls. Stucco is made from a mixture of cement, lime, sand, and water. It varies in colors and texture. 

There are two types of stucco systems: one-coat and three-coat. In addition, there is traditional and synthetic stucco, and it comes in a variety of finishes. 

How Long Does Stucco Last?

Stucco is incredibly durable and can last as long as 50 to 80 years. 

Which Type of Stucco is Best?

In general, traditional stucco is going to last longer, be more durable, and be fire resistant. It is low maintenance. Traditional stucco is more porous and dries quickly, while synthetic stucco does not. Synthetic stucco must be installed properly, or it can fall subject to water damage. 

Traditional vs Synthetic Stucco

Aside from the different materials that are used to create the two types of stucco, there are some other differences. For example, synthetic stucco is more likely to dry evenly, whereas traditional stucco does not. 

Traditional stucco is applied over the mesh, and synthetic is applied over foam board. Synthetic stucco contains resin that moves easier, making it less likely to break or crack. 

Traditional stucco is a great insulator and protects the house from changes in temperature and loud noise. However, neither traditional nor synthetic stucco can handle damp or wet climates. They can become saturated. Synthetic stucco is more resistant to this.