Love the look of stucco? It’s beautiful but comes with some major drawbacks for the exterior of a Morris County home. Let’s compare stucco side-by-side with fiber cement siding. You might be surprised by what we find.
Stucco for Your Home?
Stucco is made with a mixture of cement, sand, and water. It’s built up in coats, each about ⅜ to ⅞ in depth, using a hand trowel or sprayer. When finished, stucco looks warm and clay-like. In terms of the overall effect, there’s definitely something special about stucco.
However, behind the beauty, there are some serious flaws. It’s not ideal for a home in New Jersey unless you’re willing to accept the following issues.
Unevenness: If crisp, level lines are important to you, stay far away from stucco. It is, by nature, a quirky material with grooves and waves. For example, it’s often thinner over studs and thicker across stud bays, due to the hand-applied process.
Lack of precision: No matter how professionally it is installed, it will always be a handcrafted job with variations between individual people. These small variations, which are no big deal at first, can lead to settling and cracking over time.
Shrinkage and cracks: Speaking of cracks, did you know that cracking is an industry-accepted quality of stucco? There is almost a 100% chance that your stucco will eventually develop cracks. That’s why NO stucco manufacturer in the world warrants their product.
Hydration/drying issues: Stucco needs to dry and cure coat by coat, but unpredictable New Jersey weather can prevent this from happening properly. Sudden high temperatures, or even just a very windy day, can forever destroy the integrity of your stucco during the curing process.
Water problems: Stucco is also prone to water and ice damage from storms. Water trapped in the stucco can cause white, powdery blotches that ruin the cosmetic integrity of your exterior.
Design limits: Despite its artistic application process, there really are a limited number of ways to vary the texture and color of stucco. Colors are usually earth tones unless you want to take a risk with bold hues. There are 4 basic textures offered by most installers.
About Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement siding is made with water, wood pulp, portland cement, and fly ash or silica sand. When these ingredients are mixed, they form a mighty bond that’s almost unbreakable.
At first glance, fiber cement siding might look like wood or masonry. In fact, you’ve probably seen hundreds of houses that have it, and you never even realized it – even up close.
Comparing to Stucco
When you compare fiber cement siding to stucco, it’s easy to see significant differences. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Precision: Unlike stucco, which is naturally uneven, fiber cement siding can create crisp lines across your home. Whether you choose strips, shingles, clapboards, or stone shapes, you can rest assured that the finished effect will be precise.
Moisture: Fiber cement siding is the clear winner in terms of moisture proofing and water resistance. It’s made to shed water, unlike dampness-prone stucco.
Cost: Stucco lovers, be prepared to pay what it takes, because stucco is a labor-intensive process that can include unexpected costs along the way. If you’re more price sensitive, go for fiber cement siding. It comes in a wide variety of price points and its easier installation can save you thousands.
Impact resistance: New Jersey is famous for lightning storms, snowstorms, and other extreme weather. That’s why strong impact resistance is a point in favor of fiber cement siding.
Sustainability: Stucco seems environmentally friendly, but consider this: Its inability to resist water can make it a hazard to your indoor air quality. Anyone with allergies should seriously reconsider stucco. Fiber cement siding is produced using high sustainability standards, has a long lifespan, and uses fewer resources to install. It’s actually the greener choice.
Beauty: The old saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” certainly applies here. If you love stucco, nothing else will substitute. But if you want a look that echos stucco without all the hassles, fiber cement siding is a better choice.
Install James Hardie Siding—The Right Way
Get a reliable James Hardie Siding Contractor that stands behind their work to install your siding the right way. In Morris County, you can rely on American Home Contractors for a free, no obligation quote and siding service that meets the highest standards.