What Is A Synthetic Stucco? Advantages Of Synthetic Stucco
What Is A Synthetic Stucco?
Synthetic Stucco, also known as Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS), is a type of exterior cladding that is used to provide insulation, weather protection, and thermal and moisture control to buildings.
This system is made up of three main components: a foam plastic insulation board that is attached to an exterior wall surface or substrate, such as plywood or polystyrene; a water-resistant base coat that is made of polymer-based or acrylic cement material reinforced with fiberglass mesh; and a top coat finish that gives the exterior an authentic stucco-like appearance.
Synthetic Stucco was first developed in Europe after World War II to retrofit buildings with damaged masonry walls. It became widespread in the late 1960s primarily used on commercial buildings because of its insulating properties, versatility in architectural styles, and cost-effectiveness.
The exterior barrier type system was mostly installed over brick, concrete, stone and other durable materials in commercial applications.
In the early 1980s, synthetic Stucco also became popular in residential applications, commonly installed over wood frame construction. Synthetic Stucco is typically used as a barrier system and often used as an alternative to traditional stucco in exterior commercial construction or residential building walls.
It provides great external insulation, weather protection, and thermal and moisture control. It’s also often used to provide attractive, low-maintenance siding that enhances the energy efficiency of the building’s exterior walls, saving energy costs.
There are a few ways to check if a building has synthetic stucco. One way is to touch the exterior wall and feel if the material is plastic. Another way is to do the knock test, and if it sounds hollow and thin, it’s most likely synthetic stucco.
Another way is to push the wall area gently. If it feels soft, then it’s probably synthetic stucco. If you also notice a slight give or indentation on the area, then it’s synthetic stucco.
Types Of Synthetic Stucco
Synthetic stucco, also known as EIFS, comes in two main types: Barrier Wall System and Wall Drainage System.
The Barrier Wall System relies on a base coat and sealants to prevent water and moisture penetration while the Wall Drainage System uses a water-resistive barrier and insulation to create a pathway for any water or moisture that may accumulate in the wall cavity to move out and prevent damage to the underlying walls and interior.
Synthetic Stucco can come in various finishes and textures, with popular options including Santa Barbara Finish, Sand Finish, Smooth Finish, Lace Finish and Cat Face Finish. These options may vary depending on the manufacturer.
Advantages Of Synthetic Stucco
There are several advantages of synthetic stucco. One of the main advantages is that it has great insulation properties. Due to its multiple layers, synthetic stucco provides good insulation to the exterior part of the building or house.
As a result, it helps keep the commercial or residential building cooler in the summer and warmer during the winter. Good insulation properties, in turn, increases home energy efficiency and reduce energy costs.
Another advantage of synthetic stucco is that it is durable and elastic. Thanks to its multiple layers and fiberglass, synthetic stucco is more durable and flexible, withstanding harsh weather conditions and other elements.
It’s also highly resistant to crumbling, fading, thermal expansion, chalking, shifting foundations, and cracking due to thaw/freeze cycles.
Synthetic Stucco also offers design flexibility. It offers a wide selection of textures, colors, shapes, and finish choices, allowing homeowners to choose a siding that suits their preferences and needs. It also enhances the building’s curb appeal by providing a good backdrop to add accents and other exterior ornaments.
Finally, synthetic stucco is low-maintenance. It provides ease of maintenance as it can be easily cleaned using regular general cleaning products and by hosing the dirt down. It also rarely needs repainting as scratches won’t damage the color because it’s not applied to the surface.
Also, the final color coat protects the surface. Synthetic Stucco can also last up to 50 years when properly maintained.
Disadvantages Of Synthetic Stucco
Installing synthetic stucco can be difficult as it requires professional skills and techniques, and each manufacturer has a different system. If not installed properly, it can lead to destructive problems such as damage to your house or commercial building.
One major issue with synthetic stucco is its non-breathable nature, which can trap water and lead to moisture intrusion.
This can cause a variety of problems, such as rotting of wood beams, cracking of drywall, mold and mildew growth, pest infestations, peeling paint and even delamination of the synthetic stucco from the building’s exterior. If these issues do arise they can be costly to repair due to the materials and labor fees required.
How Long Does Synthetic Stucco Last?
Synthetic stucco, also known as EIFS, is a durable and long-lasting material that can last up to 50 years when properly cared for and maintained. However, to maintain the aesthetic appeal it is recommended to paint it every 5-7 years and to let professional commercial paint contractors do it.
Repairing synthetic stucco is only a temporary solution it’s better to consider a total replacement. To maintain synthetic stucco, it is essential to regularly check for water damage and other moisture-related problems to prevent further damage to the building structure.
Cleaning the synthetic stucco using the soft wash method from time to time will also help to keep its durability and excellent finish look. Remember, using traditional high-pressure wash systems can damage and blast away the synthetic stucco’s exterior so it’s essential to use proper techniques when cleaning.