Synthetic Stucco vs Traditional Stucco.

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Synthetic Stucco vs Traditional Stucco.

Stucco House

Stucco Walls

Are you trying to decide between Synthetic Stucco (EIFS) or Traditional Stucco?

Making the right choice between these two Stucco options can be confusing but in many cases it can comes down to a simple matter of opinion.

Stucco House

Stucco Walls

First inform yourself of what each has to offer:


Traditional Stucco has been used for thousands of years through out the world. Traditional stucco is basically made of cement, sand and water. Hydrated lime is added to make the stucco more workable or easier to spread. Other additives such as acrylics and fibers may also be added.

Traditional Stucco Advantages:

  • Stronger then Synthetic
  • More durable (especially against physical damage)
  • Deals with moisture better (dries quickly when wet)
  • More resistant to fire then EIFS
  • Material cost is usually lower then EIFS
  • More textures available

Note: If your structure is located in a traditionally wet or moist area or if your walls are susceptible to physical damage you may want to consider Traditional stucco.


Synthetic Stucco (EIFS) has been around since the late 1950’s and  1960’s as it was originally developed for the repair of wall damages on European properties after World War 2. Synthetic stucco rose in popularity in the late 1960’s early 1970’s when Dryvit Systems introduced it to the United States at a time when there was an increased demand for Energy Efficient wall systems stemming from a ongoing oil embargo at the time. Synthetic Stucco is basically installed with a foam board on the surface of the wall followed by a wire mesh and usually two coats. 

Synthetic Stucco Advantages:

  • Maintains shade of color better then traditional stucco.
  • More flexible/ Easier to use on curved surfaces ( allows for more ornate designs)
  • More energy efficient
  • Can resist damages from weather and temperature better (due to higher level of elasticity)
  • Repels water ( has been described as water resistant) (note: must be properly installed)
  • Better insulator

Note: If you have plans of a complex design for your stucco wall or if you are more interested in energy efficiency; synthetic stucco may be the answer.  Keep in mind if your structure’s foundation has a higher susceptibility to adjustments/ movements the flexibility in synthetic stucco may prove beneficial. 


Stucco Wall

Stucco walls

While deciding between Traditional Stucco and Synthetic Stucco can be confusing, both have a large appeal as they both can be very beneficial and aesthetically pleasing. The main point is to ensure proper installation by competent stucco contractors. 

Note: EIFS systems, especially, must be properly installed to avoid major water damages in the future. This is because since synthetic stucco will not absorb the water and subsequently dry off (like traditional stucco), the water can enter the wall and have no way of draining out, if not properly installed.  

Traditional Stucco Maintenance VS Synthetic Stucco Maintenance 

Both of these systems are considered low maintenance. Although traditional stucco may have a slightly higher tendency to darken over time due to water absorption; both of these can be painted over when desired.

It is always recommended that one looks at both systems in person before making their decision.

Tip: A quick tip to determining whether a stucco wall is traditional or synthetic is:

  • Press against the stucco wall. Traditional Stucco when installed correctly is usually very hard whereas synthetic stucco might give a little.
  • Knock against the stucco wall, Synthetic usually sounds somewhat hollow.


Make sure to reach out to your local Tidy Stucco Expert if you have any questions or concerns.

Tidy Stucco Contractors



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1 Comment

  1. […] you have traditional stucco (see more on traditional stucco here) then painting over your stucco will reduce its beneficial water absorption […]

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