Understanding stucco prices:
All forms of stucco, to be properly applied, require that the applicator follow a system specific to the desired finish. Within the system there are fixed prices for material – EIF system acrylic is around $4.50 per foot (increases may occur as much as twice a year), and fluctuating prices for labour – which can change simply because of worksite conditions. Height, terrain and time of year can have significant ramifications to a contractor. How a contractor balances quality, production and experience within their staff will affect cost as well. An abundance of corners and custom profiles, chosen by the owner or designer, will add cost to a project. Regionally the biggest factor in pricing will occur due to market conditions and competition.
When measuring a structure for purposes of pricing the exterior cladding you must measure the exterior wall surface to get the square footage, (the interior square footage will provide only the barest understanding of scope of work to a contractor). As windows and doors require so much attention their area is not removed, (with the exception of garage doors or window walls).Though there are variations in the 3 systems specified within this web-site that will affect pricing you can expect the price range for:
- California stucco to range from $6 to $7 per square foot.
- Acrylic stucco to range from $9.50 to $11 per square foot.
- EIFS acrylic to range from $10 to $12 per square foot.
These prices are based upon performance that meets the Alberta Wall & Ceiling Bureau recommendations, Alberta’s code compliance, and specific system manufactures specifications. If you are receiving one or more quotes that are significantly below these rates proceed with caution as I do not believe it can be done without compromising the integrity of the system.
Something to think about in regards to EIFS, other stucco systems and all other wall system applications – be it vinyl siding or brick: The Government of Alberta has code requirements in place for all approved forms of wall claddings but no enforcement arm to insure compliance. There are no governmentally required inspections performed on any exterior wall cladding system! You, as the customer, are somewhat protected when it comes to the inside of your home with inspections at every major stage; framing, electrical, plumbing and insulation to name the major ones. For exterior wall cladding systems you are solely dependent upon the integrity of the system applicator! System manufacturers are in the business of selling product and they will provide warranties that range from 5 – 12 years, (for stucco companies), that are approved by them. If the applicator fails to apply the system correctly then the warranty provided may be void. Manufacturers do not police projects and take on faith that the approved applicators follow their training.
For your own protection my recommendations for accepting an EIF system quote are;
- Get recommendations from system suppliers. Ask them to direct you to the three best companies who they are confident will perform to the system specifications. In Edmonton the various EIF system products sold, that are most familiar to me, are Synergy, Sto, Akrilon and Dryvit.
- View the system specification that can be found on the internet.
- Get in writing that the company will perform to the system specifications and that the product used is approved for use in Canada.
- Armor mesh is a heavy reinforcing mesh designed to add impact resistance to the EIF system and is typically applied to the lower portion of walls that are more likely to require resistance. This mesh is especially important around door openings. Make sure it’s included.
- Insure that you understand system requirements for window and door penetrations.
- Use caution when paying the contractor. Pay based upon percentage of work completed to date less a 10% hold back – per invoice. Final invoice and hold backs to be paid only upon final completion and acceptance of the work performed. Smaller projects may require only one invoice.
- Be aware that in EIFS the base coat, known as “Primus” is a glue that has Portland cement added to it and is sold in five gallon pails, (or dry in bags-add water only). Primus is used to adhesively apply the foam board to the wall and to apply the outer mesh to the foam board. To be compliant with system specifications you are supposed to divide a pail in two and add an equal measure of cement to the glue by weight. This should result in two pails of base coat that are about ¾ full. It is not uncommon for some to add additional cement and water to “stretch” the glue content to reduce their cost. This is the most common – but not only – form of “cheating”.