Stucco is a proven wall cladding that formed its roots centuries ago. Its current three most popular forms are:
“California” finish, which is typically applied as a three coat concrete system over paper and wire lath with a final texture applied over the colour coat. This style of stucco is typically the most economical form of finish product available in stucco and has maintained its popularity because it provides durability, longevity, colour variety, impact resistance, sound proofing, water resistant, and all with a nearly maintenance free existence. PROPERLY applied this product will be worry free for the life of your home or office building. There are only two concerns a person may have in choosing this system. A) Though there are a large variety of colours available to choose from it is still more limiting then in an acrylic system. There is also greater risk of colour changes the darker the colour you choose. Colour changes occur due to something as simple as changes in air temperature as well as improper installation. B) The potential for cracking that is inherent in a cement wall cladding that can span large surface areas. This is a problem that is addressed with the proper introduction of expansion joints and other techniques recommended by the Wall & Ceiling Bureau of Alberta which will minimize cracking. That said, no one could or should guarantee against cracking. When applying this product there are simply too many factors that can go into the cause of cracking, many of which are outside the control of the stucco applicator. I.e. settling of the structure and expansion and contraction caused by moisture content and temperature. If you experience cracking where the cracks exceed 2mm than it is more likely to be due to faulty lathing installation at the beginning of the stucco system and the company that installed it should be held accountable – if upon investigation this proves to be true. The primary locations where your likely to find cracking is at any wall penetration – such as window and door openings – where the structure is weakened and you’ll find cracks running diagonally from the corners.
“Acrylic” is a finish which is also a three coat system over paper and wire lath with two concrete layers and a smooth textured acrylic finish. The smoother finish is created by the 1-3mm aggregate within the finish product. NOTE: It is essential to insure your stucco contractor is using and elastomeric finish rather than the cheaper product meant for the EIF system. The elastomeric coating permits more stretching of the finish coat allowing the bridging of the hairline cracking inherent in a cement stucco system. This type of stucco has all the benefits of the California style but with the added benefits of limitless colour choices and reduction in visible hairline cracking. It also provides a look that is widely considered to be more modern.
“EIFS” stands for Exterior Insulating Finishing System and – as the name implies – adds insulating value to your home or commercial building. The EIF system offers unlimited colour and design potential. Custom profiles of all sizes and design can be added to beautify any structure – be it residential or commercial – and at a price that defies its stone or concrete counterparts.