Stucco experts patch, repair or replace exterior stucco on homes and commercial buildings or walls. Stucco is a fine, cement-like plaster used to clad the exterior of buildings and walls. Stucco surfaces are often made up of multiple layers, and the process requires certain temperature and humidity levels to dry properly. Professionals have the expertise and tools to create a properly finished stucco surface or to repair cracks and other damage to existing stucco. Even if you’re an experienced handy person, it makes sense to hire a stucco expert if you have an area to repair that’s larger than 10 square feet.
Traditional stucco is a mix of cement, sand lime and water. It is used on exteriors, while regular plaster is used indoors. Traditional stucco finishes are made up of a paper layer, a wire layer, a stucco layer and a finish coat. Synthetic stucco is made of layers of foam insulation board, a coat of synthetic stucco, fiberglass mesh and an acrylic top coat. Traditional stucco is a bit more durable—that is, harder—and works well in wetter climates. Synthetic stucco, aka exterior insulation finishing system (EIFS), is quite energy-efficient and lends itself to ornate or curvy designs because it does not use the rigid wire backing of traditional stucco. Traditional stucco is cheaper than EIFS, with materials costing about 5 cents to 10 cents per square foot compared with 25 cents to 50 cents per square foot for synthetic. To determine what kind of stucco you have, press on the surface. An EIFS surface will give a bit, while standard stucco will not.
Professionals, who may specialize in stucco and exteriors or who may be general contractors, typically work up a project fee after inspecting an area in need of repair or after they understand the scope of a new stucco job. Quotes can range from a few hundred dollars for a minor repair to a few thousand dollars for new stucco on an entire home or large expanse of wall. Most contractors charge an hourly rate of $40–$50, plus the cost of materials, which can add $2–$5 per hour. As with other tradespeople, many stucco contractors quote a fixed price for projects and stick to that price, unless major unforeseen issues arise.
Upper or lower floor
Stucco repairs on the upper story of a two-story home often cost more because the contractor has to work on a ladder or on scaffolding. The cost to rent scaffolding varies widely, depending on the height and width of the building walls. Rental companies may charge by the day, week or month. A ballpark figure for scaffolding that gives access to an upper story is about $50 a day.
Extent of damage
Stucco contractors base cost estimates on the amount of time required to make repairs as well as the cost of materials, which include stucco mix, vapor barrier material, a metal lath and mix for the finishing layer. Damage that requires removal and replacement of larger sections—or if damage extends down to the paper or lath layer—costs more to repair.
Size of area needing repair
Larger areas in need of repair typically cost more, but taking care of multiple small cracks at one time will likely save money overall.
- Homes with architectural details, such as shutters or unusually shaped windows, that the stucco contractor must work around, typically take longer to finish and can cost as much as $400–$500 more, depending on how many of these details the pro must work around.