Considering new siding? If you love the beautiful aesthetics of stucco, you’re not alone. There’s a reason this material has been popular in decades past. However, beneath the textured, stylish look, there are some serious drawbacks that limit stucco’s appeal for homes in Michigan. Recently, James Hardie® fiber cement siding has grown in popularity—and for good reason.
The two options—stucco vs. fiber cement—come with some pretty significant differences that are worth considering before you upgrade your home exterior. Let’s take a look at how the two compare so you can make the best choice for your property with John McCarter Construction.
Both are manmade materials, but fiber cement resists moisture better, so it tends to last much longer than stucco without frequent need for repairs.
Stucco is made with a mixture of cement, sand, water, and lime, resulting in an earthy, plaster-like substance. It is applied in coats that, when completely hardened, look warm and clay-like, giving it the feel of age and durability.
Hardie siding consists of water, wood pulp, Portland cement, and fly ash or silica sand—a manmade material commonly referred to as fiber cement. This substance is nearly unbreakable. Homeowners who desire superb curb appeal that lasts for decades with low maintenance prefer Hardie siding.
Both materials require skilled installation techniques, so you’ll want to choose pros who know what they’re doing.
Stucco is always handcrafted for the individual home, which results in a unique artistic aesthetic and a personalized look. But it’s less durable—and even the most qualified professionals cannot prevent stucco from cracking. Plus, improper installation leads to stucco failure, which is costly to address.
James Hardie qualified contractors adhere to rigorous installation procedures, technical specifications, and best practices for all Hardie products. It’s best to remove older siding, including stucco, before installing new Hardie siding, which can take time. But it yields long-lasting results.
Style and Look
Architectural style and curb appeal, tailored to your needs, are important things to consider during siding replacement. Stucco and fiber cement simply have different advantages.
With stucco installed by experts, you’ll get a uniquely attractive design that gives lovely texture to your home. It’s eye-catching. However, even with stucco’s artistic aspect, it needs a lot of frequent upkeep to ensure it remains appealing over time.
The sleek and smooth styles of Hardie Board siding are incomparable. But keep in mind that fiber cement can be formed to accurately mimic stucco as well as cedar siding. If you want the earthy tones and curb appeal of stucco without the complicated maintenance, James Hardie siding is a great choice.
Another important element to consider when updating your home’s exterior is how long your siding material will last. Longer is better, especially if it’s also easy to care for. And here, Hardie siding shines above other materials.
Stucco is durable and resistant to fire and termite infestation—but it does best in a hot, dry, desert-like climate. Since stucco does not perform well in environments that experience heavy precipitation or excessive moisture, it’s not the most durable siding for Michigan weather. There is a high probability that stucco installed in this part of the country will ultimately develop cracks that need frequent repair to prevent moisture damage to your home.
Hardie siding is warrantied up to 30 years, and it typically lasts much longer. Fiber cement is resistant to fire, mold, woodpeckers, insects, and rot. Perhaps the biggest benefit fiber cement has over stucco is that it resists moisture without wearing down or cracking.
Stucco and fiber cement require vastly different levels of care, another major reason why many homeowners prefer Hardie siding.
Regular inspections are required with stucco because it is prone to weather damage from Michigan storms. Water trapped in stucco can cause white, powdery blotches that ruin the stylistic integrity of the siding, as well as produce cracks. Moisture can sneak behind the stucco too, leading to hidden rot. You’ll need to repair holes and cracks quickly to help prevent costly damage later on.
Hardie siding requires less maintenance since it resists weather, moisture, pests, fading and peeling. A gentle, annual cleaning with soapy water, soft nylon bristle brush, and garden hose, is usually all that is needed.
Both stucco and fiber cement are green choices for a home’s siding choice, but Hardie siding adds less to landfills.
Although stucco is eco-friendly, its inability to resist water can reduce indoor air quality. Any homeowner with allergies may prefer fiber cement siding. Also, stucco’s need for frequent repair means it ends up in the trash more often than fiber cement.
James Hardie’s long-lasting siding is replaced much less often than other materials, including stucco giving it a smaller carbon footprint. This has always been a huge benefit to fiber cement siding.
Material and installation costs, as well as future maintenance expenses, are all important concerns when you replace your siding.
Stucco is a labor-intensive process, and this is reflected in its overall cost. It can produce additional expenses for repairs too.
Fiber cement often costs less to install than stucco. But its most impressive value is found in the much lower maintenance needs and longer-lasting nature of fiber cement. In these areas, Hardie siding gives you a greater return on investment.
Enjoy Lasting Replacement Siding for Your Home
Upgrading your home exterior doesn’t have to be difficult or frustrating. Lovely Hardie siding fits any architecture and is exceptional at standing up to Michigan’s weather extremes.
As as a James Hardie Elite Preferred Contractor, we ensure you get topnotch installation results. Discover how fiber cement siding can boost your curb appeal for years to come.