What is Stucco Made Of

Michelle-Garcia-Headshot | October 14th, 2021

Stucco house.

Many people know about stucco but do not understand what it is made of. This article will explore the components of stucco. Furthermore, we shall consider the importance of each one of them.   


What is stucco made of?

The major components of stucco include cement, water and sand. The earliest version of stucco is made of lime, sand, and water. Modern stucco is made of Portland cement, sand, lime, and water. Some types of stucco come with acrylics and glass fibres as reinforcements to make stucco better. Glass fibres and acrylics increase the strength of stucco.

Types of stucco

Example of traditional stucco containing sand, lime and water.

Traditional Stucco

Traditional Stucco consists of sand, lime, and water. In modern days, stucco is mixed with cement to increase durability. The lime makes the stucco easy to mix and mould. Some experts prefer traditional stucco because it is versatile. When traditional stucco is properly managed, it may last up to 50 years. Traditional stucco is easy to maintain in case of cracks. It is easy to install – the time required is dependent on the size of the house. The traditional stucco is less expensive than a synthetic stucco. The use of traditional stucco is limited because you cannot achieve a lot of texture with it. There is limited colour variation. It lacks water-resistant properties, but water dries from it quickly. 

Synthetic Stucco

Synthetic stucco is different from traditional stucco because it does not contain cement and lime. Instead, it is made from acrylic resin, which is water-resistant. The synthetic stucco is more durable because the acrylic is crack-resistant. It dries quickly and is applicable over various surfaces, which makes it an excellent choice. In addition, you can achieve several textures with it. Synthetic stucco cost more than traditional stucco. Synthetic stucco does not need any maintenance because it will not crack.

Furthermore, it comes in various textures that allow you to personalize the design of the surface. One great benefit of synthetic stucco is its fire—resistance. In the case of a fire outbreak, the stucco does not give way immediately. There is no limit to the colour you can achieve with synthetic stucco while maintaining consistency. The application of synthetic stucco may require skilled personnel. This is because it dries out very fast. Therefore, DIY may not be the smartest choice. 

The process of making Stucco

Making stucco. Creative Commons – Copyright-Only Dedication* (based on United States law)
or Public Domain Certification

Several individuals prefer to buy a packaged stucco and get to work. However, you can make stucco at a construction site with the right materials. It is important to wear protective clothing when making stucco. This is because it is high in alkaline, which is not an appropriate concentration for the skin. In about five straightforward steps, you can create the stucco that you need. 

The size of stucco you want to prepare determines the preparation vessel. Usually, a wheelbarrow is the best option. The first step is to pour one five-gallon bucket of fine sand into a wheelbarrow. This is the main ingredient in the preparation of stucco. The next step involves pouring a gallon of hydrated lime into the fine sand. The hydrated lime is lime that has been treated to form calcium hydroxide on the addition of water. At this stage, it is important to state that you should avoid breathing in the dust, hence the need for appropriate protective clothing.

The next stage involves pouring about a quart of Portland cement into the mixture. Ensure you mix the dry components. The mixing is important to achieve stable consistency. We have added three ingredients thus far, and they react differently with water. After complete mixing of the components, slowly pour the water. Mix the water properly with the sand mixture with a hoe. If the mixture is still dry, add more water till you achieve the consistency of a pudding. It is important to add water slowly because excess water may cause stucco to be too wet and ineffective. 

Your stucco is finally ready to be applied internally or externally. It is essential that you keep the mixture damp. If you notice it is becoming hard during the application, add more water to maintain consistency. The application of a hard stucco makes it challenging to achieve a smooth feel when it is done.  

The benefit of stucco materials

Stucco is made of sand, water, lime, Portland cement, acrylic and glass fibres. These components work together to give stucco its unique properties. Stucco is durable and has excellent insulating properties. If you live in a noisy or hot area, stucco may be the perfect option when constructing the walls. 

Traditional stucco has lime, which increases its flexibility. It also serves as reinforcements against moisture invasion.  Portland cement gives the stucco its durability features as it is impact-resistance. It allows stucco to dry quickly because it sheds water, which leads to the escape of water vapour. 

Acrylic present in stucco is water-resistant. Creative Commons – CC2

Acrylic is an additive present in stucco that is elastic and water-resistant. Acrylic stucco can also maintain its colour in the presence of moisture. The use of traditional stucco is frowned upon in humid and wet regions because it retains water. However, with water-resistant acrylic properties, you can use it in humid environments.

Stucco has a unique ability to contract or expand depending on the temperature of the environment. However, it may develop cracks due to frequent expansion and contraction. The elastic property of acrylic increases the durability of stucco by minimizing the occurrence of cracks.

When it comes to colour, acrylic comes in variations. You can get quality, durability, and style in one place. Acrylic stucco is therefore perfect for exteriors to give the house an attractive aura. 

Finally, fibreglass may be present in stucco. It adds strength to the stucco mixture. Fibreglass also increases the water-resistant features of stucco.

The average cost of stucco that can cover 1000 square feet is $10 000. Creative Commons – Copyright-Only Dedication* (based on United States law)
or Public Domain Certification

How much does stucco cost?

When you choose a finish for your house, durability, weather resistance, and cost are factors you may consider. 

In 2021, the average cost of stucco that can cover 1000 square feet is $10 000. A Synthetic 5 gallon stucco bucket cost about $40 to $50. One bucket of stucco can cover about 100 or 250 square feet. Stucco may cost between $5 to $10 per square foot. Experts who install stucco may charge about $8 for every square foot.

Other factors that may influence the cost of stucco is the size of the house, type of stucco, and workman cost. 


In conclusion, stucco is made from sand, water, lime, cement, and other additives. You can choose to buy stucco instead of going through the stress of making it from scratch. However, making stucco is only advisable when you do not need a large quantity. There are two groups of stucco- traditional and synthetic. Factors like cost, weather, surface type and size will determine which type of stucco you need. Choose the best stucco for your home based on knowledge today.

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