Stucco vs Brick – Overview


Part I

Stucco vs Brick

Site built homes are covered with any one of a variety of materials. Many homes use a combination of materials. Two commonly combined exterior coverings are stucco and brick. Stucco and brick are used together or separately and both facades have cost saving benefits down the road. Many home owners who remodel or build for the first time consider the benefits of stucco vs brick. Both are very durable and acceptable in most community housing authorities. Some community authorities will have guidelines for color and style so beware before making any specific decisions before consulting your authority.

Selecting stucco vs brick is based on the appearance you wish to achieve. A well-informed contractor will work with you to develop just the style that is right for you. Another factor involved in the decision is energy efficiency. Both products are appropriate for all climate types. They both provide savings on energy costs for heating and cooling. While stucco is more costly in the front, the home owner will enjoy savings on the energy bills while opting for a modern appearance.

What is Stucco?

Stucco is a composite material made from water, sand and limestone. The builder will mix this material on site and apply it directly to the house as the material is mixed. Applying efficiently takes a skilled and well trained team to create the aesthetic pleasing to the eye before it dries. However, after a few practice areas, even a do it yourselfer can tackle this task.

What is Brick?

Brick is commonly used to cover the exterior of homes all across the US. When comparing stucco vs brick for popularity, brick definitely wins in all areas of the United States with the exception of the southwest where stucco is very popular. Brick is created from clay, aluminum silicates and carbonate iron. Brick is formed in a factory and fired before sending out to the worksite. The homeowner will select from many samples of brick before the brick is ordered. A professional brick layer is needed to achieve the desired effect as the brick are in varying shades of color.

Longer lasting in the bout of Stucco vs Brick?

Both stucco and brick are very durable. These materials last several years and often never have to be replaced. Neither requires any great maintenance other than some patchwork from time to time.

Aesthetics / Beauty

If you like the rustic appearance you may prefer stucco. Brick appearance is more uniform in texture and pattern. Although brick comes in many colors and patterns, the look still comes across as off the shelf. Stucco is applied by individuals on the site; therefore, the final outcome is unique to the builder. Variations exist more in stucco applications when compared to brick. Stucco is less formal than brick and creates a Southwest or Mediterranean style. Homeowners who prefer a more professional high end look will often opt for brick. The uniform appearance appeals to people who prefer the traditional European home. Contemporary home owners will often opt for brick.

Comparison of Stucco vs Brick

Bricks offer a facade to reduce energy costs and can lower homeowner’s insurance rates. Other materials have higher combustion risks. Brick does not ignite and insurance companies recognize this. Stucco does ignite so there are less likely to be discounts for stucco homes. People move around now, more than ever before. Homeowners who expect to one day sell their home might select brick due to the higher resale value offered by brick. Brick can more affordable than stucco due to shorter installation times. If you live in a hot climate, stucco offers a better insulation R value. The stucco layers over the block, fills gaps and traps heat outside. Concrete wall mortar joints are completely filled so no loss of energy is felt.

So Stucco vs Brick – Which one?

Only the homeowner can decide which factors are most important to their needs. Both stucco and brick have great benefits. When selecting brick material, you will need to consider the costs of upkeep such as cleaning and refinishing solutions. Eventually, if you want the brick painted these costs will need considering. Bricks come in a variety of durability levels. Carefully considering these options often calls for professional advice from installers or a local retailer.

Stucco can be more expensive than brick because many manufacturing facilities are overseas. Also, stucco must have a special treatment to achieve the homeowner’s desired color. A special finish is applied on site by the contractor who may charge additional fees. Regardless of your choice, ask the contractor to break down the costs for labor and materials so you can select only the most important features. A home that is already bricked can have stucco applied directly to the brick. This is an option for people who want a different look without incurring complete remodeling costs.

Costs of Stucco vs Brick

Labor costs for installation of each material vary greatly. Stucco can cost as little as $4 to as much as $9 for each square foot of wall. Brick installation, on the other hand starts at around $6 and goes up to $12 for each square foot of wall. These rates do not include the costs of material or upkeep. A homeowner must consider how long they plan to live in the home, how often they want to make changes to the front of the house, and long term financial concerns such as college tuition and retirement.


Stucco is paintable at time of installation in a variety of colors. The homeowner can instruct the contractor to create a very heavy texture or a light texture depending on your preference. Both require only minimal upkeep over the years, although brick does have a bit more maintenance requirements for appearance. Energy savings for each are similar and both are vastly better than vinyl siding or even wood. Stucco will last about 50 years or longer. Stucco is more porous than brick and stains can be expected on surfaces not sealed correctly. Also stucco is brittle and may need frequent repairs. Brick may also need repairs and these repairs are more costly than stucco.

Part II

Stucco vs Brick: The Ultimate Decision

At some point, as a new or current homeowner, you will be faced with a decision about the exterior of your home and then the battle of stucco vs. brick will begin. Many factors must be taken into consideration when deciding to use stucco vs brick for the exterior of a home. The choice depends on budget, insurance cost, architectural style, cost of future repair and the potential for home appreciation. With so many variables how can a homeowner make the correct choice? Well, by gathering as much information as possible.

The repair cost of stucco vs brick
The cost of stucco repair really depends on the size of the damage. A small hole or crack can be easily fixed by the homeowner. Material cost can vary between $20 to $50 dollars. For larger holes and cracks a professional contractor should be called-in.

Most contractors charge an upfront service fee between $100 and $150 dollars. On average a contractor will charge $12 dollars per square foot. The age of the stucco and complexity of the job will affect the cost. Of course, the price will also be affected by the local cost of living.

The cost of repairing brick is influenced by the location of the damage. If the damage is located in a tight space or an area hard to reach then it will cost more to repair. A problem with replacing brick is the age of the structure. If the home is 100 years old then finding the exact matching brick could be impossible. Depending on the size and how much labor is involved the cost of fixing a brick exterior can range from $300 to over $1,000 dollars.

Size matters with stucco repair
Stucco repair depends on the size of the crack. If the damage is long or wide and seems to be coming from a shift in the foundation then a contractor should be consulted. The good thing is that a medium to small crack can be easily fixed by the homeowner.

The following tools and supplies are needed for simple stucco repair:
-Acrylic stucco caulk
-Caulk gun
-Finishing Trowel
-Putty Knife
-Stucco paint

Directions for stucco repair
1. Make sure to clean out the crack. This can be done by using a garden hose to wash loose fragments away.
2. Using the caulk gun fill the crack with stucco caulk until it spills over.
3. Even out the excess caulk with either the finishing trowel or putty knife. The facade should be absolutely level with the remaining wall.
4. Cover the wet stucco with the sheet of plastic. It can take 3 to 4 hours for the stucco to completely dry.
5. Paint the newly dry stucco to match the original color of the exterior of the house. Make sure to blend the new paint with the old so the section repaired will not be noticeable. Then your stucco repair should be complete.

The benefits of stucco vs brick
There are many different benefits to stucco vs brick. It is up to the homeowner to decide which type of exterior will suit them best.

Stucco is made by combining limestone, sand and water. This is done on the building site. Stucco can costs between $4 and $9 per square foot. It provides a rustic appeal typically used in Mediterranean and Spanish style homes. With the correct maintenance stucco can last over 50 years. Stucco comes in thousands of different colors and texture options.

Other benefits of stucco:
-Can be used easily on flat or curved surfaces
-Durable in all types of weather and temperatures
-It is breathable so if water gets behind the stucco it will turn into vapor and not cause damage
-Homeowners have the choice to make it as simple or complex as they want
-Small to medium stucco repair can be done inexpensively by the homeowner

According to the Brick Industry Association, brick is made of clay and shell. These materials are fused together in a kiln (type of oven) at 2,000F degrees. This process makes brick non-combustible. Brick costs $6 to $12 per square foot. It can be used in all different types of homes from classic European styles to modern contemporary. Brick never has to be painted and with proper upkeep of the grout brick can last over a century. Brick is also environmentally safe and can be recycled easily.

Stucco vs brick, who is the winner?
So who wins in the battle of stucco vs brick? The choice really comes down to the homeowners taste and preferred style. If the homeowner wants to make a personal unique choice that will standout then stucco is the way to go. If the homeowner wants a more traditional look and doesn’t want the fuss of picking out textures and colors then brick would be favored.
The exterior choice of a home can affect so many different variables especial future resale value. Gather as much information as possible to make the right choice for you the homeowner.

2 Responses

  1. Kartik Maniar June 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    Is Stucco recommended for houston weather,,,,can we really or should use in houston humid weather???/

    • michael376 August 16, 2014 at 12:52 am #

      There are lots of stucco contractors in Houston. No worries.

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