Stucco Systems vs. Exterior EIFS: What Should You Use?

Proper insulation is a must in any structure because it helps manage interior temperatures. For this reason, people go the extra mile to find the best quality insulation material. However, this is also tricky because not all insulation is made equal. The good news is that there are two high-quality options to choose from: stucco systems and exterior EIFS.

Stucco systems and exterior EIFS are high-functioning yet low-maintenance materials, so they’re the ideal choices for building insulation. However, both materials have their strengths and weaknesses, so they’re not always interchangeable. For this reason, one must be aware of their backgrounds and what they offer to a building. We’ll discuss the details in this article, so read on below to get started.

How Stucco Systems Work

Stucco systems are advanced building materials that are used to improve aesthetics, as well as insulate and protect the building from moisture. These building materials are composed of sand, cement, and water, then applied to masonry walls. However, these materials aren’t applied to the exterior of the building. Stucco systems must be installed with care so that the building’s exterior doesn’t get compromised during the installation.

Stucco systems come in two forms:

Three-Coat Stucco

This stucco system is composed of three coats: the scratch coat, the brown coat, and the finish coat. The scratch coat is the layer of plaster that’s applied to the masonry wall. On the other hand, the brown coat is the layer of cement applied on the previous layer to seal the stucco system, as well as provide extra insulation to the building. It’s best to let the stucco system dry for about a week before applying the finish coat. The finish coat is sand, cement, and water, which gives the stucco system its smoothness.

One-Coat Stucco

One-coat stucco is composed of only one coat, a mixture of sand, cement, and water. This type of stucco system is often used as an insulator because it provides two to three times the R-value of single-ply insulation. This makes one-coat stucco systems one of the most sought-after exterior insulators.

More about the EIFS

The EIFS is a synthetic plastic material applied to the exterior of the building. This exterior insulation system is composed of a water-resistant composite material plastered on the exterior walls. This material comprises a plastic layer, a drainage plane, and a partially pre-painted gypsum core. The drainage plane allows water to drain out of the plastic layer, while the gypsum core acts as the support system of the EIFS.

When you use EIFS, you can reap the following benefits:

Energy Efficiency

EIFS insulates a building well enough to prevent air from escaping the building. This means that you save up on your energy bills. You don’t have to worry about the hot air inside the rooms escaping into the outside air because of the seal it creates.


EIFS is resistant to cracks, which is excellent news for homeowners. The cracks that appear on your exterior walls can cost you a great deal of money because they worsen over time, so this is one investment that you don’t want to lose.

Moisture Control

Because of the drainage plane of the EIFS, any moisture that goes through the building’s exterior gets drained out. This means that your building will be protected from moisture-related damage, which helps you save up on future repairs.

Flexible Application

Because the EIFS is a synthetic material, you can mold it into any shape. This makes it easier to include other applications like windows, trim, and walls.

What Should You Choose?

The decision to pick either stucco systems or exterior EIFS is challenging. After all, both materials offer excellent insulation, water resistance, and durability. However, the choice ultimately lies with you, and it depends on what you’re looking for.


Insulation is crucial to a building’s construction because it reduces the amount of moisture entering its walls. This means that insulation keeps the building’s interior warm, making the rooms comfortable. You can pick either stucco systems or exterior EIFS as your building’s insulation, but you must choose wisely to get the best results.

If you’re looking for Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems, Forza Construction Services can help you! We also provide comprehensive construction services for exterior masonry, veneer masonry, and stucco system installation, all for affordable prices. Reach out today to get a quote!