The three most popular stucco systems available are: Hard Coat Stucco (HCS), Traditional Three-Coat Stucco, and Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS). The selection of the most appropriate system to meet your needs may depend on a variety of factors such as type of construction, project location, durability needs, cost, and desired finished appearance. With any of the stucco systems outlined, there are a variety of upgrades available that can improve crack resistance and the overall strength of the system.
Hard Coat Stucco
Hard Coat Stucco (HCS) is a system that can be applied over a variety of surfaces, including existing siding or brick. This system consists of the installation of two layers of building paper to provide a moisture barrier, a stucco netting, a layer of basecoat material, and a cement or finish coat product. This system is versatile as well as cost effective because only a single layer of basecoat material is used.
Three-Coat Stucco is a traditional stucco application consisting of two basecoat materials, a scratch coat, and a brown coat. A moisture barrier and stucco netting are also used in this system. With a three-coat system, either a cement or synthetic finish coat may be applied. This stucco system is very durable and can be used for either residential or commercial projects.
Exterior Insulated and Finish System
Exterior Insulated and Finish System (EIFS) provides added insulation because a layer of foam sheathing is used over the moisture barrier. This type of system is highly resistant to cracking because of the basecoat material, which embedded with a fiberglass mesh. A synthetic finish coat is used with this system. EIFS can be used to create a variety of architectural detailing, and can be used in conjunction with the other stucco systems to provide trim detail.