The #1 siding material versus the #2 siding material in America. Think you know which is #1 already? Don’t be so quick with that guess.
Comparing Stucco and Vinyl – Top Factors
While both siding materials offer great variation of styles and profiles, each has two primary applications. For vinyl that includes hollow-back (non-insulated) and foam-back (insulated) siding. Likewise, for stucco, it is usually applied in a single coat (less insulation) or in three coats (greater insulation).
Cost is generally a determining factor for most homeowners. Insulated vinyl siding is more expensive (at $5.00 to $10.00 per sq. ft. installed) than non-insulated (at $3.50 to $7.00 per sq. ft. installed). Yet, the high-end insulated vinyl costs about the same as the low end of Stucco (at $6.00 to $10.00 per sq. ft. installed). Stucco, on average, goes as high as $14.00 per sq. ft. installed. Being more budget-friendly is a significant reason why vinyl is such a popular siding option.
Durability is the measure of how tough the siding material is and how well it will hold up over time. Both materials score well. With vinyl, the thickness of the siding matters significantly. — This doesn’t include foam-back, but rather it is about the thickness of material itself. The mid-range options are .042 to .046 inches, while top of the line is .055 or higher. Compare this to a single coat of stucco which hovers around a half inch, or about 10 times the thickness of vinyl. 😉
Both materials are fairly tough. Vinyl can withstand wind speeds up to 110 mph, while Stucco can handle wind gusts up to 130 mph. Vinyl gets mixed results on resistance to hail damage. Obviously, thicker siding means more resistance, but even top of the line is susceptible to some damage. Stucco offers better impact resistance, though large enough pieces of hail or other materials could lead to cracks.
Assuming proper installation and avoidance of disasters, both materials will last more than 50 years. With care, vinyl last between 40 and 75 years before needing replacement. Stucco can go 60 to 100 years before it needs replacing, thus making if the more durable option.
Comparing the less insulated versions of either is not all that fair, though surprisingly vinyl would win. Stucco gets .20 per inch R-value, or the standard for measuring insulation. The single coat, half inch is going to be fairly low, while hollow-back vinyl comes in around .60.
The triple coat of stucco raises the R-value to, at most .75. While that is decent, it is not even in the same ball park as the 1.75 R-value that foam-back vinyl achieves. 😉