Home & Garden Maintenance & Repairs

Brick Vs. Stucco


    • True bricks are constructed of a mix of clay and shale, along with colored pigments – as clay and shale would otherwise produce a gray material -- which are kiln-treated to fuse together the particles into a solid mass through a process called vitrification. Brick in its current form developed from fired building block materials used for over 5,000 years by the ancient Egyptians and civilizations in the Indus Valley.

    Advantages and Weaknesses

    • Brick is non-combustible and provides fire-resistance to buildings. It also offers better protection from wind than other common materials, such as vinyl or fiber-cement siding, exceeding state regulations for impact resistance. In fact, the state of Florida approves brick as a material for essential buildings located in hurricane-prone areas. Brick walls also help minimize mold and mildew growth, insect infestation and the corrosion of fasteners embedded in walls. Bricks may not be the best choice for construction in areas susceptible to earthquakes, however; cement-based mortar used to hold bricks together can crumble and endanger the building’s structural integrity.


    • A mix of Portland cement, sand and lime, stucco is usually applied wet to a prepared structure – usually a stone, cement or brick wall, although it can be applied to wood re-enforced with lattice, or lath -- and then allowed to dry into a hard, but flexible surface. Stucco has been used as a building and decorative material for thousands of years, and enjoys a resurgence in popularity whenever neo-baroque or neo-renaissance styles re-emerge.

    Advantages and Weaknesses

    • Stucco is an effective and efficient material in a variety of climates, and is known for its insulation properties. It is easy to decorate, as textures can be carved in or formed during the initial application, or painted after it is dry. Stucco also allows for movement along a parallel plane, which has made it popular in areas prone to earthquakes. Homes and buildings built or clad in at least three layers of stucco fare better during quakes than buildings constructed of stone or brick, according to researchers in California and the University of British Columbia. A drawback of stucco is the danger of moisture intrusion and mold, as the material can be prone to holding moisture. A properly engineered stucco structure will have small channels built inside to drain moisture, and cured, or older stucco, will have better moisture-resistant qualities than recently applied stucco.

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