While the term masonry relates to a process or construction with the use of various natural or artificial mineral products, such as stone, brick, or concrete, the term can be applied to the craft itself or to the finished product. Stucco on the other hand is a traditional art of home building which uses a cement mixture and was originally used for siding on Mission or other types of Spanish style of architecture. Here the cement is mixed with sand and lime. This mixture is often applied directly to specially prepared masonry surfaces.
Though homes with stucco sides became popular in America in the 20th century, its use can be traced back to ancient architectural styles. You can still find many homes built in America after the ‘50s which used synthetic materials which look like stucco. The real stucco is always heavier than artificial stucco. In fact, walls made with real stucco sound solid if you tap it and can withstand many tough situations. Walls made with stucco can also withstand wet conditions. These porous surfaces absorb moisture and dries easily without causing any damage to the structure. There is a type of synthetic stucco called EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) which have been known to suffer from problems due to moisture retention. There is an underlying layer of wood which are prone to rot damage. Thus it is always wise to consult a professional for inspecting stucco sided home if you are considering a purchase.
Historically it has been seen that stucco can not provide long term protection to any home, though earlier believed so and provided an annual lime white wash to their stucco buildings were the lime helped to harden the stucco. It also filled up the hairline cracks and prevented any larger cracks from developing. To enhance longevity stucco buildings were also coated with paraffin wax. If you wish to repair damaged stucco, you must firstly assess the extent of damage and how much of it should be replaced or repaired. Testing can be done at all the elevations of the building were any unsound or soft areas will echo with a hollow sound if tapped lightly with a wooden or acrylic hammer. Most of the deterioration caused to stucco is due to water seepage into the building structure through roof, chimneys, and window or door openings. It could also be due to excessive underground water and inadequate drainage which penetrates through damaging the foundation also. Repair work of stucco should follow after all repairs have been completed for the building. Horizontal areas like the top of parapet walls or chimneys are particularly prone to water accumulation and seepage and would require modifications to their original design, to correct the problem for good. Any previous repair work, if not done properly can also cause further deterioration to stucco, especially when the repair work was done with port land cement which is of very rigid quality. Cracks in stucco can also occur through repeated external vibration caused by traffic or other construction, which allows water to enter. There are a number of repair options available once the extent of damage or deterioration has been identified. But to get the final finish right, you might have to take help of professional masonry companies