Stucco Exterior In The Northwest


We are in the process of building a custom home in the Seattle area. We'd really like to build a house with a Mediterranean design but are a little concerned about having stucco exterior in the northwest.

The other concern is the cost of stucco vs. hardy siding.

Do you have any advice for us regarding the cost of stucco and the disadvantages of using stucco in the northwest?

BTW - I've been following your website ever since we decided to build our own house about 7-8 months ago. Keep up the great work!


Hi Glen,
As I unequivocally say on my web page “Stucco”, “I love stucco (real stucco). It is my favorite siding).

Mediterranean Style COOL House Plan ID: chp-34050

As for building with Stucco in the Pacific North West, Mark Fowler, an architectural consultant at the Northwest Wall & Ceiling Bureau, a nonprofit construction trade organization has a lot to say.

Stucco in the Northwest
“Many people believe that stucco is only appropriate for the Southwest.

Stucco has been used with great success in our region for decades and certainly has proven itself. Portland cement needs water to cure and gain its ultimate strength. Cured stucco is unaffected by moisture and this makes stucco perfect for our region.

The stucco cement membrane is often mistakenly thought of as a porous membrane. Mixed and applied properly, the cement membrane is water-resistant and, yet, vapor permeable.

However, unlike the arid Southwest, we do get a significant amount rainfall and the stucco system must be designed, detailed and flashed to handle the anticipated wind-driven rains. Properly detailed, traditional stucco can meet even the most severe conditions that Seattle can dish out.

The Northwest Wall and Ceiling Bureau can help designers who are considering specifying a stucco cladding. Along with producing the "Stucco Resource Guide," complete with over 120 details, specifications and a quality check list, NWCB offers technical assistance in design, material and system selection.

NWCB contractors attend stucco seminars taught by the NWCB to ensure proper application for long lasting, durable, seismic and fire resistant cladding.

It is hard to find a more versatile cladding that can hold up to the abuse schools get and provide a more seismic safe building for our children than stucco."

For more information visit the NWCB Web site.
(You can read this trade news article at the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce)

And, as for the cost of stucco vs. hardboard siding, the “Cost to Build Calculator” on my “Getting Started” page puts both in the same “Exterior Finish Quality classes” (Quality Class #’s 4,5, & 6, which means the costs are comparable at each differing level of overall quality…there are varying qualities in both stucco and hardboard siding.

Of course, you will have to get some local comparative bids before making a final decision

Looks like you may get to keep that Mediterranean dream.

Good luck,