It can be confusing when you look around trying to find out the cost to stucco your project and the information out there can be confusing or incorrect...
Am I Right?
There are a wide range of price factors that go into the cost of stucco and knowing what those are will help you figure out a closer average cost... This article is going to be a larger resource that covers most of the "stucco cost" elements that go into a stucco bid and how a contractor would bid the job.
Note: This is my personal opinion on pricing and should be used as a guide to give examples of price variations, rather than a firm price. There are always factors that will determine pricing of a stucco project that are hard to calculate.
What Is The Average Cost Of Stucco?
The short answer to this question can be summed up in a general range of prices for a given stucco application and what substrate the stucco is being applied to. Prices will always vary and a few of the "details" (explained below) will be contributing factors to the range in price.
You can expect to pay between $5 - $12 per square foot for new projects over wood substrates. This is a big difference but is a pretty accurate number for most stucco jobs.
If you are applying stucco over a concrete or masonry surface that is in good shape, then the cost will be a little lower than the above average and will come in at around $3 - $6 per square foot.
Stucco repair costs can have a wide range as well and can cost anywhere between $8 - $50 per square foot (or higher) because of unforeseen circumstances that can arise when doing investigative removal of stucco.
A stucco re-coat can cost anywhere between $3 - $6 a square foot (on average) and will depend on the existing texture of the stucco, the condition of the existing finish and what type of finish is going on top of the existing finish.
Removing stucco is a variable as well and depends on several elements like the type of stucco system you have on your walls, how much is coming off, how tall the walls are and a couple of other variables. The average cost to remove stucco can be quite high because there are fewer contractors that will do this and even less stucco companies who specialize in stucco removal/stucco repair.
General Things That Can Affect Stucco Cost...
There are a few things that can affect stucco price and a general range is always what I consider to be a "base price" and then modifiers are added to that price, depending on the circumstances.
These can be used in nearly every type of stucco application (wood substrates, masonry substrates, repairs, etc.) Some of these things can include:
- Need Scaffolding?: When you have taller walls (14' or more) then scaffolding will usually have to be set up and this will require additional work and will usually account for an additional cost to set the scaffolding up and then tear it down again, after the job is complete.
Another thing to take into consideration is that the stucco process will take a little longer to carry out on scaffolding and the extra time that is required will also be considered into the overall price and will usually incur an additional charge.
- Type Of Finish: In general, an acrylic finish will cost more than a traditional type of finish because there is a price difference between the two materials.
There are slightly different stucco textures and finishes out there and some textures will require less time and plasterers and will be a little bit less expensive. Some finishes are more difficult to achieve and will require more "hands on deck" and can require additional time, resulting in an extra charge.
Some finishes will also require two finish coats to be applied, which will require additional wages and additional material, so you can expect to see an increase in price for these finishes. A catface texture, lace texture, skip trowel texture and a santa barbara smooth mission finish will require two coats of finish material to achieve the "desired" look.
- Trim And Other Detail Work: If you are planning on having trim around the window and doors of your stucco walls done with the foam stucco trim, then there will be an additional cost for these accent pieces that will cover the cost of the materials and the extra time it will take to install them.
On average, the cost to install foam trim can run $3 - $7 per linear feet of trim, depending on the shape of the trim itself and how detailed the design will be. Larger and more custom pieces of foam will cost more and are hard to put a specific price on because of the variables involved but can be several hundred (simpler designs) to several thousands of dollars in extras (very elaborate designs).
Smaller, more "cut up" walls are going to have a higher price than a plain box or rectangular shaped building because they will require more setup time, which equates to more labor and additional costs.
- Condition Of The Existing Stucco: If you are repairing stucco or applying a re-coat to your existing stucco finish, then the shape that your existing finish is in will result in variances in price.
If your stucco is in great condition, then the prep work involved will be minimal and will result in a lower priced project because there will be less labor and materials required to do the job.
If the existing finish on your walls is in poor condition, then more work will have to be done, in order to get it into a condition that will be suitable for a new coat to be applied over it or for the new stucco to be tied into the existing stucco.
- Rural Area Or City Limits?: Where you live will affect price a little bit and really accounts for a smaller charge but can still affect price, so I thought it was worth mentioning.
If you live in an urban area and there are one or more stucco supply yards within 10 miles of your location, then it will require less fuel, less delivery charges, etc. If your supplier is farther away, then those fuel and delivery charges can be more substantial and can result in a few hundred dollars or more, sometimes.
- Three Coat Or One Coat System: Which system you are planning on installing or have already installed on your building can be a determining factor in price as well.
A three coat stucco system will require a crew to go around the building a total of 4 times (minimum) and a one coat system will require 3 round trips (minimum). These are basic estimates and do not include stucco finishes that require two coats, foam trim/accents or any special coats (embedded mesh, applying primer coat for acrylic finishes, etc.).
- Licensed VS Unlicensed Contractor: There is a price difference between a licensed contractor's rates and an unlicensed contractor's rates and is pretty self explanatory.
A licensed contractor will have to pay for things like workman's comp, insurance (oftentimes multiple kinds), bond fees and many other fees in order to have a "legitimate" business. These contractors will also usually guarantee their work and will want good recommendations for other future clients and will have the appropriate insurance in case something should happen.
An unlicensed contractor will not have to pay any of the above fees and will likely have a much lower bid but in some cases can have a similar bid to a licensed contractor! This is a huge risk to take on though because most of the time an unlicensed contractor will not care whether or not there was a problem with a previous job they did and they know that it will be harder to take legal action if a serious problem were to arise.
- Quality Of Materials Used: Some companies will used basic materials that are suitable for stucco and are compliant but cost less than other materials out there that have a better material composition.
Some of these materials can have additives in them that can increase tensile strength, reduce shrinkage cracking and provide a more water resistant barrier, to name a few of the benefits but will cost more than a "basic" product that has only the essential ingredients.
This can equate to a few hundred dollars in difference or a couple of thousand dollars, depending on the size of the project.
Stucco Pricing For New Projects:
I gave you an estimate for new construction projects between $5 - $12 per square foot and I wanted to break that down a bit so you can see which factors will determine the lower end of the price and what would justify the higher priced bid.
Around The $5 Per Square Foot Mark: For a price range around the $5 per square foot mark, your house will usually be a smaller house, requiring minimal scaffolding to be set and will have a basic shape to it, without a lot of corners or columns or soffits.
You will also have a finish that is easy to apply and will take one coat. More often then not, a traditional finish will be used or you might have the option to add an acrylic finish for an additional fee.
$6 - $8 Per Sq. Foot: This is the price range that a lot of the houses will fall under if they are moderately sized with a simple to moderately intricate design. Projects that fall in the lower price range will be larger is size but still have a simpler design to them still and a finish that requires a single coat.
The higher end of that price range will be projects that have more detailed house layouts, including soffitts and maybe even a moderate amount of trim around the windows, doors, etc. An acrylic finish will more than likely also be included into the price and can be a single coat finish or even a two coat finish, in some cases.
$8 Per Sq. Foot And Up: This price range is going to be for the most intricated house designs that have a lot of detail work, premium finishes (two coats, oftentimes) and are quite large in size, which requires more scaffolding, more material and more labor.
The Cost Of Stucco Over Masonry Surfaces...
Applying stucco over masonry surfaces will be a little bit less than going over wood substrates because they generally don't need lath installed and base coats and/or finish coats are applied directly over the substrate. This will require less material, less labor and a lower cost compared to wooden substrates.
Around The $3 Per Sq. Foot Price Range: This price range will usually be for projects that have a good base that is clean and has little to no variations in the wall itself. These will likely have a finish coat applied directly to the wall (usually concrete walls) and will require minimal materials and labor.
The Higher End Of The Price Range: The higher end of that price spectrum will account for walls that may need to have a base coat applied to the surface prior to a finish coat, which equates to more labor and materials for the project.
A premium finish will also fall into this price range and even larger walls that require a little bit of scaffolding can fall into this price.
Certain things can increase the price of the project like cleaning the substrate first, having to build out a very uneven or crooked wall, limited access to the area, having to attach wire lath, etc. The price range is a good starting point and additional charges could be added to that price if one or more of the above problems/conditions exist.
How About The Cost Of A Stucco Re-Coat?
Stucco re-coats are priced around the same as applying stucco over masonry substrates (in my opinion) because they are essentially applied the same way and are very similar as far as the prep work involved, application process and cost modifiers are concerned. I priced re-coats at a range of $3 - $6 per square foot as a general recommendation.
The Lower End Of The Price Spectrum: Projects that fall in this price range are going to be existing finishes that are clean and have very few problem areas that will need to be addressed prior to re-coating the surface. These will usually have a smoother type of finish to them and will not require a base coat to be applied prior to re-coating the stucco.
You will usually have the option to have a traditional type of finish applied to the wall or an acrylic and usually a single coat finish will be used but a finish coat that requires 2 or more coats can also be used and may result in an additional fee for the added cost of the material and labor involved.
The Higher End Of The Price Spectrum: Recoats that fall into the higher end of the spectrum are usually surfaces that require more prep work (pressure washing, crack repair, patching, etc.) before the new coat of stucco can be applied.
These are going to be things like extra pressure washing for areas that have more aggressive staining issues, a large number of cracks that need to be addressed, numerous patches, a rough existing texture and so on. These things will require additional time to take care of (if properly done) and can equate to added costs that will bring the project closer to that higher price range.
Note: For some walls that have extreme damage or need serious attention prior to recoating, the price can be higher.
Stucco Repair Cost Explained...
Stucco repair cost is a huge variable (like I stated) and can really depend on the existing condition of your stucco, what damage has been done because of stucco related issues and many other aspects.
I will touch lightly on some of the costs associated with stucco repair here but will probably write a more in-depth article on stucco repair cost factors in the near future.
Basic Stucco Repairs: There is no hard "price per square footage" for stucco repair unless you are working on a larger project, which will usually have a base cost price per square foot and then go up if any problems are found. Smaller patches are given a straight price since they are much smaller in size and can be patched in a few hours (total time) over a period of a day or two.
For instance, if you have a basketball sized stucco patch that needs to be addressed, then the "square foot price" will probably not apply and will instead be a price range of $50 - $300 in price instead (just an example price), which would make the price per square foot much higher than any other stucco service.
Can I Do Some Of The Prep Work Myself To Save A Little Bit Of Money?
Some people would like to do some of the prep work themselves, like lathing, pressure washing, etc. This is okay in some cases but one thing to keep in mind is that if it is not done properly and something should fail later on down the road, then the contractor will likely argue that specific things were not done by his/her company in which case, they can not guarantee the work.
Saving a little bit of money is a good thing, I know but you must keep in mind that it will be hard to guarantee the work that is performed if someone else did some of the work because there was no "quality control" when those phase(s) were being carried out.
Why Are Some Of The Bids I Received Different From Your Figures?
Remember that I am writing this as an example of the price variations and determining factors rather than a definitive price guide for stucco installation and repair. There are so many elements that come into play when bidding a stucco project and the numbers I provided are a good starting point, so you have a general idea of what to expect as far as pricing is concerned.
How Do I Know What's A Fair Price?
It is very important to communicate with your contractor and they should be able to communicate with you as well. If you get three different bids for a stucco job, chances are that they will be different and sometimes even very different! You can always ask why one contractor is more expensive than others and make a decision after you have ALL OF THE INFORMATION.
Some contractors will like to use different materials and techniques for many different reasons. Some prefer to use these types of materials because they have certain properties to them that can make the end result much better and will reduce the chances of a "callback". It is "cheap insurance" in their eyes and worth the added cost. Do not overlook a more expensive bid until you have all the facts.