What Is Synthetic Stucco? What You Need To Know!

What Is Synthetic Stucco

Synthetic stucco is everywhere nowadays and if you don't work around stucco, you're probably not familiar with the materials that are used either, including synthetic stucco.

What Is Synthetic Stucco?

Synthetic stucco is a stucco finish material that consists of man-made materials (usually acrylic based) which provides water resistance and helps minimize cracking due to its more flexible composition.

The color options that are available for these synthetic stucco finishes are limitless, due to the ability to match virtually any color, similar to the process of how paint colors are made.

Acrylic Stucco

What Is Synthetic Stucco Made From?

Synthetic stucco is made from acrylic resins and an aggregate (typically quartz).  Many manufacturers also put what they call "proprietary ingredients" which may help with things like UV resistance (color fading), flexibility of the material (helps with cracking) and water proofing compounds.

Most synthetic stucco products sold today are usually acrylic based, which is not a natural material, like cement is and is why they are considered "synthetic". In fact, the smell of most of these acrylic/synthetic stucco finishes have a strong ammonia like smell to them, when uncured.

Let's take a look at three different synthetic/acrylic stucco finishes that use the same base materials but have added ingredients that serve a specific purpose, which makes them more of a "specialty product".

  • Standard Synthetic/Acrylic Finishes: This uses just the basic acrylic material and additives, which provides good crack resistance, UV inhibitors and moderate water resistance.

  • Elastomeric Finishes: These have the same base materials as the standard stucco but has more plasticizers added to them, which helps to cover existing cracks and helps to prevent new ones from forming.

  • Water Repelling Finishes: These will usually have something added to them (like silicone) that adds to the water-resistant characteristics of the material, which is then offered as a more water tight option.

Is Synthetic & Acrylic Stucco the Same Thing?

The answer is basically, yes acrylic stucco and synthetic stucco are basically the same thing, since acrylic stucco is made from acrylic resins, which are man-made, synthetic materials.

Synthetic Stucco VS Standard Stucco

Synthetic stucco and standard stucco, also known as traditional stucco or cement based stucco are different products. 

Remember, we are talking about the finish materials used, not the whole system!

Synthetic and standard (traditional) stucco offer different advantages when applied to a wall and these differences are what sets the two materials apart. Some of these things include color options, crack resistance, water resistance and durability.

I made an in depth post comparing acrylic (synthetic) and traditional (standard) stucco that shows the major differences between the two materials that I recommend reading, if you want to know more about the differences between the two materials.

Synthetic Stucco & EIFS...

I think it is important to point out that there seems to be confusion online where EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finishing System) is referred to as synthetic stucco, but EIFS is a system, not to be confused with synthetic stucco, which is usually referring to a specific material's composition.

EIFS does usually use synthetic materials within the system itself though and these can be in the form of adhesives, base coats and finishes.

About the author

The Stucco Guy

My name is Ryan and I have been a licensed stucco contractor for many years and I feel that there is a huge "knowledge gap" when it comes to stucco, in particular. I hope you find the information here useful, and if you have a question for me fill out this Q & A form, so I can answer those questions better. Thanks for stopping by!

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