construction worker putting decorative plaster on house exterior

Stucco vs Plaster: What’s Better?

Stucco and plaster are often confused for one another. This is understandable, as they can look the same to the average person. They are often applied to your walls in a similar manner, and their textures can be difficult to distinguish from one another to the untrained eye.


Additionally, their composition is incredibly similar. To add to the confusion, stucco is even considered a type of plaster.


So does it even matter which one you use on your home?


Let’s take a look at how their differences can influence your decision.


Deciding between Stucco and Plaster



As mentioned above, the composition of stucco and plaster is very similar. They both are considered lime mixtures, but what is added to each one is what makes the difference.


Stucco also contains Portland cement and sand, while plaster usually has some variation of water and plaster of Paris.


Thanks to the different ingredients added to stucco, it’s hard as a rock when it dries. This isn’t to say that plaster is fragile. In fact, it’ll stand the test of time given the right conditions. However, at the end of the day, stucco is firmer.



Plaster can be easier to work with when it comes to the exterior of buildings. In general, it’s easier to apply and will stick to any exterior surface and material.

Hand with a spatula in the process of leveling the raw plaster.

Stucco, meanwhile, is a little pickier and less willing to bind to just any wall. You will need to properly prime your exterior wall before adding the stucco.



When deciding whether to go with stucco or plaster, a helpful consideration is where you intend to place it. Stucco is designed to be used outdoors only, especially when taking its coarseness into account, whereas plaster can be used indoors and outdoors.


Plaster is able to be moulded, which allows for more decorative finishes within a home or building. Stucco is more stubborn and unwilling to mould in such a way.


Ultimately, it will depend on how you intend to use the stucco or plaster. If you want a more sturdy exterior wall, stucco may be the way to go. However, if you want a more decorative finish, then plaster would be the preferable choice.


Regardless, both options are sure to last you a long time.


Golden Trowel Stucco has been providing Calgary homes and commercial properties with top-quality stucco services. For the past 20 years, we have been the number one stucco contractors in the Calgary and Greater Calgary area. We can completely change your property for the better with our stucco services, including stucco installations, stucco, and exterior painting, and stucco repairs in Calgary. We’re flexible and ready to help you when you need it. Call us on 403-891-5343 anytime.

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