2012 Guide to Budgeting For Your Stucco Renovation

This website was started to educate home owners and teach them how to evaluate quotes and contractors. There’s a massive gap between the technical information provided to building industries professionals, and the information available to the average consumer in every day language. The most common asked is obviously: Is this quote too high/low?

No one wants to overpay for having work done on their home, and no one should. The stucco industry is extremely competitive, actually so competitive that contractors cut corners and botch jobs on a regular basis. While it’s important not too pay too much, the more likely scenario is that you will pay too little to a contractor who doesn’t have your best interests at heart (they will all sincerely tell you that they do of course) and you will run into expensive problems and repairs down the road.

We’ll go into more detail below, but the short answer to all of this is: You should be paying $8.00-$10.00 per square foot of your wall that you want done. If you’re looking to do 500 square feet or less, you can expect to pay upwards of $15.00 per square foot. If you’re doing 1,700 square feet or more, you might pay as little as $7.00 per square foot.

You can pay anything you want for stucco (go for it if you dare), just remember that the only person you’re hurting is yourself.

Can stucco be installed over top of siding?

No. Manufacturer warranties require that stucco be installed over top of plywood or masonry (brick, stone, concrete block). Installing over existing siding is a way that contractors cut corners, at the expense of how long your new walls will last.

What if I need to add plywood to my house?

The majority of contractors will charge about $2.50 per square foot (labour and material) to install new plywood. If you wall is anything aside from the materials listed above (plywood or masonry), the walls need to be stripped to the studs. This proves useful as you can look at the condition of your walls and decide for yourself if you want to seal whatever is inside them back up. You might be disgusted to find and get rid of things that have made a permanent resting place out of your walls.

High Impact Mesh

We recommend high impact mesh around doors and walkways. Suppliers like DuROCK sell this right alongside all of their standard materials, making it inexpensive and convenient to add to your project. It only needs to be installed on the first 6 feet from the ground where there is either going to be people walking by, vehicles, or children playing. Typical costs are around $3.00 per square foot that needs to be covered, with our average projects requiring about 100 square feet.


Mouldings can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on how elaborate you want to go. The quality of a moulding varies widely from one moulding supplier to another, so make sure to do some research into the quality of the supplier your contractor is purchasing from.

Consequences of getting a bad job (paying too little)

  • The manufacturer doesn’t warranty the job, leaving you to rely on the contractor’s warranty
  • The contractor goes out of business (or intentionally shuts down) so that they don’t have to honour their warranty
  • Pre-existing mould and rot gets trapped in the wall, which can cause structural damage to your home and your health. Structural damage can cost tens of thousands to repair, your health is priceless
  • The “new” project falls apart or cracks within 5-10 years, allowing moisture in and forcing you to remove and replace with new stucco
  • A building inspector flags your walls as problematic, delaying the sale of your home while you repair it or forcing you to take the cost of repairs off the sale price, eating into your home owner equity

As with most things in life – if you’re going to do something, do it right the first time. The stucco (EIFS) industry is so competitive, that you will absolutely get what you pay for – underpay and you’ll get a bad job. Use the pricing guidelines above to determine how close you’re coming to having a properly done stucco home retrofit. Don’t forget to request a quote from us, and contact us if you have any questions.

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  • What is Stucco?

    "Stucco" is typically what people in the Toronto area use when they're looking for EIFS (Exterior Insulation Finish Systems, or "synthetic stucco"). We use the two terms interchangeably.

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