In the neighborhoods of coastal California where I grew up, stucco was the most common exterior cladding. As a kid helping my father on projects, and then as a construction supervisor and contractor myself, I have been around stucco for most of my life. Nowadays, the kind of stucco that I grew up with is known as "conventional stucco," or "traditional stucco." When I was a kid, we just called it stucco.

Good old stucco is still around, but it's not alone. There are now at least 35 different modified, proprietary hard-coat stucco systems on the market and more than 30 varieties of exterior insulation finish systems (EIFS) that have the look of stucco. With products continually leaving and entering the market, and new hybridized systems coming...

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