Thinking of Buying a Home with Synthetic Stucco? What You Should Know

Thinking of Buying a Home with Synthetic Stucco? What You Should Know

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

Here at North Star Stone we are passionate about quality housing exteriors, which is why we take such great pride when installing our stone veneer products. Strong, professionally installed exteriors are what we do. In our line of work we have come across housing materials such as synthetic stucco, also commonly known as EIFS or Dryvit, that have caused much distress for the homeowners who are now finding themselves with expensive repairs due to an improperly installed product. To help keep you informed, we thought it would be helpful to talk about synthetic stucco and what it might mean to you as a homeowner or potential home buyer.

What is Synthetic Stucco? A brief history:

Synthetic Stucco, also commonly known by the acronym “EIFS”, which stands for exterior insulation and finish systems, was first used in the manufacturing of homes in Europe in the early 1960’s. Although it looks like stucco, EIFS is actually made of three layered components:

Layer 1: Insulation board
Layer 2: Base coat
Layer 3: Finish coat

EIFS worked well in Europe for several reasons; it provided great insulation and weather protection and it installed nicely on European buildings which tend to have masonry walls, to which the EIFS adhered nicely. In the States we tend to use wood or gypsum, which must have a good moisture barrier for proper installation. Another reason EIFS installed well in Europe is because the materials in the base coat of the EIFS product are slightly different from what was eventually used in the United States, which allowed the European product more flexibility and better waterproofing. In the early 1970’s, an American company by the name of Dryvit Systems introduced EIFS to the American construction market, where it is often referred to as Dryvit.
First used in commercial building, EIFS would eventually make its way into the residential housing industry. Builders were excited about its energy efficiency qualities, which equated to being friendlier on the pocket book. As common sense might suggest, for a product to work the way it is supposed to it must be assembled correctly. This same idea holds very true for EIFS. Unfortunately, along with its introduction into the American housing market came the common practice of cutting corners with EIFS installation. What resulted was not pretty. By the late 1980s Inspectors, homeowners and other interested parties began to notice that many EIFS clad homes were showing extensive signs of water damage. In some instances the damage permeated right through to the framing of the house. The result: a lot of expensive repairs due to mold, dry rot and structural damage. Additionally, EIFS affected homeowners were angry to find themselves facing an unwanted and unplanned expense, while frustrated homebuyers encountered a housing market with limited buying options because of structurally queastionable properties.

Why is EIFS a Problem for a Homeowner who may want to sell?

Due to the following factors, many EIFS homes encountered problems which were later to be faced by their unsuspecting and now quite unhappy homeowners. Because it is a barrier type system, a perfect water barrier is required during EIFS installation over the wood or gypsum sheathing to prevent water from getting into places like windows, doors, roof flashings, deck flashings and vents, to name a few. Because this did not occur, water was able to get in and cause extensive water damage to the wood or gypsum sheathing. Furthermore, homeowners were not aware of the damage because it is hidden and thus not recognizable without a more involved and oftentimes costly inspection by an individual who knows how to inspect EIFS. Those left with improperly installed EIFS are finding themselves with expensive repairs. And lastly, homeowners trying to sell their EIFS clad homes may find themselves with an unsellable property because of water damage they may not have known existed until a home inspection was carried out.

Why Is EIFS a Problem for Home Buyers?

Because water damage can be hard to detect with EIFS without an invasive inspection, the homebuyer may be unaware that water damage exists on the property. Worse still, if the home was improperly inspected and has been purchased, it could be quite a while before water damage due to poorly installed EIFS becomes apparent, which could result in the new homeowners finding themselves with a very expensive repair job. Also, the time, tools and training required by an individual familiar with doing a thorough EIFS inspection can be expensive and invasive, which could be a cost a potential homebuyer is not willing to pay.

Stone Veneer & Stucco 06

Stone Veneer & Stucco

What to do if you are trying to sell your EIFS clad home

Be proactive.

-Be prepared to pay for repairs caused by improperly installed EIFS, should repairs be needed. A potential homebuyer may insist on this in the contract and before completing their purchase of the home.

-Consider replacing the EIFS with a stone veneer, Hardie board, actual stucco, or a combination of these materials. Note: before adding new materials to the exterior of your home you may need to replace any damaged sheathing first. This can add to the expense.

-Have your home thoroughly inspected by a certified EIFS inspector.

-Have your home certified if it passes an EIFS inspection.

-Include a warranty on the EIFS for the buyer.

-Be prepared to potentially take a loss on the property. Only the seller can determine if that loss will be worth it.

-Keep accurate records of any repair work done.

Stone Veneer & Stucco 12

Stone Veneer & Stucco



What To Do if You are Thinking of Buying an EIFS clad home

-Do your homework. Be familiar with what synthetic stucco is. Understand that a prospective home with EIFS should be thoroughly inspected by a qualified inspector.

-Request a warranty from the seller. Make sure the warranty is paid for.

-Request that the EIFS on the home is certified problem free.

If you like the look of EIFS, consider passing this home up for a home built with real stucco or other exterior like brick, Hardie board or vinyl siding. Finding a different home may be worth the headache of worrying about an EIFS clad home having problems later.

There is a stigma attached to EIFS and this can make it much harder to sell your home later even if it is certified.


Other Options

Although some claim that EIFS have come a long way and many of the problems uncovered with the product in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s have been resolved, there is still a stigma attached to homes finished with synthetic stucco. Fortunately, there are other options on the market today that are customizable, attractive and enduring. Stone veneer, stucco and Hardie board are excellent options and work beautifully when combined with each other. Many people are choosing to go with these highly customizable materials when updating their current home or when in the market for a new home. Homeowners who have needed to replace EIFS on their homes are also turning to Stone veneer and other materials like Hardie board and stucco because of the great flexibility and personalization they offer.


If updating your home with timeless and elegant stone sounds like a promising option to you, consider North Star Stone’s custom colored stone veneer. The experienced professionals at North Star Stone would love to talk with you about this beautiful product. We are also eager to share with you what happy Chicagoland homeowners in Libertyville, Arlington Heights, Barrington and Mount Prospect, are saying about their new beautiful housing exteriors. For more information about adding stone to the exterior of your home, visit our Exterior Stone FAQ page or contact us at or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new exterior stone.

Is It Time to Replace Your Exterior Siding?

Is It Time to Replace Your Exterior Siding?

Home Improvements Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

Throughout the year the exterior of our home can take quite a beating. Rain, hail, ice, wind and snow are all environmental elements that can put a strain on the outside of your home. After years of this regular abuse, it is not uncommon for many homeowners to decide to repair, change and or update the exterior of their home. And as most experts will tell you, the best time to begin a home improvement project like this is in the spring, which all of us in Chicagoland know is just around the corner! Fortunately, there are some exciting options available that can completely transform the exterior of your home, like stone veneer for example. Continue reading to discover some options you may not even know existed.

exterior siding 06

Vinyl Siding

Used on many homes, vinyl siding has come a long way in terms of its strength and versatility. Many homeowners like vinyl siding because of its cost effectiveness and the color options available on the market. Easy to install and available at home improvement stores, vinyl siding is popular with do-it-yourselfers. But beware; education is a must if installing yourself. If installed incorrectly, in addition to water damage, other damage can occur to your home and you might find yourself in need of some costly repairs.

exterior siding 03

Hardie Board (cement board)

Is the aluminum siding that has graced the exterior of your home for twenty years a little beat up and let’s face it, looking a bit blah? A versatile product, Hardie Board might be just what you are looking for. Unlike aluminum siding, Hardie board is literally quite hardy. Known for its strength, Hardie board comes in a variety of colors and has been engineered to withstand even the harshest of weather. Hardie board also comes in a plethora of widths and textures, so customizing the look of your home is going to be fun and easy. Better still, Hardie board is a cost effective product and has been a top choice for millions of homeowners. If Hardie board sounds like the right option for you, why not consider pairing it with stone veneer? This beautiful combination will make your home look elegant, refined and distinguished.

exterior siding 02

Wood Siding

Often offering a homey, country feel, wood siding is also a viable option and has been a choice for many homeowners. Wood siding comes most commonly in a shingle, clapboard and shakes style, which allows people who choose it a few unique options in terms of thickness and texture. One important thing to keep in mind is that wood siding requires routine maintenance to check for water damage and even insect damage and infestations such as termites and carpenter ants. Wood siding also may need to be painted and treated on a regular basis.

exterior siding



Believe it or not stucco has been used in architecture since ancient Greek and Roman times. And although it has been improved upon, the general idea of stucco remains the same. Perhaps it is the timelessness and endurance of stucco that makes it such a highly regarded option when considering the exterior of one’s home? Stucco is a mortar mixture containing among other things, cement. Resilient and versatile, stucco has a great track record when it comes to protecting the outside of your house. Make sure not to confuse stucco with synthetic stucco also known as EIFS (exterior insulation and finish systems or Dryvit). It may look the same but has a history of responding quite differently to the sometimes harsh forces of nature bombarding the exterior of your home. Frequently used on larger homes, the color options for stucco are near limitless and it pairs beautifully with a coordinating and custom colored stone veneer. The resulting look is classic and stately and defines the term curb appeal.

exterior siding 01

Stone Veneer

Stone veneer is quickly rising in the ranks of being one of the most popular choices for the exterior of one’s home. There is very little not to like about stone veneer. A home with stone not only exudes dignity but a classic beauty that can only come with a stone facade. Typically at a higher price point, stone veneer is usually paired with other exterior options like stucco and Hardie board while still maintaining the grand presence of being the feature element of the house’s exterior. A major bonus to stone veneer is the variety of stone options available. Custom colored to your specification, there is a stone shape and cut for every discerning taste. For a look that will totally transform your home, stone is one of the preferred options.

exterior siding 04If updating the exterior of your home sounds like a springtime project you would like to undertake, remember there are many options available today. Why not consider the beauty, elegance and charm of stone veneer with a complimentary pairing of Hardie board or stucco? Established in the greater Chicagoland area, North Start Stone has brought their sophisticated brand of exterior products to Libertyville, Arlington Heights, Barrington, Mount Prospect and Long Grove, just to name a few and they are excited to bring them to you.

For more information about adding stone to the exterior of your home, visit our Exterior Stone FAQ page or contact us at or call 847-996-6850 for a free estimate on your new exterior stone.

Quality Home Exterior Stone Siding

Quality Home Exterior Stone Siding

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors

For those who are looking to renovate their home exteriors, manufactured stone might be the best option. The reason behind it is that home siding plays two-folded purpose–protection and décor. The exterior express how your house look but it need to be durable and strong. Mostly people think decorative exteriors are not efficient to bear the harshness of weather variations. While planning to replace the old siding of your house, take time to figure out exactly what you want with your siding. Continue reading

Exterior Stone Veneer and Stucco- A Perfect Combination

Exterior Stone Veneer and Stucco- A Perfect Combination

Stone Exterior Siding Stone Exteriors Stone Veneer

The use of thin stone veneer and a stucco finish can completely update the look of your home. In the mid price homes that we frequently work with, the combination of stone and stucco give a sense of beauty, strength, permanence and elegance.  Many home homeowners with an existing house have a dated brick or a brick color they don’t care for, or a plain track house that looks like every other house on the block. Below are examples of how stone veneer and stucco blended together might work for your home.

Stone Veneer Exterior Siding

The traditional style home pictured to the right is located in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois and built was built in a typical upscale housing development. The models start looking the same from block to block. The original home was covered in white siding and some brick under the porch. Working with the homeowner we designed a look that capitalized on the lines of the house that blended the stone and stucco together.

The stone veneer used is North Star Stone’s cobblestone in the color of Northern Brown Stone. The stucco contractor blended a custom color of stucco and used his artistic ability to create a beautiful offsetting color banding. The banding detail on the garage, over the windows and on the columns really blended well with the stone to create a masterpiece.

Stone-Veneer-StuccoChicago Home With Stone and Stucco Sidingstone-stucco-2

This brick ranch house, also located in a northern Chicago suburb created an interesting challenge since we had to work with the existing red clay tiles for the roofing. The home was originally clad in a very dark red brick. North Star Stone’s Castle Rock was used in the color of chateau and was installed on the lower foot section around the house. Stucco was applied above the stone drip sill in a coordinating color.

Both stone veneer and stucco are masonry products that are virtually maintenance free and have stood the test of time and work in all climates.  The blending of stone and stucco also is a cost effective way for the homeowner to stretch out their budget. Stucco installation is about half the cost of stone with installation. Effective use of blending both stone veneer and stucco will create a completely new look for your home.

Whether you are building a new house, getting rid of your old siding or trying to cover up some brick you don’t care for, North Star Stone, Inc., can find a perfect blend of stone and stucco.



Updating Your Home’s Exterior With Stone Veneer

Stone Exterior Siding

Stone Veneer is a beautiful, versatile material that can work wonders in creating and designing beautiful home exteriors and interiors. The flexibility and versatility that comes with stone veneer is unmatched by natural stone. Stone veneer is lighter in weight – Stone veneers weigh typically 75% less than real stone and require no additional support. It’s often much faster to install a manufactured stone that it is to install a natural stone- a one story stone veneer fireplace can be typically installed in one day. Our manufactured stone veneers are molded from real stones which gives them a natural, beautiful appearance. Stone veneer also offers versatility when it comes to color and design- custom colors that match real stone or a home’s decor are easily created. And don’t forget that manufactured stone is less expensive than real stone veneers. When you factor in installation, you can save 20-30% on your entire project! Houzz offers some beautiful ideas for incorporating stone veneers with different aspects of your home. Take a look and don’t forget to follow us on Houzz! We’d love to see you there!