After the 1950’s, stucco remained popular as an exterior, but people wanted a cheaper alternative to this. Synthetic stucco was then created, which is made of cement panels or foam insulation board secured to the walls. While this synthetic alternative looks genuine, it is much lighter than real stucco. Walls made of synthetic stucco also have less solidity, and this can be felt when you tap them. As a tendency, they may incur damage when excessive force is applied to them. Another difference is that synthetic stucco may be damaged more easily by wet and moist conditions. It is known that real stucco is vulnerable to cracking from prolonged exposure to water and moisture. However, when there is relatively little water, stucco dries easily and will not be too affected. Such is not so for synthetic stucco.
EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems) is a kind of synthetic stucco that has proved to be problematic, especially in localities where the climate is moist. Wood panels covered by this type of synthetic stucco have been shown to easily be damaged from rot due to moisture. However, there are other kinds of synthetic stucco that are relatively more durable, and has other advantages of real stucco. What’s important is consulting with your contractor before using synthetic stucco, as with any other construction material.
Of course, the obvious advantage of synthetic stucco is its affordability. Therefore, as long as your area has ideal conditions (i.e., not too rainy and humid, cool and dry), there is nothing wrong with settling for synthetic stucco that virtually looks the same as genuine stucco.