Plaster, stucco, and EIFS may differ in their intended aesthetic, performance, and location within the building, but they’re tied together by similar design considerations for proper detailing and are often installed by the same set of skilled craftworkers. 

Contemporary interior plaster systems, while based on a rich tradition of durability, have improved thanks in part to material performance advancements. Plaster offers design flexibility with its sound absorbing properties, lightweight characteristics, and seamless, monolithic appearance. Plus, modern design options provide a wide range of colors, finishes, textured surfaces, and can even simulate natural materials like stone.

Exterior stucco, also referred to as a render, is a common material assembly applied to the exterior of buildings as cladding. Stucco has been used for thousands of years as a protective and aesthetic assembly and its composition has evolved with time from traditional to more contemporary materials. With each evolution, material properties and the substrate to which it has been applied have changed based on advancements in building science principles and building code requirements. And in each of these iterations, stucco has evolved to meet the challenges and needs of a more efficient enclosure. 

Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems (EIFS) is an exterior wall cladding consisting of an assemblage of various components, including a rigid insulation board and a synthetic plaster finish. These products are available in an array of textures and colors and can have a wide range of appearances based on different application techniques. Sometimes called synthetic stucco, EIFS has very different components and installation requirements than conventional stucco.


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Here are some additional resources that focus on plaster, stucco and EIFS systems. For additional guidance, contact IMI.


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