Difference Between Plaster and Stucco
By Claire Miles - March 11, 2023

Plaster and stucco in various forms have been used in construction for thousands of years. While today’s versions of the materials are mass-produced, they retain the creativity that other exterior finishing materials in residential building lack.
Plaster and stucco are widely used building materials, mainly in residential construction. In many respects, they are very similar. For example, they are incredibly durable and last for years while providing exceptional fire resistance. They are an appealing alternative to siding and are often low-maintenance.

Chart Summary
  1. More adaptable
Exclusively used indoors
Cement wall surface texture material, peach color abstract background

Getty images/Moment/ kampee patisena


Plaster is a soft mixture of sand, cement, and occasionally lime mixed with water that is used for the protective or ornamental covering of walls and ceilings and molding and casting decorative parts.
Stucco, often known as render, is a building material composed of aggregates, a binder, and water. It is used in architecture as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, outside walls, and as a sculptural and aesthetic material. When stucco is applied wet, it hardens to a thick solid.

Plaster vs. Stucco

Stucco is a sort of external plaster. However, plaster is not always stucco. Exterior plaster products on the market are manufactured from lime, water, and plaster of Paris. However, stucco is a variation in this composition that uses a blend of lime, Portland cement, and sand. These variances in the materials utilized in their design impact how the material is applied to the outside of an edifice and where it may be employed.

Plaster is more adaptable than stucco since it may be used inside and outside, whereas stucco is exclusively intended for outside usage. Stucco has a rougher texture and lasts longer than many varieties of plaster. However, external plaster is more adaptable, as it may be applied to many surfaces, including concrete and drywall.
Stucco is often painted in three layers over a wire lath, with the first coat being a “scratch” coat, the second a “brown” coat, and the top coat having a characteristic textured look. While exterior plaster may also be placed in this manner, additional installation alternatives exist.