Building a House with Stucco Cladding? This is the Best Way to Waterproof It

Building and finishing a home with stucco cladding that’ll last for generations requires an effective moisture protection and management system.

Watch The Build Show’s Matt Risinger implement a complete stucco protection system, from top to bottom, in a structural insulated panel home.

Risinger’s full stucco protection system includes:

  1. A vapor permeable, self-adhering air- and water-resistive barrier (WRB) for the walls
  2. A dedicated rainscreen system designed just for stucco cladding applications
  3. Flexible sealing tape for all of the substrate’s joints and seams.


What you need to know about stucco layer walls

Stucco is a hard and durable cladding or siding that can be used both on the exterior and interior walls of a building. It’s a popular building choice thanks to its variety of different textures and colors, its high level of durability, and the fact it can be used in a variety of climates.

However, stucco can come with a variety of challenges, too. First and foremost, it’s considered a ‘reservoir cladding’, meaning it absorbs and stores rainwater like a sponge. Its ability to retain moisture can create many issues for builders and owners, including risks of mold, wall rot, and decay, as well as having an impact on the structure’s overall integrity and performance.

Plus, the construction details for building stucco exteriors are more challenging and particular than the average job (watch our webinar on successful stucco installations if you’d like to learn more).


A short stucco FAQ

Can stucco be waterproofed?

Since stucco is an absorbent cladding and readily holds moisture and water, it can’t be ‘completely waterproofed’. However, you can manage moisture and air around your stucco cladding – which is a more complex process than most builders believe.

A multi-layer wall approach with an effective drainage and ventilation system and correctly installed flashings can significantly extend the life of your stucco.

Can water leak through stucco?

Water can certainly leak through stucco, especially through cracks or openings. Also keep in mind that stucco is a material that readily sucks up and retains water and moisture, meaning without proper drainage and drying, water will eventually leak through, damaging your wall assemblies.

What do you use to waterproof wall systems with stucco?

The best way to waterproof wall systems using stucco is by installing a rainscreen system like DELTA®-DRY STUCCO & STONE, which will allow stucco materials to effectively drain and dry. (The STUCCO & STONE system is an example of a product you can use that’s made specifically for stucco and manufactured stone applications.)


Products used in Matt Risinger’s stucco protection system for homes


DELTA VENT-SA behind stucco

  1. The first is DELTA®-VENT SA, a vapor permeable air- and water-resistive barrier and house wrap that not only prevents moisture from seeping inside of a structure, but also allows water and moisture to escape, which eliminates the risk of mold, rot, and decay.



2.  He also talks about the versatility and convenience of DELTA®-MULTI BAND, a tape that is resistant to aging, flexible, and incredibly useful for sealing any joints or gaps between your house wrap and foundation.

DELTA-DRY STUCCO & STONE rainscreen system


3.  Designed specifically for stucco applications, Matt Risinger also details DELTA®-DRY STUCCO & STONE, a three-dimensional membrane with a dimple and groove design that works to drain and ventilate moisture, keeping your wall and sheathing dry and protected.


Find more stucco protection and application techniques through the DELTA® Academy