Parging vs Stucco

What is the difference between stucco and parging ?

“Parging” and “stucco” are two types of exterior finishes used in construction. While they share similarities, they have distinct characteristics and applications.

  1. Parging:
    • Definition: Parging is a process of applying a thin layer of mortar or cement-based material to the exterior surface of a masonry wall, typically made of concrete or concrete block.
    • Purpose: Parging is often used to improve the appearance of a wall, repair surface damage, or provide a protective coating against weathering. It can also be used to cover imperfections in the concrete.
    • Composition: Parging mixtures typically consist of cement, sand, and sometimes lime. The mix is applied in layers to create a smooth and uniform surface.
  2. Stucco:
    • Definition: Stucco is a type of plaster that is applied to the exterior of buildings to create a durable and decorative finish. It is used on various substrates, including wood, masonry, and metal lath.
    • Purpose: Stucco serves both functional and aesthetic purposes. It provides a protective layer against the elements while also enhancing the appearance of the building.
    • Composition: Traditional stucco is made from a mixture of Portland cement, sand, and water. It may also contain lime. There are different types of stucco, including traditional (three-coat) stucco and synthetic stucco (EIFS – Exterior Insulation and Finish System).


  • Materials: Parging is typically a cement-based mixture, while stucco can be a cement-based mixture, often with additional materials like sand and lime.
  • Application: Parging is often used specifically on masonry walls, especially concrete or concrete block surfaces. Stucco, on the other hand, can be applied to a variety of substrates, including wood and metal lath.
  • Layers: Parging is generally applied in thin layers to create a smooth surface, while traditional stucco is applied in multiple coats (scratch coat, brown coat, and finish coat).

It’s important to note that regional variations and building practices may influence the terms and methods used in different areas. Additionally, advancements in building materials have led to variations and new techniques in both parging and stucco applications.