Building a stucco fireplace into your new home or refacing an old fireplace with stucco is one way to create a modern, updated room. Stucco is inexpensive and allows for a significant amount of creativity and manipulation around traditional styles. At the same time, installation may be problematic in certain instances and a stucco fireplace is not as durable as traditional brick or stone fireplaces.
A stucco fireplace can be shaped to look like a traditional fireplace, but stucco also allows the home designer to move away from traditional styles. One of the major benefits of stucco is that it can be formed into nearly any shape, allowing homeowners significant freedom to create the fireplace they desire. Stucco also remains pliable for some time after application, so creating relief designs within a stucco fireplace is also a possibility.
A stucco fireplace allows for further customization, because it can be painted any color. Yet one must be aware that creating an even coat of color over stucco is difficult because of its rough texture. While some enjoy the rustic look that an uneven coat of paint provides, several coats of paint may need to be applied if a smooth, solid color is desired.
Stucco fireplaces are relatively inexpensive, yet money can still be saved by making this a do-it-yourself project. Refacing a stone or brick fireplace with stucco is a manageable project for most willing homeowners and can even be completed in a weekend. Those who wish to avoid the contractor, however, must be aware that some fireplaces lend themselves to refacing more easily than others. A smooth fireplace such as one made from marble should be easy to reface, yet a stone or brick fireplace that is highly textured will be more difficult to work with if the goal is to create a completely smooth surface.
Problems may arise with stucco fireplaces, because they require more maintenance than their stone and brick counterparts. While stone and brick are nearly indestructible, stucco fireplaces are relatively more prone to dings and scratches. Stucco is also prone to cracking, though this usually only occurs with older stucco and should not be a concern for new homeowners. Stucco fireplaces, much as stucco walls, may become discolored or dirty over time and may require occasional cleaning or a new coat of paint. Although minor, these maintenance requirements should be considered if one is looking for a no-maintenance fireplace.