Mark Leach | http://www.mcmhome.com
I did my personal house about 5 years ago and it still looks good.
The ONLY stucco that is appropriate to use in New York would be acrylic stucco. This is essentially fake stucco. It is applied using foam, scratch coat, plastic wire and the finish coat (paint + texture). Because we have 4 seasons in NY you must use a system that will allow for expansion and contraction. If you were to use the triple layer type of stucco, it WILL crack, this is certain. In the 3 season climates you an use the triple layer but not in NY.
The insulation factor is questionable with acrylic stucco because the foam is not really intended to provide an R Value. The foam is used to give a consistent wall.
Stucco is cheaper than brick but more expensive than vinyl shake or siding. Some people use a combination of stucco / brick or stucco/ / stone or stucco and vinyl. This not only saves a little money but gives a unique finish.
The downside to acrylic stucco is that it can (and will) get damaged much easier than brick or vinyl siding. It can be repaired. The only way to damage it would be to hit it pretty hard with a sharp object on an angle. You might wonder how this can possibly happen, but it will. This is why you sometimes will see stucco above brick or stucco above vinyl shake / siding
Personally I like the detail work that can be created with stucco and it gives a house a nice elegant look. My favorite exterior sheathing happens to be brick but stucco is a very close second.
If you like I can stop by and give an estimate or suggestions for your house.
I can not help you regarding references for contractors but the following individual might. He is Carl Brown out of Kansas City, KS. He runs a couple of WEB sites dedicated to informing people about stucco and its issues. Stucco is great if it is properly installed and maintained. You can contact him (contact info on his WEB site) and he can point you in the direction of picking a good stucco contractor. He might be able to provide other information for you that would be of great assistance to you. His WEB sites are:
Good luck on your renovations.
Emmanuel J. Scanlan
PS Inspection & Property Services LLC
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