Painting Exterior Stucco

In recent years, the exterior wall surface of choice for many new homes has been stucco. Often associated with Mediterranean or Southwestern design, stucco is a hardy and long-lasting finish to the exterior of a home. When it comes to changing color or giving stucco a face-lift, the best and fastest way is with paint. Stucco, when properly prepared and painted with high quality finish paint, can remain maintenance free for many years.

The Quality Of The Job Is In The Preparation

The process for a successful and stunning paint job on stucco is in the details of excellent preparation, repairs (if necessary), and choosing high quality primer and paint. Thorough cleaning to remove dirt and dust is the important first step. The best and fastest way to accomplish this is with pressure washing. However, stucco is a soft masonry coating and cannot stand excessive high-pressure water. By using a wide spray tip and minimal pressure, the job can be done without damaging the stucco. For areas that are dirty or have a high level of efflorescence deposits, it may be necessary to use masonry cleaners and soaps. Usually, such measures are not necessary. To prevent leaks or the intrusion of water behind the stucco, angle the pressure hose away from doors and windows. Begin at the top and work down, being careful not to lift the stucco with high water pressure. Any paint that remains after the washing will require manual removal with a stiff putty knife and a wire brush. It is important for the surface to dry thoroughly before proceeding, and depending upon humidity and temperature, this can take up to 24 hours.

Proper Sealing Means No Water Damage

The longevity of the paint job is determined in large part by stopping all water leaks from penetrating the painted surface. Good sealant, the best being an elastomeric caulk, will last a long time and should be applied after the stucco is thoroughly dry and properly primed for the best results. Seal around all places where water can penetrate and around all openings, including windows, doors, trim and places like dryer vents and plumbing sites.

Common Stucco Repairs

The most common types of repairs to stucco are damaged corners, small areas of stucco that are missing, and large cracks in the walls. Masonry surfaces always have non-structural cracks, ranging in size and length from thin little spider cracks to an opening ¼ inch wide. Caulk can be used very effectively for smaller cracks, but the larger ones will need brush grade elastomeric sealant. Allow each coat of sealant to dry completely. If there are large areas needing repair, it is best to get a professional contractor who will be able to match the stucco, to do the job. Otherwise, repair is easy. Chip away loose material, rinse and scrub with a wire brush to remove any lingering grit and after the area is dry, apply to patching compound.

Once the repairs are completed and the surface is very dry, the best primer can be sprayed on. When it dries, apply a high quality finishing paint to the surface and your exterior is good for another few years.