To paint or not to paint, this is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make as a stucco siding homeowner. Since stucco comes in naturally appealing colors that last for decades, the option of painting isn’t always on the table.
But once your stucco starts fading or develops a rough texture, the best remodeling option would be painting. So, yes, you can paint your stucco siding.
However, your paints and painting materials as well as the surface preparation will be different from what’s usually required by other siding materials.
The biggest argument among owners for not painting stucco is the fact that it takes away the free maintenance aspect. They argue that once you paint your stucco, you’ll have to keep doing it once every ‘x’ years which means added maintenance costs.
What they don’t account for is the numerous benefits that accompany painted stucco sidings. Here are some of the key advantages you’ll gain by painting stucco;
- Keeps out moisture
Stucco sidings are known to be culprits of water retention and dampness every time it rains. This often leads to costly water damage problems and in some extreme cases, mold infestation.
Painting the siding will form a new sealant layer, ensuring that moisture on the surface doesn’t get absorbed into the stucco. This will not only get rid of the damp spots, it’ll also make your home weather-resistant and ensure it remains attractive for more decades.
- Fills hairline cracks
Applying a fresh coat of thick paint on your stucco can fill any hairline cracks on your siding, preventing them from turning into a major problem. If you ignore these small cracks, they’ll soon become bigger, and chunks of your stucco will begin falling off.
Large cracks should however be left for professional contractors to repair.
- Covers any stains
Water and rust stains are quite common on stucco sidings, especially under window frames after a few years. Painting covers these stains effortlessly leaving no room for them to resurface.
- Resists UV rays
For stucco homes in hot and sunny areas, UV rays from the sun can easily damage your stucco structure, causing large cracks and holes in the siding. This ultimately affects stucco’s insulation capabilities among other functions.
Adding a coat of paint deflects the UV rays ensuring that the siding insulates your home properly.
- Improves the curb appeal
The right paint on your stucco siding can work wonders on the overall appeal of your home. Thanks to the vast paint color options available, you can choose paints that match your preference and landscape.
This way, whether you were looking to resell or simply improve the exterior appearance of your home, painting will do it for you.
Important: It’s however worth noting that while painting stucco has numerous benefits, you’ll only enjoy these benefits if it’s done correctly. That’s why inexperienced homeowners are advised to seek the help of professional painters to handle such a job.
How to paint stucco siding the right way
Painting Stucco isn’t your regular DIY project. You need to pay special care and attention to every stage of the painting to get the best results.
Whenever possible, always get a professional to do it. But if you think you can do as good a job as a pro, here’s how to go about the job.
Tools and materials needed
- Drop cloths
- Masonry caulk
- Painter’s tape
- Acrylic paint
- Synthetic-bristle paintbrushes (small, medium, and large)
- Napped paint roller
- Caulking gun
- Power washer
- Protective gear
- Paint tray
Step 1: Do a quick inspection and make repairs
Right off the bat, you’ll need to do an inspection to identify any issues with your existing stucco siding. Look for any cracks, peelings, missing pieces, or chips, and use the masonry caulk to fill or patch the affected areas before commencing the painting.
Step 2: Handle the prep work
Prepare the area around your siding by first covering everything that doesn’t need to be painted. This includes the windows, vents, etc. Next, use the power washer to remove all the dirt, dust, and debris from the siding surface and crevices.
If there’s any dirt built up on the wall, use a stiff brush to get rid of it. You can also use a degreaser or cleaner for greasy or mildew-infested sidings.
Cleaning ensures that the paint adheres properly to the finish. Finally, leave the siding to dry then lay the drop cloths and cover the trims with painter’s tape.
Step 3: Prime the siding
You’ll need to use a high-quality acrylic masonry primer to improve the adherence of stucco to your paints. Use the napped paint roller to roll the paint easily through the hard-to-reach areas, then get the synthetic paintbrushes for cutting in.
Don’t rush the priming process. Due to the complex nature of the stucco surface, use at least two thin coats of the primer instead of one thick coat and ensure everything is covered.
Give the primer time to dry as per the manufacturer’s direction.
Note: You might not need a primer if the stucco siding has an acrylic finish.
Step 4: Start the painting
Once the last coat of primer is dry, it’s time to start the actual painting. Just as with the primer, you’ll need to use high-quality exterior acrylic paints.
Take the napped roller and drag it in vertical strokes across the siding following the top-down painting rule. In the nooks and crannies where the roller can’t reach, get the paintbrushes.
If you want to hide any paint edges, try using different rolling patterns when painting instead of just one motion. Moreover, don’t forget to use a small paintbrush when cutting in around the windows or doors.
For the best results, ensure you’ve applied about two coats of paint, keeping in mind that you’ll use more paint on stucco sidings compared to regular flat sidings.
Finally, follow the dry time guidelines in between paint coats as recommended by the manufacturer.
Alternative to paint roller: Using a Sprayer
According to some experts, a paint sprayer yields better results when painting stucco exteriors compared to paint rollers. The application techniques are however slightly different.
For one, during the prep work, you’ll need to use a shield like cardboard to cover the areas you don’t want sprayed.
When spraying, you’re also advised to opt for shorter but quick spray bursts and also even patterns to avoid forming any hard lines. In order to blend the starting and ending points of the spray pattern, you should also pull the spray nozzle farther away from the wall.
And finally, ensure that you don’t spray the stucco from just one direction. Use several different directions (back-rolling) to reduce the appearance of spray lines, and to also improve the paint blend.
Warning: Always wear your protective gear (gloves, face mask, painting respirator, etc) when spray painting. Spray paint fumes can be poisonous when inhaled.
Step 5: Clean up your workspace
Once you’re done with your painting, clean up your rollers and paintbrushes and store them in plastic bags. Pick up the drop cloths and remove the painter’s tape before the paint dries completely. Ensure you pull the painter’s tape at 45-degree angles to avoid ruining the fresh paint.
How long should I wait to paint my stucco?
Between 4 to 6 weeks. Even though experts say that stucco cures in around 7 – 14 weeks, waiting for about a month or two before painting is likely to give the best results. During this time, the stucco will be completely cured and hardened.
If you don’t want to wait that long, you can also purchase a small kit at your local hardware to regularly test the moisture levels in your stucco.
What kind of paint should I use?
Acrylic paints. For years, acrylic products have been known to give excellent results on stucco. They are easier to use as a DIYer, are durable, and offer the best breathability when compared to most options in the market.
The best alternatives to acrylic paints are Elastomeric paint and Masonry paint.
Should I use a primer before I paint?
Yes. Due to the absorbent nature of stucco, a primer is crucial for stopping the siding from absorbing moisture and fading. It also ensures that the paint adheres well with stucco.
However, you can’t use just any primer in the market. Various primers react differently with different paints, as such, you’ll have to find the primers recommended by your paint manufacturer.
As a rule, never go for the cheapest primer if it’s not the recommended brand. You’ll only end up wasting money.
What if my PH is too high?
Painting stucco siding with a high PH usually leads to a heavy color burnout and eventually, paint deterioration. You, therefore, have to be more cautious about the stucco PH before beginning the painting project.
Ideally, newly installed stucco usually has a high alkaline PH of around 13. To lower this PH, you’ll need to water down the walls or siding.
Experts recommend watering your siding for at least 4 days straight until the PH level gets below 10 for you to paint. You can also apply a special alkali-resistant primer to help manage the high PH.
How often does stucco need painting?
Stucco sidings need to be repainted once every five to ten years. While it could last longer, most painted stucco will start peeling and blistering after this period due to the prevailing environmental conditions.
Common mistakes to avoid when painting stucco
By now, you probably understand that painting stucco requires adequate knowledge of the painting process. Any wrong decision you make can cost you greatly in the long run.
Therefore, as you paint your stucco, here are some key mistakes to avoid;
Painting a dirty surface – Failure to wash your stucco siding first is a rookie mistake that’s bound to conflict with your painting process. Any kind of dirt on the surface makes it harder for the paint to adhere with stucco and so exposes it to peeling and flaking.
- Inadequate curing – Painting your stucco siding too early after installation will cause it to deteriorate rapidly and crumble. You’ll need to give the stucco at least 30 days to dry and cure. During this period, you can also wet the siding to lower its PH as it cures.
- Failure to patch or repairs – Before applying that first coat of paint, ensure that all the holes and cracks are filled. Painting over any imperfections on the siding will create holes for water to seep through and for molds to grow.
- Painting over wet surfaces – Many beginner DIYers are also culprits of painting the stucco while it’s wet. Doing this results in a paint that peels and bubbles quickly since stucco is porous. To avoid this, ensure you give your stucco about a week to dry after power washing it.
- Ignoring professionals – Failure to at least consult a professional painter for your painting job is a mistake that will also cost you. The experts know the right paints, equipment, and techniques to get the best off stucco painting. If your budget allows, always hire an experienced painter.
How long will painted stucco last?
This will depend on the quality of paint used, the environmental factors in the area, and the expertise of the painter. Under the right conditions, painted stucco can last for up to 20 years without any peeling or blistering.
Nonetheless, most homeowners have to repaint their siding every 5 – 10 years when they notice an issue with the paint.
To be safe, always inspect your painted stucco annually to spot signs of peeling, cracks, or blistering. Any of these signs will demand repairs and a fresh paint coat.
Combining sprays and roll painting has proven to give the best results. Spray paints start the job, covering all parts of your siding, then the paint roller goes over the sprayed areas ensuring the paint is uniform and the color blend is okay.
Yes. Washing your stucco is a crucial part of the painting. However, be careful not to use too much pressure when using the pressure washer as it could damage the siding surface.