The Best Way to Paint Stucco


Painting stucco may seem like a daunting task, which is why many people choose a professional stucco painting company (like this one: to paint their exterior or interior stucco. But in reality, you paint stucco the way you paint almost any other surface. Check out our step-by-step guide to painting stucco.

House Painter Working on Exterior Home Maintenance Improvement Painting Work

Step 1

Make a smooth, solid substrate by patching cracks and holes in the old stucco with a new backer rod if needed, then sanding down all surfaces with 80-grit sandpaper on a pole sander or palm sander. Pay special attention to horizontal surfaces, such as lintels over windows and doors. If necessary, use a 4″ drywall knife to remove larger sections of loose material around windows and doors. Finally, vacuum up all dust from the repair work and the surrounding area.

Step 2

Apply a coat of masonry primer that says it’s for stucco on concrete block or poured concrete to the whole exterior of the house. Let it dry overnight, if possible.

Step 3

Apply a coat of masonry paint that’s compatible with your existing painted surfaces to the entire house, including every nook and cranny around windows and doors where stucco meets another surface.

Step 4

Allow for adequate drying time between coats; usually, 24 hours in good conditions, which means low humidity (less than 30 percent) and temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit at night or below 90 during the day. Keep children and pets off the wet surface until after the final coat dries thoroughly to avoid stains on light-coloured surfaces or damage to fresh paint. Expect three coats in all required for complete coverage, including touchups required by missed spots and the first coat of paint.

Step 5

Change exterior lightbulbs to fluorescent or LED if necessary for good colour rendering, which you can test with a render-rating card available at most paint stores. Avoid using incandescent bulbs because they change the colour balance in your photos. Test all new bulbs on your render-rating card before installing them since some types of fluorescent and LED lights deter insects from entering the house.

Step 6

Wait until 30 days have passed before painting indoor trim around windows and doors with dark colours to avoid bleeding through the finish on the stucco surface next to it during hot weather or high humidity conditions that could happen within that timeframe in some climates.

Step 7

Continue routine maintenance after one week by washing the exterior of the house with soap and water. Remove any mildew growing on stucco surfaces at this time by scrubbing them gently with a 3 percent bleach solution or other mildew-control product available at home centers since stucco is porous and mildews faster than other surface types.

Step 8

Make touchup repairs to small damage occurring after 30 days as needed with a colour-matched latex masonry paint.

Step 9

Cover the painted stucco with screens and storm windows before cold weather arrives to keep out drafts and moisture, which cause cracks in old stucco exteriors. If you use aluminum mesh for this purpose, consider painting it to match your house colours like the rest of the exterior after it dries thoroughly.

Step 10

Replace any broken or rotted window sills that show signs of damage from water intrusion at the end of each wet season after examining them closely for rot damage on all exterior surfaces annually during rainy months when humidity is high. Clean away mildew growing on these spots and re-prime and paint them before applying new wood putty and caulk if needed for a good seal.

Step 11

Expect to replace all damaged exterior wood trim every decade or two for a more durable finish that will remain attractive through the years. If you want to paint your house in one of the many popular exteriors “colours” available today, make sure it matches previous colour choices since these frequently change from year to year depending on new fashion trends in colour marketing by paint companies.


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