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Stucco is usually thought of as a zero maintenance exterior finish, since many types of stucco in the interior west come pre-colored using a system like Sto or Dryvit EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish Systems).

The truth is that over time these colored systems become dingy and fade, often showing lines caused by high alkalinity, chalking and effervescence.

Stucco is a combination of powdered limestone or cement, blended with sand and water until it reaches a mortar-like consistency. Applied by hand over metal wire or lath, stucco cures to a hard and durable masonry surface, which can last for years on a home’s exterior. You can update old stucco siding with the application of exterior paint. Stucco holds paint well, and as long as the siding is in good condition, prepping for paint is minimal and involves caulking cracks and cleaning the old stucco.

When it comes time to paint your home, there are specific products that work very well on stucco surfaces. These products will provide a long lasting color and appearance on stable stucco surfaces, often lasting around 7- 10 years.

Painters without experience with current masonry systems will apply standard house paint or elastomeric paint, not realizing that these coatings perform poorly in our high UV climate. Often the color will fade quickly, and doesn’t touch up or clean like one would like.

A stucco specific system prevents moisture from entering the masonry or concrete material, and it also allows the stucco to release moisture vapors without interfering with the adhesion and the performance of the coating.

Here’s how to prep and paint stucco correctly


·         Proper preparation is the key to any paint project and painting stucco is no different.

·         Clean the surface with a TSP (tri-sodium phosphate) solution which eliminates all dirt and grease. This heavy duty cleaner should be sprayed and brushed onto the wet surface to ensure as much unwanted particles are removed as possible.

·         Caulk hairline cracks in the stucco with masonry compatible caulk. For larger cracks, use a putty knife to remove debris first and then fill the cracks with a dry stucco repair product, mixed with water, as directed on the package.

·         After a good rinsing and proper dry time, about 24-48 hours in our dry climate, you are ready to paint.

·         If you experience chalking, even after thorough cleaning, then a masonry sealer should be used. This sealer can be applied in a clear base or a tinted color to assist with a color change.

Applying the finish:

The finish coat should be applied with an airless sprayer and then back rolled. This allows us to achieve the proper thickness and ensure solid adhesion with the back roll application. This will also help bridge any hairline cracks and give a uniform even low luster sheen. 

If you are ready to enhance or change the color of your stucco home, let us know and we would be happy to help you do it properly, to obtain the look and longevity you are seeking to achieve!

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