How to Paint Stucco Siding

Stucco siding is one of the most common exteriors of homes, businesses and utility building throughout the United States, especially in regions around the Southwest and southern and central California. As we related in a previous post, it is a siding material that provides a solid, durable, and seamless siding, along with natural fire resistance, good durability, and moderate maintenance. 

In addition, stucco is a great insulator against both cold and heat. And, because a stucco exterior is relatively inexpensive, it’s an economical way to maintain a constant temperature in a structure.

Another aspect of stucco is that it can be re-painted periodically to either refresh the finish or change the look of your home. 

In this article, we’ll look at the why, what and how of painting stucco siding.

Why Paint Stucco Siding

There are several good reasons for giving a stucco siding a fresh coat of paint aside from the pure aesthetics of it.

A proper paint finish will make your stucco siding weather resistant and seal out moisture. And, as any owner of stucco siding probably knows, moisture is the number one enemy of stucco materials. There are modern special exterior painting systems for stucco developed to achieve this end. 

Another advantage of painting your old stucco is covering over the various stains that can develop over time. These might be caused by rust or water from gutter systems or sprinklers. An expert paint job will keep these stains from reappearing for years.

One more reason for adding a new paint job to your existing stucco finish will also help protect it from the cumulative damage caused by UV light exposure. Can UV really impact your stucco? According to a blog article at Plideck, concrete, masonry, stucco, and other forms of concrete surfaces are damaged by UV rays, although not as quickly as wood structures.

And, of course, there are many colors to decide from and this gives homeowners and others options for either freshening up your old color or choosing a bold, new look that can make your home stand out.

What You Use to Paint Stucco Siding

Whether you expect to paint your siding yourself or plan to hire a painting contractor to do it for you, knowing what types of paint work best is good to know. 

According to the folks at Sherwin-Williams

“Acrylic latex products perform the best on stucco. Most do-it-yourselfers find that latex products are easiest to use because they are easy to apply, and they clean up with soap and water. Acrylic latex paints also offer good gloss and color retention as well as good coverage that dries fast.”

However, this is just for the final coat. 

Typically, if your siding has been around been a few years (or a lot of years!), you may need to do some minor repairs first. This could be a few patches or just filling in hairline cracks. Using elastomeric patching material or sealant works well for this. 

Having visible patches and touch-ups, however, will likely mean a need for a coat of primer to cover these up while providing a smooth, clean and consistent base for your final paint job.

How to Paint Stucco Siding

The simplest method for painting stucco siding is to hire a professional painting contractor to do it for you! However, if you’re a homeowner with either a strong DIY streak, or a need to save money, the good news is that you can easily paint stucco siding yourself. 

Depending on the age of the siding and the location, the first step will be cleaning the stucco surface. For most exterior stucco, this simply requires a good sweeping with a stiff brush or push broom. If the stucco has dirt or mildew build-up, you should use an appropriate cleaner first. In some cases, using a power washer might be beneficial, but you’ll need to let the walls dry for a day or so before making any repairs.

Patching and filling cracks, chips and holes are the next steps in the painting process. As noted already, using stucco patching compounds designed specifically for stucco repair work best. The elastomeric properties allow the repaired areas to flex slightly if the structure shifts or moves.

Once the cleaning and repairs are completed, your stucco surfaces should be ready for primer.

According to home “how-to” expert Bob Vila

“Prime with a high quality acrylic primer, using a synthetic brush to cut in, and a large napped roller to roll it on. Acrylic primers and paints are preferred because their binders mean better adherence to the uneven stucco finish. A large napped roller makes for easier application into all the nooks and crannies.”

Depending on the original color and the extent of repairs, you may need more than one coat to achieve complete coverage. With primer as with paint, it’s often better to apply two thinner coats than one thick coat. This will help avoid paint pooling in crevices and minimize drips.

After applying your primer and allowing sufficient drying time, you can now put on your actual paint.

Exterior painting requires dry weather and moderate temperatures. As with your primer, you will likely need twice the amount of paint you would use on a smooth exterior surface. For example, if your paint manufacturer claims 400 square feet of coverage, plan on getting about 800. Stucco’s deep texture can be deceptive when it comes to “how much is enough.”

Done properly, a quality exterior paint job should last 5 to 10 years depending again on your location. Unfortunately, states with more stringent Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) laws with find their paint, adhesives and sealants less effective and this will cause your maintenance schedule to increase both in time and overall costs.  

Siding Matters! TLC for Your Home

The primary purpose of the siding on your house is to protect the home, along with foundation and everything inside it. Siding protects your house from rain, snow, wind, and any other strong weather elements. In addition, quality siding will provide an insulating layer between the interior of your home and the heat or cold outside. 

Learn more about your siding options and what you can do to improve and enhance your home.