The truth is that painting stucco is actually quite easy and will produce great results as long as you follow these important steps:
Clean The Efflorescence and Debris
Efflorescence is a combination of minerals and salts that form on the top of Stucco and other masonry. While by themselves these salts are harmless to your home, they can pose a potential problem when painting stucco. Efflorescence can create a barrier between the stucco and the new paint and keep them from forming a proper bond. This is the same effect that plain old dirt and debris can have on a new paint job.
The easiest way to clean all dirt, debris and efflorescence from your home before painting your stucco is to start with a stiff dry brush. Don’t use any water at this point. Use the dry hard bristle brush to scrub your home and break all of the salts and debris free.
Next you will want to thoroughly wash your home with a high powered power washer. Stucco is very durable, so don’t be afraid to get in close and really clean your home.
Let Your Stucco Dry Thoroughly
When painting stucco you need make sure the stucco is 100% dry. I am not going to tell you to take a moisture reading like many people do, I know that 99.9% of the population does not have moisture readers. Good advice for stucco is to give it two sunny days before painting. Stucco has many pours and areas for water to hide, so always play it safe with your dry times.
Prime Stucco With An Elastomeric Primer
When painting stucco you should also start with an elastomeric primer. Many people, and painters, have heard of these coatings but don’t understand why they are really used. Honestly, I have heard many paint store workers try to explain this and most of them are completely wrong. The reason you need an elastomeric primer when painting stucco is that when stucco becomes water soaked and the temperatures fall below freezing, this water expands and causes damage to the stucco. An elastomeric primer will seal all of the pours in the stucco and water proof the siding. This will limit the damage that water and freezing temperatures can cause on your home.
Apply Your Paint
The last step to painting stucco is to apply your paint. If you primed with an elastomeric primer, you can actually top coat with any paint you desire, check out this article on choosing exterior paints. Painting stucco can be very tricky to get your paint color into all of the nooks, cracks and holes and get good coverage. If you have access to a paint sprayer, this will cut your painting time by at least half. On a stucco surface a paint sprayer is a life saver! If you don’t have access to a sprayer you will want to use a 1 inch thick or thicker nap roller. This is an extra thick roller and will better get paint into small holes in stucco.
Finish The Paint Job
After the above steps, painting stucco is just like painting any other exterior. With the use of a good exterior paint you should be able to enjoy a long life out of your new stucco paint job.