Can You Paint A Stucco Exterior?

Stucco houses have been around for years, especially in warm or coastal climates. Houses made with stucco exteriors are extremely durable. But due to being found primarily in places that receive intense sunshine, the stucco exterior can fade over time. Can you paint a stucco exterior? We've done the research to help answer your questions.

As it turns out, stucco exteriors are fairly easy to paint as long as they are in good condition. As long as you prepare the surface properly and use the right paint, you should have no issues when it comes to painting stucco.

What is the best technique to use for stucco? And do you need to prime a stucco exterior before you paint it? In this article, you'll find the answers to any question you may have about painting stucco. Continue reading to learn more.

Can You Paint A Stucco Exterior?, adjacent peaks on a stucco house

What Exactly Is Stucco?

Stucco home exterior against a clear blue sky near sunset. Typical Southern California architectural style.

Stucco is a durable material that can be used for both the exterior and interior of houses and buildings. It is made of a mixture of water, sand, and cement so that it forms plaster. Since it is made partly of sand, you can see why it is a popular exterior choice for homes in coastal or hot climates.

There are many advantages to stucco. Some of these advantages include:

  • Low cost
  • Low maintenance 
  • Resistant to fire, fungus, and rot

Even though stucco is found primarily in warm climates, it can be used on homes in any climate and can be applied to any type of frame material. Stucco can be applied in ways that mimic different textures, including brick.

Pigments can also be added to the mixture to make stucco in different colors. It retains color really well, but sometimes it does fade over time, especially if the stucco is older. If your stucco exterior is faded or you just want to change its color, luckily it is easy to paint.

See more: "15 Stunning Stucco House Ideas."

How Do You Prepare Stucco For Paint?

adjacent peaks on a stucco house

Even if your stucco exterior is in great condition, you still need to prepare the surface before you can paint. Properly preparing the surface will help the paint stick better and give you a more even paint job. Preparing stucco for paint can take several days, so be sure to plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time.

There are three steps you need to take to prepare stucco for painting.

  1. Clean the surface.
  2. Repair the surface. 
  3. Tape any areas where you don't want paint.

1. Clean The Surface

Cleaning the surface is important for making sure your paint sticks. Unlike interior painting, cleaning an exterior surface before you paint mostly consists of removing dust and dirt. 

There are two ways you can clean the surface depending on the texture of your stucco. If your stucco has a smoother or more shallow texture, you can take a wide broom to sweep the dirt and dust off it. For a rougher or deeper texture, you can use a pressure washer for a more thorough clean.

2. Repair The Surface

After cleaning the surface, you will want to repair any cracks in the stucco so that you can apply the paint more evenly. Newer stucco homes may have few cracks or none at all, but older houses may have larger or deeper cracks. For small cracks, use masonry caulk to fill in the crack. 

Click here to view this masonry caulk on Amazon.

If you have deep cracks, check to see if there is any debris in the crack and if so, use a putty knife to dig it out. Then, use a stucco patch product to fill in the crack.

Check out this stucco patching product on Amazon.

3. Tape Off Any Areas Where You Don't Want Paint

After cleaning the surface and repairing any cracks, you will want to wait at least a week before painting to give the repair product time to dry. In the meantime, you can begin taping around any areas that you don't want the paint to get on.

Exterior paint is made of a slightly different formula than interior paint. It tends to be more durable than interior paint because exterior paint has to withstand the elements. If you get paint on any surface that you didn't want the paint to get on, it can be extremely hard to remove. Use painter's tape to tape around all the door and window trim and anywhere else that you don't want to risk getting paint.

Once the surface has been cleaned, repaired, taped off, and the repair product has had plenty of time to dry, you are ready to prime and paint your stucco exterior.

What Is The Best Primer For Stucco?

The best primer to use for stucco is either an acrylic primer or a masonry primer. Acrylic primers work well for stucco because they adhere to an uneven finish better than other primers. Masonry primers work well because the texture of stucco is similar to the texture of brick.

Try this interior/exterior acrylic primer from Amazon. 

How To Prime Stucco For Paint

Follow these steps to properly apply primer to stucco:

  1. Use a paintbrush to apply primer around the edges of the home, windows, and doors.
  2. Pour the primer into a 5-gallon bucket with a roller grid attached.
  3. Dip a large paint roller into the primer and roll it up the roller grid to remove the excess.
  4. Use the roller to apply primer to the whole surface, reloading with primer as necessary.
  5. Allow the primer to dry following the recommended drying time on the can.

Check out this roller grid on Amazon.

Click here to see this paint roller kit on Amazon.

Is It Better To Spray Or Roll Paint On Stucco?

Paint roller is being used to paint the outside of a home. The roller is attached to a pole.

You can apply paint to stucco using either a paint sprayer or a roller. Since stucco usually doesn't have an even surface, using a paint roller is better for applying paint to all surface areas with the same consistency. But since painting the whole exterior of a house with just a roller can seem daunting, you can first use a paint sprayer to apply the paint to the house and then spread it out using a roller.

If you use a paint sprayer, you may want to take extra precautions when taping off areas you don't want painted. Using a sprayer increases the chances of paint getting in places where you don't want it, especially if a sudden breeze were to come through. The best option for preventing this is to use painter's tape with plastic attached that will cover the whole door or window.

Click here to see this tape with drop cloth attachment on Amazon.

How To Paint Stucco

After you've primed the surface, follow these steps to paint stucco:

  1. As you did with the primer, use a paintbrush to paint around the edges of doors and windows.
  2. If you are using a paint sprayer, fill the sprayer with paint and apply an even coat to the entire surface of the house, then use a roller to smooth it out so that paint gets into any areas that are uneven in texture.
  3. If you are using a roller for the whole project, pour the paint into a 5-gallon bucket, then dip the roller into the paint and roll the excess off on the roller grid. Apply the paint to the surface, reloading as necessary.
  4. Give the first coat of paint plenty of time to dry.
  5. Apply additional coats of paint if necessary, allowing time to dry between coats.
  6. Once the last coat of paint is dry, remove the painter's tape from around windows and doors, being careful not to peel off any paint in the process.
  7. Touch up any areas, as needed.

This stucco, masonry, and brick paint comes in six colors. Click here to see it on Amazon.

How Long Does Exterior Paint Last On Stucco?

As long as the surface was prepared and paint was applied properly, exterior paint can last on stucco for up to 10 years. However, depending on the climate where you live, you may have to make repairs or repaint more frequently. If new cracks appear in stucco, you should repair them as soon as possible to keep them from getting bigger. You will likely want to at least paint over the repaired area.

See more: "How Long Should Exterior Paint Job Last."

In Closing

We hope this article answered any questions you had about painting a stucco exterior. With proper preparation and care, you may not have to paint your stucco exterior very often since stucco is very durable and long-lasting. Thanks for reading!

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