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ldesnick 04-09-2012 12:19 PM

Is it OK to paint a stucco house?
I have heard in the past it is not a good idea to paint exterior stucco.
I recently was told that Sherwin Williams has figured out a paint that will not peel off stucco. What do I need to know about painting or not painting stucco.


MidgeTenant 04-09-2012 01:05 PM

Hi, Les,

I'm surprised to be able to answer a question on this forum; I'm a real tyro at painting, and had expected to visit here just to ask.

There are many stucco front houses in San Francisco, and it's hard to think of any that haven't been painted. A few minutes on Google image search turned up:


A contractor recommended to me that elastomeric paint be used with stucco for waterproofing. Elastomeric paints are only available in light shades. However, a first coat of elastomeric can be used, and subsequent coats of 'regular' paint can be used on top of the elastomeric.

The combination of elastomeric & 'regular' paint wouldn't be recommended for wood siding, but should be fine for stucco, according to what I've heard thus far. And I don't think elastomeric paint would be used on wood siding anyway.

I'm not a painting contractor, and am brand new to painting. I strongly suggest you do your own checking with experts before spending money.

Gymschu 04-09-2012 05:47 PM

I don't often use elastomeric paint but I have been keeping an eye on my local SW paintstore which was coated about 8 years ago with SW's elastomeric paint for concrete block. Although it's dirty, it has NOT peeled at all. Some fading has occurred but that is to be expected. Elastomeric on Stucco is the way to go. Prep is crucial with stucco. Cracks, holes, etc must be properly fixed and the stucco cleaned before applying any finish.

Will22 04-10-2012 09:37 AM

Elastomeric or exterior house paints may be used for stucco.

user1007 04-10-2012 02:07 PM

I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for two decades. There is absolutely no reason you cannot and should not paint a stucco home. I had a sprawling ranch that had gotten many years from the colorant just in the stucco but the time came it just looked faded and dull. As with any exterior painted home, it does become a regular maintenance task you should add to the list. I painted the house twice in 20 years and it was not really time the second time but I wanted it to sparkle for sale.

There are not so many stucco homes in Chicago or Central Illinois but I cannot think of one I have ever seen that has not been painted. I never did a lot of exterior work but did an old 1920s three story stucco building about 15 years ago in Central Illinois as a favor. Paint still looks great. Client preferred SW over Ben Moore and it was elastomeric.

As mentioned, prep is key. You should make any repairs and of course clean the surface thoroughly (perhaps not with a power washer for stucco). Seal/prime repairs. Appropriate overall primer and finish are important and spending a few bucks more per gallon at a real paint store will add years to the paint job.

Don't skip on tools either. I had the house sprayed the last time because I was living elsewhere. When I painted it I used a thick nap lambswool roller cover. The stucco chews up synthetic contractor grade covers I use most often for everything else. You will also need a quality brush or two appropriate to the task and expect to pay $100/retail for a nice 8" exterior Purdy or something.

Look for coupons online or in the paper from real paint stores or ask the manager. They all run some pretty good deals this time of year.

An old-timer taught me to moisten the stucco surface before applying primer or paint. I don't know that it makes a difference and dilluting paint was not something I felt comfortable with. You definitely do not want to try paint hot stucco. Unlike wood, it retains heat and causes the paint to dry too fast.

user1007 04-10-2012 02:08 PM


Originally Posted by ldesnick (Post 895076)
I have heard in the past it is not a good idea to paint exterior stucco.
I recently was told that Sherwin Williams has figured out a paint that will not peel off stucco. What do I need to know about painting or not painting stucco.


It probably makes no difference for this post, but you might want to update your profile so we know in general where you are?

Mr. Paint 04-10-2012 06:12 PM

Any good quality acrylic paint is fine for stucco. If it is new, it will neead a pH-resistant primer, otherwise two coats of paint are fine. Elastomerics are only recommended where there is a water-leakage issue or many hairline cracks. They are best professionally applied.

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