What are the Best Tips for Painting Stucco?

Susan Grindstaff

Preparation is considered one of the most important steps when painting stucco or any other surface. The surface should be clean and free of any debris or grit that might adhere to the paint. In addition, it is a good idea to make any needed repairs to the stucco before applying fresh paint. Weather and temperature should also be considered before painting, especially if the paint is for an exterior surface. Ideally, painting should be done during times of low humidity and mild temperatures, because this type of weather usually leads to faster and more even drying.

Paint and a paint brush.
Paint and a paint brush.

Pressure washing is a good way to prepare an exterior stucco surface for painting. Pressure washing is typically done by washing the surface using water sprayed at very high pressure. It is considered faster than hand washing and more efficient than using a regular garden hose. In addition, because the water is dispensed at such high pressure, it will likely expose loose pieces of damaged stucco that might otherwise go undetected. The surface should be allowed to dry completely before attempting repairs or applying paint.

Supplies for painting.
Supplies for painting.

It is important to repair cracks or other damages prior to painting stucco. Gaps or cracks in stucco can result in water seepage, which may severely limit the life of the paint job. This type of water seepage commonly causes surface discoloration, so careful attention to repair work may help achieve even-toned, long-lasting coverage.

Most experts advise using a primer before painting stucco. Primers are applied in much the same way as regular paint, but are designed to deliver maximum coverage. Primer is especially helpful when the new paint is a different color that the original. Though some people choose to paint without first using a primer, this can sometimes result in the need for additional coats of paint, and the new color could possibly be altered by bleed through from the original surface.

Stucco is generally considered a masonry type surface, and paint and primer used for painted stucco should be of the type specifically designed for masonry. These products are usually available at most home improvements retailers or paint centers, and are comparable in cost to most other types of paint. Most experts generally recommend acrylic-based products for painting stucco. Painting can be applied by spraying or hand-held brush, but should not begin until windows and trim are covered.

A person working with painted stucco.
A person working with painted stucco.

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