How To Paint Stucco
Ah, summertime in Calgary: the days are long, the sun is shining, and you’re finally able to get cracking on that exterior paint job on your house. Maybe you’ve been looking at your stucco siding for a long time, thinking of the perfect colour and finish, or perhaps you’ve just had your siding replaced with a new stucco job. Either way, now you’re thinking: what’s the proper way to paint it? Let’s go over how to paint stucco The Urban Painter way!
Preparation and Planning
If your home’s stucco is brand new, you should give it at least 60 days to fully cure before attempting to paint it. This will allow any residual moisture to evaporate from the material, and will lead to a better-looking paint job down the road. Alternatively, if it’s an older wall, you’ll have to inspect it for cracks, breaks, stains, or water damage, and deal with those as necessary.
Use a pressure washer (but don’t turn the pressure too high, or hold the tip too close to the wall – you don’t want to break the stucco) and thoroughly clean the exterior surface from the top down. Give it at least a day to dry in sunny weather, a bit more if it’s not as warm, before you move on to the next stage.
If the stucco is still in relatively good shape, with no bare spots, it’s likely safe to skip the priming step. But if it’s new, or has a lot of damage, pick up an acrylic masonry primer and use it as necessary – whether that’s covering the whole wall, or just spot priming the problematic areas. This will ensure that the paint on top sticks properly and provides the best possible protection.
To apply the primer, use a roller with a long nap length, in order to get plenty of primer on the porous material and into all the grooves and valleys. This may take a while to do, so remember to put on some good tunes, work in the shade, and keep an eye on your paint supply so that it doesn’t get a “skin” on top! Proper and strategic downtime is important to the success of your home’s appearance when learning how to paint stucco!
If there are cracks or gaps in the stucco surface, use caulking to fill them completely before proceeding to the actual painting step. Holes behind the paint will lead to moisture intrusion, which can cause bubbling, peeling, and ultimately, failure of that part of the paint job in a very short time. You wouldn’t want all this hard work to go to waste!
If there’s major damage – like big broken chunks, large holes, or a leak from a broken pipe, among other things – you may have to call in an expert to repair it. While a wire brush and some patching compound can take care of small chips and breaks, large-scale fixes are best left to the professionals, who can make sure that the texture and materials match properly, as well as preventing the same thing from happening in the future.
The Paint Job
Whew! Prepping stucco can be rather time-consuming, but it’s worth it when you get to this stage. When learning how to paint stucco with the proper technique, you always need to consider qualities like breathability, flexibility, coverage, resistance to force, and washability. A good all-around paint to use is an elastomeric, a thick and very durable material that provides excellent dirt and water repellence on masonry (and many of them actually are self-priming, as long as the surface is clean).
You can either spray or roll the paint on, and both has advantages and downfalls. Spraying is much faster overall, but requires a lot more prep time because you have to mask off windows, doors, dryer vents, and other areas that are not getting painted. Additionally, it’s recommended that you have a second person backrolling behind you, in order to get the paint into all the tiny holes and cracks on a stucco surface – be sure to work quickly on hot days! It’s very easy to miss areas on rough surfaces like this by spraying alone, since the varying heights and valleys of the material make it difficult to reach every angle of every section. Use the correct tips and pumps for the type of paint you’re using (e.g., regular latex paint is much more sprayer-friendly than thick elastomeric, especially in the summer heat).
On the other hand, if you are brushing and rolling, you must first cut in around all necessary areas, which can be time-consuming in itself with ladder placement, reach, safety, and so on. Remember to use a roller with a long nap (depending on the roughness, 1 to 1.5 inches) in order to fully saturate the wall with paint as you go. You want to fill all the microscopic holes in the masonry, and you need a lot of paint to do that! Don’t be afraid to put a lot of paint on the roller, but definitely be aware of drips and runs as you go. The jagged edges of stucco are notorious for catching paint and letting it drip onto unsuspecting walkways, plants, and other items below. It’s a good idea to start at the top of the wall and work your way down, finishing sections before they have time to dry completely. Also note that your roller may get dirty and shredded rather quickly on these surfaces – be sure to have plenty of spares on hand!
If you’ve successfully made it this far, then you’ve successfully learned how to paint stucco – congratulations! Now all that’s left is to clean up. Wash out your brushes and rollers (if you’re hanging on to them), and collect all your leftover paint and label it with the date, area of the house it was used on, and the address. Make sure all your tools are accounted for, and if you’ve used a sprayer, clean it out according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Gather up all drop sheets and remove all tape, paper, and plastic, and finally, restore any hardware or fixtures that you may have removed, and move furnishings back where they belong. Hopefully, you’re now the owner of an excellent stucco paint job!
Taking on a stucco job in Calgary can be daunting, especially if your house has multiple storeys or difficult areas to access. While you may be ready for the challenge, you may also decide that you don’t want to risk injury or damage to yourself or your house – and that’s when it’s time to call The Urban Painter!
We’ve been painting jobs like yours in Calgary and the surrounding area since 2008, and we have all the necessary equipment, tools, and training to tackle any paint job that you can think of. We offer free estimates and paint colour consultations, and are committed to excellent customer service (as our Google reviews plainly show). When it comes to doing the job right, we’ll never tell you that you can’t – but we’re able to say with complete confidence that yes, we can. If you would like to learn about more topics you can do on your own other than how to paint stucco, we invite you to continue to browse our website and enjoy all of the incredible and informative content to help you be successful with any paint job you may encounter.
Call us for your quote today at 403-774-1424, or visit our offices at 328 40 Ave NE in Calgary, Alberta – just across from the Centre Street church. We can’t wait to see how we can make your home looks its best!