Paint for stucco?

jenny_bApril 20, 2006

My mom is about to have her 1917 bungalow's stucco exterior painted. She's been hearing about newer paints for stucco that are apparently elastic and supposed to last longer. Any opinions? (She's in Washington, DC - so four distinct seasons, cold winters, extremely hot, humid summers, if that makes a difference.)


(Apologies if this isn't the best forum, but my search is mostly turning up discussions by people thinking about putting stucco on new construction.)

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I've heard about these as well. I'd be curious to know more.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 11:12AM
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I've lived in a stucco house for 42 years. Many years ago, I considered painting but was told that once I painted it, I would have to repaint on a regular basis. The predominating opinion was that I should coat it with a mixture of white portland cement and water  adding pigment if I wanted a color other than white.

I have a 2½ story house and I haven't gotten around to doing anything with the stucco. It doesn't look too bad. I really like stucco!

    Bookmark   April 21, 2006 at 11:14PM
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According to some of these articles one should seal or paint stucco. This of course calls into question why some of us have stucco that looks great after 90+ years. But it does refer to sealing stucco. And since I have previously painted stucco, this might be what I need. See the included link for good detail. To summarize, there are paints that are effective on Stucco. And depending on where you live and your specific house, you may well want to paint. The key is to use special paint such as elastomeric paint.

Here is a link that might be useful: Google Answers

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 11:12AM
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There are lots of stucco houses around here and from what I've always heard is you do not paint it. And if it's breathable why would you want to seal it? There has never been enough rain to cause the problems they mention with "wicking" and my house is 103 years old , and in Chicago. You can change the color with another coat of stucco or this other stuff called thorocoat that comes in darker colors. Real stucco can only go so dark without the amount of pigment you have to put in changing the strenght of the stucco. I don't know what they use now for"stucco" houses but I doubt if it's the same as the old stuff. Your best bet is to find a knowledgable and experienced stucco guy.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2006 at 9:09PM
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You should not paint stucco. You can have it recolored with a product called Thorocoat - but painting really inhibits some of the great characeteristics of stucco.

I'm having a garage stuccoed and they're using stucco and then color it with Thorocoat - so some stuff whether it's new or old.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 9:34PM
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Stucco around here is all gray cement colored. Everybody paints it. House I'm in was built in 1956, stucco on block.. been painted since new. Typical of all Florida homes I'm aware of.

I'm fixing to repaint.. investigated the ceramic coatings and the stucco guys say Do Not use an elastomeric coating on stucco as stucco is made to breath. Regular acrylic latex breaths and the guys that spread stucco say thats the right thing to use. So that's what I ordered... white ceramic acrylic exterior water based paint .. probably arrive tomorrow. Maybe save some kwh's on the power bill hopefully. If not from ceramics, from the white.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 9:43PM
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ps.. Thorocoat is paint !

Here is a link that might be useful: Thorocoats

    Bookmark   July 4, 2006 at 9:50PM
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mikie -
It's also sold in 5 gallon drums to contractors only - which is why it's commonly said - 'don't paint your stucco'. It's not latex paint like BM like most painters use. It's acryllic which is really different than latex.

So I suppose you're correct, but I don't think the OP necessarily was aware in the difference.

I'm not familiar with the FL market and know that moisture/vapor issues are opposite in our climates. Good luck lowering your bills - I know stucco is excellent for wind blocking which is why so many homes here have it over frame.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 10:38PM
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Has anyone used this product? How is it to apply - wonder if it needs to be sprayed on due to coarse texture of wall and product.

I have a cement block house (with some stucco on the 2nd floor under some siding which will eventually be removed) and have been going around in circles trying to figure out what to do with it - the surface on one side where rain has hit it for 100 yrs. has eroded and become porous so needs SOMETHING- clear sealant if not color coating.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 12:16PM
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Anybody use this stuff? (Thorocoat)

    Bookmark   July 11, 2006 at 1:38PM
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What about a lime wash? I read about them a few years ago at House in Progress. According to US Heritage's Web site, they can be used both for interior and exterior walls.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blog entry on lime washes

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 6:00PM
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kashka -
I'm having it done in 2 weeks. My guy will be over on Monday to do some other work, so I'll ask.

We have the really big stipple style stucco (very old style) and I cannot imagine painting this on. Even when I was doing color samples it was a PITA to get any sort of coverage.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 1:19AM
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You're going to get many opinions for the issue. I have a 75 yr. old Sp. Col. Revival stucco in WA. It was previously painted w/latex. Water became trapped behind due to small cracks in paint and stucco - the damage is extensive as water finally rotted out some framework and began 'escaping' into the house. Older homes weren't subject to the current codes so 'weep' flashings weren't done to allow for escape of water. The damage was being done long before it showed.

If you go to the Portland Cement org. you'll find info on painting or not. The Preservation Briefs will also give you info on stucco - pre-1900 and after.

I am going to be using an elastomeric paint by Dow Chemical which does breath, yet repels water. Each home and area located must be factored in. Start googling 'stucco' for info to make an educated choice.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2006 at 4:48AM
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It will seal stucco if the appropriate product is aplied. The special elastic paint you are asking about for exterior is called Elastomeric.It is a stretchgaurd textured coating that provides the best defense against moisture penetration.
Ask your homeowners insurance about deductions when using this product because it helps contain fires. I know stucco may for the most part look OK for a long time but, it can develop cracks and mold in some areas. Take into consideration where you live and the amount of rain or snow you may receive when asking yourself how well the exterior layer of your home is protected.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 5:33PM
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Our 1820s brick house was stuccoed sometime around 1930. The stucco job lasted seventy five years, and prolly would have lasted longer, but my DH's children used the walls to bounce balls off, and ruined some of the finish. DH also had it painted before I met him. That lasted maybe ten years but we decided that with some damage starting in order to preserve the old brick underneath, we had to have it re-stuccoed and bit the bullet and did it.

The professional firm we had contracted to do it, had to come in from 75 miles away with a full crew. The fact it had been painted precluded them from applying the new stucco directly to the building. We had to have the entire house (rather large one) encased in what looked like chicken wire for the stucco they put on to adhere property. It increased the time needed to do the job by at least double. When they put on the new stucco, it was tinted with a dry powder, into the mix. Not painted. I'll never have the stucco painted again.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2009 at 6:36PM
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I recommend good old (modern) latex exterior paint. Just make sure any chalking is removed.

Modern latex is amazingly good and easy to apply. I've had two stucco houses for 20 years and painted them both only once in that time.

Plus with paint, you get exactly the color you want. Home Depot's Behr brochures show some great stucco color schemes.

People who think stucco should not be painted don't live in South Florida. Or New Orleans. Nearly everything is stucco and it's all painted.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 5:43PM
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Oh it's fine painted, if you continue to paint it. But, if and when you need a new stucco job, you cannot just slap more stucco over paint and have it adhere.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2009 at 8:59PM
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Elastomeric is a product made especially for stucco.
They go hand in hand and are a match made in heaven -per say.
Elastomeric helps prevent cracking in stucco, is still breathable although is does seal from climate. Over 90% of rain is blocked by most brands.It is a Class A Fire Rated coating meaning it can actually help if there were a fire (no kidding and be sure to ask if your homeowners insurance gives you a discount for having it on your home) How? Why? all this because its clay based. Whether you need a coat on you're stucco or not largely depends on where you live. Here in Colorado where the weather could not vary more or be predicted on any day it may be a necessity. Most residents here will not have their stucco exposed to extreme snow storms. ask your local provider for more info because your home is worth protecting.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2011 at 5:24PM
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If you do anything to inhibit moisture movement out of stucco in a freezing environment you are inviting long term damage.

Moisture is going to get into the stucco.
No finish can completely stop it long term (and many fail even short term).

Once the moisture is on you need ot to escape before any freezing can occur.
Freezing of moisture in the stucco (and even behind it) can cause cracking and spalling of the stucco.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:59AM
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You may want to consider a re-coat, it is the best option for stucco. Painting it is okay, but does require maintenance after that, since the paint will be the new exterior surface that will be exposed to the elements.

Make sure the stucco underneath is not previously painted, if it is then your options might be a bit more limited.

As for thorocoat, it is basically an acrylic based product that is great for re-coats, but there are other products out there like a company called omega, which makes similar products.

I don't quite know how they will hold up in the DC area, I live in CA and the weather is suitable for acrylics here. I lived in VA for a couple of years too and think that it is too cold for these acrylics, they will chip off the wall from water freezing and thawing constantly.....

So long story short, You have two options:

***Paint- which will require maintenance every 1-3 years after that, depending on the abuse the sides of the house are exposed to......or

***Re-coat with conventional stucco and perform maintenance tasks every 5-10 years.

Pics and more details would also be a great help. Hope this helps!

Ryan - Stucco contractor for twenty years...

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 12, 2013 at 7:36PM
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