Stucco is the most common exterior covering in Arizona for the last 10 years. Stucco is a mixture of sand, lime and cement coated over a styrofoam/chicken wire matrix. It gives a hard, flexable and water proof surface to protect your home while looking architectually stylish. However, stucco can suffer from chips, cracks and fading. The following is our process for preparing and painting your home.
The first step is to pick your paint color and product. Exterior paint colors should be darker than interior colors. This gives them better ‘hide’ so they don’t show dirt and stains as easily. However, darker colors are more suseptible to fading and efflorescence. As for paint products, you must use an exterior product on the outside of your home. Most exterior products are formulated to handle a variety of substrates including stucco. But there are two main categories of exterior products, Latex and Acrylic. Acrylic offers better dirt resistance and color retention than latex but it comes at a premium.
The next step is to prepare the stucco. Loose paint and organic debris should be removed from the surface prior to patching. After cleaning, cracks and holes should be patched using an elastomeric patching. Elastomeric patching comes in textured and smooth varieties. The size and location of the patching will determine which product is best. The goal is to minimize how obvious the patch is. Larger defects will require a stucco repair person to come out and patch the area with a cement based patch. These patches will require priming with an efflorescence blocking material.
Once the surface is ready to paint, there are few things to check. First the temperature should be warmer than 50 degrees, any lower and the chemical properties of the paint can be inhibited and may affect adhesion. Hot temperatures are not an issue for latex/acrylic paints. Next look at the wind. Stucco is painted with a spray application and wind can pick up the airborn paint putting in locations as far as 5 feet from the wall. Last apply two coats; one in a left – right direction and the another in an up – down direction to insure 360 degree coverage of the stucco texture. A back roll may be necessary for aggressive texture.