Stucco is a building material that has been used for hundreds of years for exterior surfaces of homes. Modern stucco is a mixture of portland cement, sand and sometimes lime. Stucco is a long-lasting surface. Often, homeowners apply paint to stucco to give it color, though you can stain it, too. Painted stucco will need repainting periodically.
How Often to Repaint Stucco
Stucco is a durable surface; a single stucco application can last for many decades. Stucco is prone to cracking from settling, though. Small cracks are generally not serious; you can cover them with paint. Paint finishes generally last five to 10 years on stucco, depending on environmental conditions, according to the SouthernPainting website. If you wish to change the color of your home exterior, you can repaint at any time, of course.
The quality of the paint you use on stucco has an effect on the durability of the finish. You should opt for the highest-quality paint you can afford to prevent problems that will ultimately cost you more in the end. Elastomeric coatings are used to paint stucco in climates that see frequent freezing temperatures. This type of paint provides a waterproof coating that expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations.
As with all finish applications, you must apply the paint to a clean stucco surface to achieve good adherence between the coating and the structure. Pressure-washing the exterior of your home will remove dirt, grease and tree residues from the stucco surface to provide a good base for the paint. Paint is essentially glue, so the surface must be free of material that prevents it from bonding to the walls of the home.
The climate you live in has a bearing on how often you must repaint your home's stucco. In hot, dry climates, efflorescence can appear on the surface of stucco, according to home improvement expert Tim Carter on his Ask the Builder website. Efflorescence is a condition in which the salts within the stucco material leach to the surface, causing a patchy, whitish coating in spots. In wet climates, stucco can absorb too much moisture, which can ooze into the interior of structures, causing damage. A good protective coating on stucco helps to avoid these problems.
Though generally stucco is maintenance-free, stucco exteriors may need periodic cleaning to remove dirt or tree sap. Washing with a hose and household detergent is usually sufficient to clean a stucco exterior. Wash from the bottom to the top of the wall, then rinse from the top to the bottom.