Stucco Exterior Maintenance: When And How

Stucco Exterior Maintenance: When And How

stucco_homeIt was an old rule never to paint stucco in many arenas. However today, and with the new technology and surface additives, it is the “new norm” to consider painting your stucco every 5-10 years says “Ask The Painter ” on the Internet.

We have had so much rain this past winter, I have seen many stucco surfaced  homes appearing still “wet” for 48 hours or more, after a strong rain. I wondered what effect that may have on the home exterior and if it were a problem, and preventable. Here are some notes I found:

Today’s stucco features include:

  • Multi dimensional surface, visually appealing 
  • Naturally insulate, keeps a home cool
  • Fireproof
  • Mid priced siding option
  • Durable
  • Porous: absorbs moisture but evaporates out quickly 

Stucco can also have it’s own unique issues such as cracking, fading and efflorescense (this is theth16vhaqsp white powdery stuff you may find on your stucco. it is salts that have wicked onto the surface from moisture). 

Weather has a big factor in stucco wear and tear. Humid or very wet seasons can assist in water intrusion. Water gets trapped in the stucco and causes bubbling or worse, can attract mold.

The big question for myself is: “How often should one paint or reseal their own stucco house?” Here is an excerpt from an article I found on the Internet from “Ask The Painter”:

th284kszh4“The “when” is the easier of the two questions, so let’s take that first. Of course, if you desire to change the color, you can re-coat any time. In general, the life expectancy with stucco coatings is 5 – 10 years. As elastomeric paints break down due to weather and age they “chalk out”. If you rub your fingertips across the coating and pick up a chalky residue reminiscent of running your fingers across a chalkboard, then the elastomeric is breaking down and no longer doing its job. This means it is time to paint. Substantial or uneven color fading is also an indicator that it is time to paint, as is the existing paint bubbling or peeling. If the stucco is to be re-coated with an elastomeric coating (more on this in a minute), then temperatures should be above 60 degrees due to the longer drying time of these coatings. The “when” is the easier of the two questions, so let’s take that first. Of course, if you desire to change the color, you can re-coat any time. In general, the life expectancy with stucco coatings is 5 – 10 years. As elastomeric paints break down due to weather and age they “chalk out”. If you rub your fingertips across the coating and pick up a chalky residue reminiscent of running your fingers across a chalkboard, then the elastomeric is breaking down and no longer doing its job. This means it is time to paint. Substantial or uneven color fading is also an indicator that it is time to paint, as is the existing paint bubbling or peeling. If the stucco is to be re-coated with an elastomeric coating (more on this in a minute), then temperatures should be above 60 degrees due to the longer drying time of these coatings.”

What kind of paint does one use? This was another question I asked myself. Elastomeric paint or a specific acrylic paint for stucco is best. An additive to such paint is Tricoplex. It aallows the paint to flex with changing temperatures and keeps moisture out. 

In sumary and from an excerpt from an article by The Carey Brothers Contractors on the internet, here is what they say: 

“Paint Stucco – or Not?

Summary: Stucco allows water absorption. Water rots sheathing. Masonry stain or penetrating finishweb3 helps stop water entry and still allows vapor release to the outside.

“…Untreated concrete and stucco will readily absorb water. Both will allow water vapor to freely pass thru them.

If a concrete sidewalk or driveway gets wet, it’s no big deal. However, if stucco gets wet for extended periods of time, this moisture can cause problems. Water may eventually wick through the stucco and begin to rot the wood sheathing or wood framing members. Water vapor may be pulled into the house.

This may cause insulation to become wet, drywall or plaster to crumble, and interior paint to peel. Stucco should have a protective coating of some type to prevent interior or structural problems toyour home. 50 years ago, the only material available to readily protect the stucco was paint. Paint is a coating. Because of its viscosity, it does not readily penetrate things that it covers.

stucco“…if stucco gets wet for extended periods of time, this moisture can cause problems. Water may eventually wick through the stucco and begin to rot the wood sheathing or wood framing members. Water vapor may be pulled into the house.

This may cause insulation to become wet, drywall or plaster to crumble, and interior paint to peel. Stucco should have a protective coating of some type to prevent interior or structural problems to your home. 50 years ago, the only material available to readily protect the stucco was paint. Paint is a coating. Because of its viscosity, it does not readily penetrate things that it covers. That is why you are experiencing the peeling problems. Water vapor from the inside of your house may be pushing the paint off of the stucco. This is a very common problem on thousands of houses.

Fortunately, advancements in coatings technology have produced products which will enable you to avoid peeling in the future. If you are able to remove the paint from your stucco completely, or had it never been painted before, you would have two alternatives. The choices available to you are either penetrating masonry stains, or clear penetrating finishes.”

And with this said, I am so glad I painted my house a few years ago. My home is now 17 years old.cristhouse When I bought it 3 years ago it had never been repainted. The color was very faded and I did have some cracks and efflorescense. My painter did use a good quality Elastromeric paint too.

Maybe it is time for you to think about painting your stucco soon? Give me a call, I can give you a few names of some good painters in our area!

Written by Kate Crist and kudos to the excerpts from The Carey Brothers and Ask The Painter!

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