Painting New Stucco: Done Right (The First Time)

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Stucco is a popular exterior finish that’s commonly found in the southwestern states. It’s been sweeping over the nation and becoming more, and more popular.

With an amazing finish comes the installation and although we all want to have our dream home, it can be pretty expensive.

One way to save money is to simply just do it yourself.

This can sound a bit scary to some but we’ll have a step by step guide so that you can not only save money but get your home looking just as good as a pro would.

So if you’re looking to get the picture-perfect stucco home, then this is the step-by-step guide that you’ve been searching for.

Assess The Project

Before we do anything, it’s important to assess the project. By doing this you’ll eliminate multiple trips to the hardware store and instead just make one trip where you can get everything you need.

So how do you assess?

Well for starters, you’ll want to see if there’s any cracks, damage, etc. to the exterior. This is important because you’ll need to get the right supplies to fill fix the damage.

Next, you’ll want to figure out exactly how much paint and supplies you’ll need.

Stucco is a heavy paint and will require much more paint than normal, because of this it may be smart to buy an extra gallon of paint. This will also come in handy down the road if you need to make some touch-ups.

So with that said, let’s go over what you’ll need to pick up at the hardware store.

Tools And Materials:

  • Stiff brush
  • Vacuum with a dust
  • Drop cloths
  • Mildew cleaner (Optional)
  • Power washer (Optional)
  • Caulk gun
  • Masonry caulk
  • Synthetic paintbrush
  • Putty knife
  • Stucco patching compound
  • Large paint roller
  • Primer
  • Acrylic paint


Now that we have the necessary tools, it’s time to prep the area. This step can easily be skipped by the excitement of finishing the project but preparation is key. Not only will it set up the entire project but it’ll also eliminate some of the stressful moments that come with a large project.

For interior projects, it’s important to have all furniture covered by a drop cloth. The truth is, mistakes can easily happen especially around the paint. 

The last thing anyone would want is having a brand new can of paint spilled all over the couch or floor.

Another important part of preparation is taping off the trim. This will not only ave you from extra work, but it’ll make the final look picture-perfect.

Clean The Area

The next step is to make sure the surface is wiped clean of dirt, debris, dust, etc. 

By doing this you’ll p[roive a clean canvas for the primer to properly adhere which means it’ll be much longer-lasting.

For interior stucco, you can simply use a vacuum. If there’s any buildup try using water and soap and scrubbing the grease out.

Exterior cleaning will likely just require a push broom but if there’s a lot of build-ups, renting out a powerwash will make the entire process go much quicker.

Fix Any Cracks

With the beauty of stucco comes some disadvantages. The main concern with stucco is how common cracking is. In fact, stucco is likely to crack within 2-3 weeks after it’s applied.

For cracks smaller than 1/16-inch-wide you can easily just apply some masonry caulk and it should look like new.

Cracks that are over 1/16 will require a bit more work. This type of crack can lead to larger issues if not treated right away.

To fix a larger crack, you’ll want to first remove any loose stucco with a putty knife and repair the crack with the stucco patching compound. 

Check the manufacturer’s guide to see how long this needs to cure. It may take up to 10 days before you can start the project back up.


Priming is when you’ll finally get to see some big changes. 

You’ll want to use a high-quality acrylic primer. Acrylic is preferred because their bindings will adhere better to the uneven stucco finish.

For the smaller areas, it’s best to just use a synthetic brush and for the large areas, you can use a large roller. This will make it much quicker but keeps the quality you’re looking for.

Based on the previous color, you’ll likely want more than 1 coat of primer. By doing this you’ll make the process of applying the paint much easier.

Apply Heavily

The time has come where we finally get some paint on the walls. But painting stucco isn’t like a traditional wall. There’s a lot more texture in stucco which will require a bit more work.

For starters, You’ll want to buy about double the square footage that the cans ays it covers. For example, if it says it covers 400 sqft, then plan on it only covering about 200 sqft.

You’ll apply it exactly like the primer. Use the small brush or tight areas and the roller for large areas. Depending on the color you’ll likely need more than one coat of paint to get the color you’re looking for. 

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s guidance on how long to wait before each coat.

Keep in mind that with an exterior job that weather will play a big part in the drying process. So be sure to check the forecast to avoid any rain.

Final Thoughts

Painting stucco seems much scarier than it really is. But by doing it ourselves we’ll not only save money but we can also look back at the project and now have something to be proud of.

It’s important to fight through the stressful times and focus on how amazing it’ll look once it’s completed.

Always be sure to assess the project so you can have a clear understanding of what to get and how to complete this project.

A fresh coat of paint can truly transform your home and even increase the value. A good quality exterior paint job should last roughly 15-20 years. An interior job should last until you get tired of the color so enjoy it!