The best way to paint stucco involves a good cleaning, thorough prep and the right products.

A stucco home with wooden doors and trellis. Bushes and trees adorn the lawn. A stucco home with wooden doors and trellis. Bushes and trees adorn the lawn.

Ready to Learn How to Paint Stucco?

Painting stucco has its challenges. Stucco is rigid, and can be prone to cracks. Most likely you'll have to do a good deal of patching before getting started. Stucco can also require more paint and take longer to dry.

There are two types of stucco: traditional and synthetic, also known as EIFS. EIFS stands for Exterior Insulation Finishing System, and is typically softer than traditional stucco. There are differences in durability depending on the type of stucco you’re painting.

If you are not hiring a painting contractor and you’re going to tackle painting a stucco house exterior yourself, read on for expert advice on the best way to paint exterior stucco walls, from preparing a stucco house for painting to applying your final coat of paint.

Step #1: Clean Your Stucco

  • Pressure washing stucco is the best way to get it clean before you start painting.
  • You can rent a pressure washer if you don’t own one. Just be sure to use the pressure washer safely.
  • Brush the stucco with a soft-bristle vinyl brush before washing it. This helps loosen dirt and debris, and makes the stucco easier to clean.
  • If there’s mildew, you’ll need to use a household cleanser designed to kill mildew to eliminate existing mold and mildew.
  • Make sure the stucco is completely dry after washing it to begin the painting process.

Step #2: Repair Any Cracks

  • Wondering how to paint old exterior stucco? You’ll first need to fix any cracks with caulk.
  • Caulking wall cracks before painting stucco depends on how big the cracks are. If you can stick a credit card in a crack, you should open it up and properly prime and patch it. For a bigger crack, you should use a material that matches the texture of your stucco.
  • For minor cracks in stucco, and there may be a lot of them, as stucco is rigid by nature and cracks are common, you can get away with an acrylic caulk for stucco repair.
  • For larger cracks, wait seven to 10 days after making repairs before painting old stucco.
  • If the stucco exterior is new, wait at least 60 days before painting it.

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Helpful Tip

Choose your patching compound very carefully. A stucco patching kit can help match your stucco texture to your patching material. Remember, it’s a bit of trial and error to fix larger cracks in stucco.

Step #3: Prime the Stucco

  • Once your stucco is dry, tape off all windows and doors, and place a drop cloth or plastic sheeting around any plants or shrubs.
  • To prime your stucco, we recommend Ultra Spec® Masonry Int/Ext 100% Acrylic Sealer.
  • Use a paintbrush to cut in the edges of your stucco, then switch to a roller to apply an even coat of primer.

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Helpful Tip

You’ll want to match your roller nap to your stucco texture, e.g., rough, medium or smooth stucco. Look for “surface” texture on the packaging of the roller nap to make sure you have the best one for the job.

Step #4: Paint the Stucco

  • The best way to paint a stucco exterior is to either spray, brush or roll it. You can rent a paint sprayer if you don’t own one.
  • We recommend using AURA® Exterior paint on stucco.
  • Most people opt for a flat sheen when painting stucco to mask any imperfections.
  • If you decide to spray the paint, be sure to back roll or back brush your stucco afterward for an even finish.
  • If painting over stucco walls by hand, cut in edges before switching to a roller and applying an even coat of paint.
  • Again, be sure the roller nap you’re using corresponds to the texture level of your stucco.

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Helpful Tip

Because stucco has more grooves and a rougher texture than other surfaces, you may need upwards of 30 to 50 percent more paint than usual, depending on your surface texture.

Step #5: Let Dry and Repeat

  • Once your first coat of paint is dry, apply a second coat in the same way you did the first.
  • Allow the stucco to cure fully before returning it to everyday use.

Get More Advice for Exterior Projects

Find more how-to guides and advice for exterior painting projects, and check out our resources for contractors to help you make every job a success.

As always, visit your local Benjamin Moore retailer for help with all your painting needs.
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