Of all the types of residential painting in San Ramon, one of the most common, and yet also one of the most arduous, is painting stucco. Californians love our stucco. It’s a great, inexpensive way to build a stylish house that is automatically well insulated. It also requires less upkeep and maintenance than many other surfaces. Should you want to freshen up the look of your stucco, or merely change the color, paint is the way to go.
With any painting project, proper surface preparation is key to a successful outcome. Laying the proper groundwork, so to speak, for your paint will ensure that you are happy with your finished product and that the paint and the stucco underneath it are set to be the low maintenance exterior you wanted.
First, your stucco needs to be in the best shape it can be in. This means both clean and in good repair. Cleaning should come first. Dirt and old paint might obscure needed repairs or restoration.
Pressure washing is a fine way to remove the dirt, grime, and most loose paint. Just be careful that you use a wide spray tip and that your pressure setting is on low — no more than1200-1500 PSI. Stucco is a relatively soft type of masonry and can be damaged with high pressure. Water is all you should need to clean stucco, although some stubborn stains, like rust or efflorescence (salt) deposits can benefit from masonry cleaners or soaps. A wire brush might also be required. Pressure washing will probably not remove all old paint. Your wire brush, and careful peeling with a putty knife, might be necessary.
While you are washing the stucco, take careful note of spots where you see peeling paint, rust, or efflorescence, as these indicate water problems that may require much more extensive repair than just paint. Efflorescence, in particular indicates water passing through the stucco and bringing alkaline salts to the surface.
Once your surface is clean and completely dried (cured if new stucco has been added), then repair any large cracks or damaged areas using a patching compound or a brush grade elastomeric sealant, or caulk for very small cracks. Allow the repairs to completely dry before moving on to priming. For best results, use an acrylic masonry primer.
Finally, chose the right paint for residential painting in San Ramon, or in your particular climate zone. Pick high quality, exterior masonry paint. The best choice is most likely an elastomeric paint. While elastomeric paints might cost a bit more, they have qualities that regular paints lack, and will eventually pay for themselves. First, priming can be skipped or minimized with most top quality Elastomeric coatings. These coatings are flexible but adherent, and can bridge small imperfections, like cracks. Flexibility also helps prevent chipping, peeling and chalking. Furthermore, they “breathe,” allowing moisture to escape while remaining resistant to outside water and mildew.
How you put the paint on your stucco is important. The most common painting technique for most building exteriors is spraying. This is not recommended for stucco since it tends to miss the tiny cracks, pinholes, and texture “shadows.” If you do spray paint, then the surface must also be back-rolled (a method of following the spray with a roller) to compensate for this. The best way is to simply roll on the paint, using a fluffy, lamb’s wool roller cover. For smoother textures use a 1 or 1-1/4 inch nap and move up to a 1-1/2 inch nap for rougher textures. Put on two coats even if the first coat looks great. Stucco especially needs the paint to have good film thickness for filling in pores and pinholes.
Following these general guidelines should help keep your stucco looking good for years to come. With proper preparation and materials, do-it-yourself projects like residential painting in San Ramon can be positive experiences.