To Paint or Not to Paint: Stucco Siding

When it comes to building materials, there are few that we still use today that are as ancient as stucco, which is sometimes referred to as plaster. Historians believe that this material, which is the same material that is used in the making of brick veneer siding, was used during the prehistoric era as a building material. The Aztecs, Greeks and Romans all used this building material to form some of the most famous landmarks, many of which are still standing. While most people know what stucco is, they don’t know if you should paint it or not. Below is an in-depth look at this question.

Colored Stucco

If you know what color you want your siding to be, your best option is to buy colored plaster instead of painting it. This is done by simply adding pigment to the final coat that is applied to your house. This means that that whole top layer of your siding, which will be about 1/8 inches thick, will be colored. It’s great at protecting your siding from scrapes and dings that take traditional paint off of siding. While this is helpful when you first apply stucco, what if you want to update the look of your building at a later date? Is it fine to paint this plaster material?

Never Paint Fresh Plaster

Unless you’re a painter and making a fresco such as The Last Supper, you should never paint fresh plaster. In fact, The Last Supper is evident of this because the paint often flakes off, and it has to be repaired and restored often. The same thing happens to siding if you don’t wait for the plaster to fully dry before applying a coat of paint.

Old or Dry Stucco

Before you choose to paint plaster siding, you need to look for a few elements. First, is the siding in good condition? Try washing it with a garden hose with a jet head. If you notice any areas in your siding split or crack, you need to repair them before painting. Next, consider the color you want to make your house. While it’s possible to paint stucco a light color, it’s impossible to paint it extremely dark colors. If you want to paint your home a dark color, you need an elastomeric coating on the plaster wall to preserve its breathability.

As you can see, the answer to whether you can or can’t paint your plaster walls isn’t a simple yes or no. Keep all of these tips in mind prior to painting your siding. Also, remember that you will be unable to reapply plaster to your house once you add paint. If you do, the plaster will crack and fall off as it dries because it’s unable to bind to the paint.