FAQ About Exterior Painting and Stucco

Painting the exterior of your home is a critical component of your home’s maintenance program.  In Colorado, you can expect a good quality exterior paint job to last five to seven years, longer if you’ve been diligent in caring for your home’s exterior.

How do you know when it’s time to repaint?

  • Is the siding faded, chalked, or discolored?  Are you able to see the primer beneath the paint?  If your answer is yes, it’s time to repaint your siding.
  • Are there cracks in the surface of the paint on your window trim, soffits, and fascia?  Is the paint flaking or peeling … can you see raw wood?  If your answer is yes, it’s time to repaint your trim.
  • Are the edges of your garage doors worn or peeling?  Do they have dings and dents, and show signs of wear and tear?  If your answer is yes, it’s time to repaint your garage doors.
  • Are there cracks, holes, or gaps in the caulking?  In a properly painted house, caulking should be applied at every dissimilar juncture, i.e. window trim to siding, door jambs to siding, soffit to siding, etc.  If caulking is missing or you see any deterioration, it’s time for new caulking.


        Which is better – applying paint with a brush and roller or a paint sprayer?

Brush and roll is the method of choice when the substrate is heavily textured and the paint needs to be worked into the surface.  However, since the paint brush and roller are in direct contact with the substrate, they can leave a texture in their wake in the form of brush marks, roller stipple, or lap marks.  Generally, brushes and rollers are used for interior painting projects, for porous substrates such as cinder block or rough sawn cedar, and for more detail work such as trim, window sashes, etc.

Using a paint sprayer significantly cuts down on the amount of time it takes to paint, and it also produces a more even and smooth finish on the substrate.  However, when a sprayer is used, everything in its path must be protected with drop cloths and masking paper.  Sprayers are expensive pieces of equipment which require training and expertise to operate properly.  They are predominantly used in new construction projects, and many painters choose sprayers for exterior painting projects.

Whichever method is used, at the end of the day the goal is a properly prepared surface followed by a consistent and adequate paint mil thickness on the substrate.


         Is stucco maintenance free?

Stucco is a durable and relatively maintenance free siding and it can last for the lifetime of a home.  But as is the case with all of the surfaces in and around your home, it needs to be maintained.


         How should I take care of my stucco?

  • Inspect it yearly and check for any damage.
  • Even if stucco is applied properly, it will likely crack.  Examine your stucco for hairline cracks, vertical cracks running from the roofline, cracks around windows and doors, and at any point of transition such as a corner. Repairs should be made on cracks that are 1/16 of an inch or larger.
  • Stucco should have a protective coating of some type to protect the surface.  Elastomeric paint, a rubberized paint that protects and preserves stucco, can be applied to make stucco even more durable and easier to maintain.


         What will happen if I don’t get the cracks in the stucco repaired?

If cracks are not promptly attended to and properly repaired, water from rain and snow can make its way through the stucco and begin to rot the wood sheathing or wood framing components.


         Can you paint exteriors in the wintertime?

Yes, as long as the temperature during the day doesn’t dip below 45 degrees.  These days, exterior paints are formulated to be applied at colder temperatures.  And given that most exterior paints are latex (water based), the paint is usually dry to the touch within an hour.


Shades of Color is a full service interior and exterior painting contractor.  And stucco repair and maintenance is another one of the many services Shades of Color provides.  If your home’s exterior needs some attention, please give us a call.  We’re happy to take a look, render our professional opinion as to what your home needs, and provide you with a free estimate!

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