Painting Stucco

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I am a life long resident of the Pacific Northwest, but also reside, part time, in the desert SW. In the PNW, stucco is rarely used because it gets wet, remains wet and falls apart. Down here, it's by far the most commonly used material for exteriors. It's cheap and it works. Now, I share the dubious responsibility for planning and orchestrating a paint job for our townhouse association + working with our sister association. The units are arranged in quadriplexes. Some of them have a partial top floor, others do not, which means several units won't take much paint, while the end units and taller ones will take much more. In total, we will be painting 83 units and our pool complex clubhouse. That's a pretty big job. We will also need a certain amount of stucco repairs, before any paint is applied.
We have already obtained a few bids for the 48 units in our association, before the other association decided they might like to jump in too. To my amazement, the bids vary wildly, from $48K to $106K, including the stucco repairs. The bid which equals $1K per unit seems quite reasonable, while the high bid seems insane, but what do I know? Anyone here with stucco experience is welcome to share their thoughts on this, but the real question I have is about technique.
Obviously, the lion's share of the painting will be done with a spray gun. However, I've been told that: 1) It should first be pressure washed (I doubt that); 2) the paint should also be rolled in, while it's still wet; 3) then it should be allowed to dry for several days; and 4) a clear sealant coat should be applied as well, if we expect to have this paint job last for more than 5 years (which we do). None of the bids are crystal clear about any of this, so I'd like to know more about what's right and what questions to ask, before I sign off on anything.
Frankly, considering our mature landscaping and the extensive need for masking and protecting against overspray, if I were a contractor I wouldn't touch this job. But, that part isn't my problem, thank goodness.
Unc
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We live in Las Vegas.
Use elastomeric caulk to seal any cracks, striking it out with a finger tip to avoid a raised seam. Caulk around doors and windows only where there is broken or missing stucco.
Shoot on a good stucco paint and forget any "rolling in" or coating. That's just running up the price. Paint trim with a semi-gloss for durability. If a tree or shrub gets sprayed, cut away the sprayed part and give it time to recover.
--
Nonny
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I'm in the Mojave desert with exterior stucco. Use a fan mode spray from a power washer. We have Dust Devils that swarm around. Dirt collects in the rough texture. Just wash from the top, down, allow to dry and use "elastomeric" paint in the sprayer.
Before the sprayer, filter the paint - it goes on nicely.
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That's encouraging. I was having trouble visualizing a pressure washer helping more than it hurts. Our stucco is semi-rough, with a knockdown finish, and yes, it does hold some dirt... er, I mean sand. Thus, it's painted the same color it will end up anyway, no matter what we do, and we'll likely stay with it.
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OK, but not my fingers. With zero experience in brick laying, I once built a firewall and hearth for a wood stove. It really turned out nice, but I lost my fingerprints for a spell. I guess that's where the rocket science part comes in.
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Having lived in the desert SW where stucco is the only exterior construction material aside from the occasional brick, I can tell you painting stucco is a really bad idea. Color is blended into the top coat of stucco - it is not painted on. When you paint on top of stucco, you end up trapping whatever moisture gets behind the stucco. That in turn will cause the paint and stucco to deterioriate.
I'd suggest you you talk to a reputable stucco constractor and not a paint contractor and find out what your options are.
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I appreciate what you're saying but these units were painted originally, and at least one other time since they were built, nearly 30 years ago. I can't unring that bell. Other than golf ball holes, misc cracks, and more serious deterioration where sprinklers were allowed to hit the buildings, the stucco is in good shape for its age. The paint is looking a little tired at this point, so it's time to do something. Handcuffed by our budget, we can afford $50K, but not $100K+.
FTR, moisture is not a big problem here. It's the sunniest, driest place in the nation, and averages 4" +/- of rain per year. We take extra measures to create more humidity inside, just to keep wooden furniture from cracking and splitting (not to mention our skin), while the outside humidity is typically around 10-15%.
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wrote:

I've seen a contractor that could not mix dye correctly, in the final coat of stucco. No way to guarantee an even coat. The owner tried it. He went to "elastomeric" paint. The painter / stucco guy tried to tell him not to use dye.
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During the boom years, lots of slap up tract housing went in around this vicinity, stuccoed, of course. I wasn't really thinking about it at the time, but I don't remember ever seeing anything but bare Portland cement, then they come in and blast paint the neighborhood. Whatever paint they used, it still looks fine. It's not uncommon for daily temperatures to exceed 100 here, from late spring to late fall, which is a pretty good blast furnace test. I don't know whether they do it the way they do because of the extreme climate, or whether it's because dye costs money. Maybe both.
BTW, the spec builders around here apparently don't understand what the little bubble is for in a level, but that's a whole nuther story.
;-{o
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Robert Neville wrote:

I'm sure what you say is right for a dry climate. In Florida, where all the new construction I've seen is concrete block/stucco, it is always painted with semigloss. If not painted, or even with flat paint, it would grow mildew like mad. Pressure wash and clean with bleach first.
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Amen. If it has not been painted before, stay with the stucco.
--
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uncle K wrote:

When I think of stucco I think *No Maintenance*. I can't say I have any experience with painting stucco, I'd be thinking more of the acid stain. Once it's painted it always has the chance to start peeling. Stain doesn't peel. Oh, and about the pressure washing first, without a doubt that is a good idea!
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Stain has never come up, until now. Interesting concept, but it sounds too spendy, based on the prices I've seen for quality stains. I've looked at all the units and peeling just isn't a factor here. The old paint is one with the stucco, except where it has gotten wet, through negligence. The worst problem is that many small repairs done over the years have badly mismatched paint. Duh. I'm more concerned about the entire wall falling off, if we ever have a major earthquake. We had a pretty good one a couple of years ago. Not waiting for the association to do repairs, I patched and paint matched my stucco a few years ago. That tremor, and several lesser aftershocks, opened a half dozen new cracks.
Yep, I suppose it would be a pretty good idea to get the dirt, cobwebs, gecko and bat poop off before painting. I'll put in a good word for "easy does it."
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What is that? Like a girls' townhouse association down the road?

How is it possible ot have not top floor?

I get it. Please strike the previous question.

With clear steps like this, if they're not crystal clear, they probably don't intend to do them. If you want them done, it had better be in the contract and darn clear. If you can write them down as separate clear items, they can too.

Yes, I can see that.
I'm sorry. I don't know much about stucco so I can't help you. I can only be annoying.
Rest snipped.

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I refer to it because they're a bunch of sissies and we are, unfortunately, joined at the hip, sharing a pool complex.

My pleasure.

Whatever floats your boat, mm. In spite of that, this is one of the few Usenet sites I'm interested in that actually has a core of people who know what they're talking about. YMMV.
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For a 50000 job you need to know more than the painters you hire before you get suckered and blamed years down the road if things fail, Rarely a job I hire out im not conned in some way. You need to hire an advisor, a painter, and get a paint company rep to work with.
I could buy 20 gallons of say Benjamin Moore and before I arrived have switched out the cheapest paint made, the contractor would make thousands. I could rush the job and hire HD parking lot idiots and spray it thin, so it wont last, spray in sun and a hot surface so it fails, fake an insurance cert or cancel that expensive policy after I start, or take your money and go to Mexico without buying any paint.
Yes it should be washed, not power blasted. You need a probe type moisture meter like Delmhorst, and a infrared thermometer like Raytek. You need a Viscosity cup to check paint isnt thinned, and have the paint delivered to your storage security, not the painters. The unthinned paint should go on a written minimum thickness, of a surface of maximum moisture content and temperature of the surface, on a cool surface not to soon recieve any sun so you know your not cheated and it will cure right and last. Painting should stop so many hours before a rain and at a certain high temerature, and not start at a certain high humidity, low temp, and if rain is expected.
Your warranty will be YOU. Those are a few of the minimum basics, and it takes years of doing this to know it. You need a store and company rep to guide you and a company willing to do a material thickness test to verify you are not cheated. Sherwin Williams lab did free testing for me on problem jobs on request, they therefore Guarnteed their product, and did on occasion pay me to redo my jobs!! Probably any other big company will since your buying a truck load of paint, Pratt Lambert screwed me on a monitored failure, and they are the most overpriced product made so company policy is not equal.
Request and get a company rep to be your assigned guy for guidance to a good job. Understand what will happen to you and the headache you will have forever should any problems arise even 10 years down the road, because of your lack of experiance and knowledge you could have a nightmare living there as you will be blamed. You need to learn alot, and get help to protect yourself and the building from the millions of painters that can cheat you. You need to be paid for your work and headache you will have, its a big constant job of monitoring a big job.
Any breeze will blow spray from an airless and paint cars, bushes, window glass, pets, furniture from tenants who "forget " to close up, you will get complaints on everything from residents, I guarntee. I cant see the job but spraying is best for complete coverage, I never heard of a clearcoat, clearcoats by nature of the limitations in chemistry dont last as long as paint, so the clearcoat would fail first, I think. If you do a color, "Universal tints" -store used , dont last as long in color retention as what most companies used to use at the factory, that is an issue to research by brand, so you need factory mix color.
You need to think twice before being the General Boss on this, so much can come back to bite you for many years to come, if you dont Know the business, even if you do. The warranty and quality of this job is YOU, not the paper you get, or contractor, once you pay it will all be your failure. You dont even know what price is right and if its Union rate or cut rate cheap as you go 7 $ hr over the border labor and switching paint price. I would not do that job free, I would protect myself if I lived there and knew the compliants from just residents would likely drive me to drink. 50 - $100,000.00 leaves alot of room for cheating.
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news:d27996fe-31af-403e-88b3-
For a 50000 job you need to know more than the painters you hire...
Yes it should be washed, not power blasted...
...high humidity, low temp, and if rain is expected.
*humidity, low temp, rain? Not likely here.
... Any breeze will blow spray from an airless and paint cars, bushes, window glass, pets, furniture from tenants who "forget " to close up...
*That's my biggest concern, but we'll handle it.
If you do a color...
*A no-brainer. It will be the same color as the desert.
You need to think twice before being the General Boss on this... *****************************************************
All good points. FTR, I am a director, not the president, so my "official" position in this is to advise and assist, not take the heat. While this is a "right to work" state and plenty of cheap (and sometimes shoddy) labor is available, we have a good track record of weeding out the flakes and getting things done right, for a good price. Over the last five years, we have turned this place around, 180, and we now have a list of reliable, trustworthy workers who appreciate our business, but this particular job is over their heads. We also have developed a good relationship with a local paint rep, and we get a very good price on quality materials. For this job, we will only hire a local, reputable, licensed company and before we hire anyone, we will check out the jobs they've done. I'm not green about painting and prep, or contractors or pitfalls - just the technicalities of painting stucco. Writing solid contracts and protecting against getting screwed is my strongest suit. We will be closely monitoring what goes on and we will store the materials, so very minimal risk there. We have also established that the contractor will be paid only as each quadriplex is done (read: done right). Only then do we move on. This area has an especially depressed economy, and many businesses are hungry for work, which is a real boon to our negotiations. The contractor with the extremely high bid is simply dangling a line for suckers, but we aren't biting. More power to anyone who can sit and wait for only the jobs where they make a killing. They obviously don't need our job.
Frankly, the general quality of work down here is a good notch below what I'm used to, and slow as hell too, but that's just how it is. We want to push ahead, but we do have the luxury of planning this job for the most advantageous time, considering the severity of the climate here. Regarding "protecting myself," trust me, I don't need this job, but I'm willing to do it. Having a hand (and a say) in it is the best way to protect myself. Especially now that the other association will be involved, we just inherited more bodies who know how to get things done right. We're all retired and we all have time to work on this..... so long as it doesn't mess with my golf days. We've already jointly pulled off more major coups than this and I'm confident that we can pull this off too.
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New stucco needs about 2 months till it can be painted, but you need to know why it failed, how to check for mold and moisture before you just slap in new stuff. You say you are "planing and orchestrating" this, but wouldn`t want the job for it difficulties, wake up, it is your responsibility and name on it, any failures will be known as uncle Ks` crappy job. Any complaints will be " go tell uncle K, its only 11pm, call him"
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news:893d98e8-4043-4e43-b166-
New stucco needs about 2 months till it can be painted, but you need to know why it failed, how to check for mold and moisture before you just slap in new stuff.
* As I mentioned elsewhere, this is the driest climate in the nation. You couldn't grow mold here if you tried. As for moisture, yes, we get 4" of rain per year. Why did it fail? 29 years of baking in an oven and a few earthquakes. Actually, it's in remarkable shape for its age and stucco repairs will be a minor factor.
You say you are "planing and orchestrating" this, but wouldn`t want the job for it difficulties, wake up, it is your responsibility and name on it, any failures will be known as uncle Ks` crappy job. Any complaints will be " go tell uncle K, its only 11pm, call him"
*Wrong, Mark. I said I'm sharing those responsibilities. We use what you call good communication around here and it serves us well. Our membership approves of what we're doing, in advance, and knows better than to try and pin any problems on any of us. In this world, somebody has to have the nads to make a move or nothing ever gets done. I stand by "wouldn't want to do this job." What a PITA.
We have exceptional cooperation from our members, but, just once, a member threatened to sue the association (small money, about 2K) for a problem she caused through her own negligence. I gently warned her that we would smoke her if she took it to court. She filed anyway, but obviously got some good legal advice, pulling out before costing herself even more money. Life goes on.
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Actually mold can grow in the desert here. There was big law suit over brass PEX connectors that failed (product failure), with leaks at the outside walls. The builder did not place "weep screed" (?) and the bottom of the wall / stucco. Water collected over a long period and mold grew. It was found after the stucco was torn off.
My house is 12 years old. The front and sides are still the original paint. I painted the back 5 years ago when I added a patio deck cover.
I really have to look to find any "hairline" cracks, nothing major. You mentioned golf ball holes. I take it this house is near the fairway :-/ I was at a home some years back, and the golf balls knocked holes the stucco from wide golfers..
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