How to remove latex paint from a smooth exterior stucco wall?

John's Avatar (by Gravatar) by John in  Exterior » Stucco 

The latex paint on my exterior stucco wall is peeling and blistering in places. In some places the paint appears to be well adhered to the wall but when I start peeling in the bad areas the paint continues to peel off right into the areas I felt were well adhered. I can tell where bad areas are by tapping the wall; the sound is hollow in the bad areas, but here again I am fooled because areas that sound solid, indicating the paint is well adhered, often peel off.
I am wondering what is the best way to remove the paint. Scrapping is out of the question because that would scare the stucco finish. Peeling the paint by hand would be a tremendous task, one that I am not up to doing. I have a 1700 PSI pressure washer that I don't think would damage the stucco. I would appreciate the advice and suggestions from anyone who has had a similar problem of removing paint from stucco. I thank you in advance.

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Answer by

The Pressure Washer (PW) is your best bet and very commonly used for exactly such a task. You'll need to hand scrape or apply paint stripper to the areas the PW doesn't strip. However, a hollow sound dictates that the stucco there has released from the structure.
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So, don't saturate the stucco with the PW. Just spray and move, don't linger and start drilling holes with the PW. Then, come back the next day and try the PW again at different angles to get even more off...repeat as many times as you get results.
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Any cracks in the stucco need to be caulked a few times until mostly flush and smooth. The first caulk application should be finger-forced into the crack and subsequent applications should be putty knifed. If the caulk matches the stucco, don't re-paint...if you want virtually maintenance-free. The caulked cracks will show only after it rains or whenever the stucco gets wet.

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