Back Button

How to Paint Synthetic Stucco

Stevie Donald

Synthetic stucco, or EIFS (exterior insulation finish systems), is a composite siding made up of layers of fiberglass mesh, foam insulating board and a final layer of synthetic stucco. Although the final layer is colored, it can still fade over time. The USDA Forest Service recommends that their synthetic stucco buildings be painted every five to seven years. Synthetic stucco has come under fire for causing water retention problems, where moisture wicks through the layers and becomes trapped, causing wood and drywall to rot. Sealing the stucco with water-based paint helps prevent moisture from entering, and allows it to evaporate if it does.

When synthetic stucco fades, it can be stained or painted any color.
  1. Caulk hairline cracks on the surface and around windows, doors and other trim with paintable silicone caulking. The Paint Quality Institute warns that power-washing before sealing cracks forces water under the siding, which can cause paint adhesion problems and interior rot and mold.

  2. Clean the synthetic stucco siding with a power washer, using a 45-degree (white) tip. Narrower chiseling tips may damage synthetic stucco, which is softer than wood or traditional concrete stucco. If it is not heavily soiled, a garden hose with a spray nozzle attachment will work just fine. Allow the siding to dry for at least two days.

  3. Repair damaged areas with synthetic stucco patching material, available at most home improvement stores. Apply the patching material to match the existing texture, and allow it to dry for at least eight hours.

  4. Apply one coat of 100 percent acrylic primer with brush and roller or an airless sprayer.

  5. Apply two uniform coats of 100 percent acrylic (water-based) paint, allowing at least eight hours of drying time between coats. Two coats of paint will last longer and look better than one thickly applied coat.