Stucco Repair or Stucco Replacement or Stucco Paint?

Stucco Repair or Stucco Replacement or Stucco Paint?

My question was do I paint my stucco? Do I repair my stucco? Do I replace or resurface my stucco?

Stucco repair and replacement

Stucco repair and replacement

My background. I’m a Realtor here in Douglas County Colorado. I do not have an contractor’s license and I am not a pro at all things stucco. I have sold millions and millions of dollars worth of homes that have stucco and I’ve had to walk with my clients through many stucco inspections. I’ve learned a lot and I want to share what I know.

My wife and I purchased a stucco home in The Timbers Neighborhood in early 2014. The house was built in 2009/2010. Obviously during that time frame the builder was having a really hard time selling the house. In fact he rented it for about 6 months then the house sat vacant for 3 to 4 years once the bank foreclosed on this house. When we started this process I was shocked that there was very little real information about how and what needs to be done when having your stucco repaired. Finding a reputable contractor proved an even more difficult process.

We purchased the house knowing that it had a lot of deferred maintenance and that the stucco was in need of serious repair.

This house has what contractors call hard coat stucco on the base exterior walls. Some people and ESPECIALLY Home Inspectors get EIFS confused with Hardcoat stucco. It was explained to me by all of the contractors that gave me bids that the main walls are hard coat but the decorative trim pieces are usually EIFS or even a styrofoam under the trim pieces. Side note: The trim pieces are usually very easy to fix or repair so if you ever see damaged trim pieces don’t run from the house. It is typically fixable.

Gallery of photos below.

PLEASE feel free to call me to discuss if you have questions or concerns. I’m thrilled to answer your questions or kick around your ideas. Steven Beam 303-941-4663

Photo below shows you the fading and discoloration on the house before the stucco was applied. 

Stucco discoloration and cracks

Stucco discoloration and cracks

Stucco Discoloration and Cracks:

What we saw on the outside of the house was efflorescence and cracks. The house was originally a green color stucco base wall then a lighter cream colored tan trim. By 2014 the house was 6 to 8 different colors of faded green. It looked horrible and drove me NUTS.

There had been numerous big hail storms in our area and nothing had been done to repair or prevent any of the past damage. Cracks were visible when walking around the house. Most were tiny spider web cracks but there were 8 larger cracks large enough to slip a dime into.

Upon moving in I wanted to stop the bleeding so I went to Home Depot and picked up a stucco repair kit and went to work sealing all the large cracks. The repair kit was nothing but stucco in a caulk gun and it was a very quick and easy remedy to hold us over until we knew exactly what we were going to do for the final “make it right solution.”

Stucco Repair or Stucco Replacement or Stucco Paint?

Stucco repair at this point was out of the question. I was going to make it 100% right or do nothing at all. The exterior of your house in Colorado needs to be maintained properly at all times so slight repairs were off the table.

Finish coat 3rd coat stucco resurfacing - not dry yet

Finish coat 3rd coat stucco resurfacing – not dry yet

Stucco painting:

I have several friends and clients over the years that have either had their stucco painted or purchased stucco homes that have been painted before. My stucco paint estimates were coming in ranging from $9,000 to $12,000 and they all wanted an additional $1,500 or so to complete the caulking that was needed.

My OPINION is that painting stucco is a never ending battle and it doesn’t last half the time the painter will tell you it is going to last. I know people that have had their stucco homes painted multiple times in less than 15 years of owning the home.  Painting a stucco home looks awesome for a year then it starts to chip. This has been my experience. Your experience might be different.  Bottom line…I was not wanting to start down the road of paying over $10,000 per paint job when I knew that painting wasn’t going to last or look the way I wanted it to.

Re Stucco your home?

To re stucco this house we received quotes from $15,000 to $35,000. Hell of a difference huh? Several of the contractors were giving me different advice too so this really messed with my head. It blew me away. Please understand that the $15,000 and $17,000 quotes came in early in 2014 before the real estate market blew up again so labor was still cheap and contractors were not backed up like they are today. At this point I needed a breather so I stepped back and started gathering information.

I had a pretty good feeling I wasn’t going to paint it and I knew repairs were just a crappy way of making it look just OK…so, we decided to go all in for a better and more permanent fix.

Fast forward to early 2016. We decided to go with Alex Garcia that owns Stucco Done Right here in Parker, Colorado.

Mesh and second coat of stucco completed.

Mesh and second coat of stucco completed.

What Alex suggested was a 3 part stucco replacement.

  • The first layer of the stucco replacement was a fiberglass mesh. This fiberglass mesh came in a 4 foot roll and it is tough as nails. You cannot rip it with your hands! The mesh is applied to the wall then the second coat is applied over the mesh. The mesh adds a layer of strength and pliability. These may or may not be trade terms but after my research it is how I determined it to be.
  • The second coat is sort of like the binder. It holds and cements the mesh to the wall. The second coat took about 24 hours to totally dry and at this point I could see that this system was tough as nails. They even put the mesh over the trim. (decorative accents above and below the windows) These pieces of trim are (as I was told) typically EIFS or styrofoam and sometimes wood.
  • The third coat is the finish coat. To make it all look perfect they only allowed two men to do the finish coat. This allows them to get in a grove and keep the walls looking uniform. Evidently if you have 5 guys all laying the final coat and swirling around… continuity will be hard to achieve.
  • Caulking stucco! The 4th and final step is SUPER important and if not done your entire process will be wasted.  Caulk should be applied properly and that means it should be applied at any joint or gathering where stucco meets another surface.  This is probably the number one “stucco item” that needs to be corrected on home inspections for stucco homes that I sell. For some reason some stucco installers do not apply caulk as needed. To have this done on a typical home it can run anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000. I’ve never seen it cost more than $3,000 for just caulking. It’s easy to apply and it’s better to have it done later than not at all. That was the consensus from ALL of the contractors I spoke with.
Stucco color sample taken

Stucco color sample taken

Last details about having the stucco resurfaced on my house.

  1. Cost $22,000. (We knew at the time of purchase that the house was going to need stucco so negotiations were done to lower the sales price of the home to help cover some of the stucco costs.)
  2. It took 3 weeks. Alex finished 3 days later than he quoted me but we had 4 days of storms so we were happy.
  3. He took color samples from under my front porch eaves and matched the color.
  4. He used Senergy Products.
  5. We asked them to start out house in July so hopefully the spring hail storms would have passed.
  6. We are thrilled. Our house is now all one color versus 6-8 different faded colors. The texture is uniform and smooth and the cracks are a thing of the past. The caulking was done properly and the house is now ready for Colorado weather.
  7. It took them a day and half just to put the scaffolding up around the house.
  8.  Our review of Alex is simple. He did what appears to be a great job and I thought it was a fair price for the amount of time he and his crew spent working on my house.
  9. My ONLY complaint was that it does stink when your windows are covered and the house is surrounded by scaffolding for 3 weeks. No natural light in the house is hard to live without.

There are definitly contractors I would stay away from but this isn’t a bash a contractor post. I can share them with you via phone call. 303-941-4663.

If you have more questions, want to see my house personally because you are considering having your home re surfaced, or need anything real estate replated i would be happy to talk to you. My direct number is 303-941-4663. I’m happy to share my experience. Steve Beam.