Just when you thought things couldn't get any more complicated, you decide to paint your freshly installed stucco and find out that it might not be a good idea to do so. There are some "common knowledge" things that you need to take into consideration before painting new or fresh stucco.
Can I Paint My New Stucco Immediately?
In most cases, you can paint your newly installed stucco after a short waiting period and after using a specialty primer that is suited for the elevated Ph levels of cement based stucco finishes.
If you have an acrylic stucco finish that you are painting, then this will not apply to you and you can go ahead and paint after the product is fully cured (usually between 2-4 days).
Two Factors When Painting Newly Installed Stucco...
There are two main factors that are the most important, in my opinion and these are the cure time of stucco and the Ph levels of the stucco.
Cure Time: The cure time of stucco is important because you want the stucco to be cured somewhat so it has it's strength and allow any shrinkage cracking to occur that is going to occur in the stucco and then remedy those cracks so you don't see them after you paint.
I usually recommend a MINIMUM of 7 days for stucco to cure before painting but a 14 day wait is better and 30 days is the "standard" cure time. After 7 days, the new stucco will have a significant portion of it's strength gained and a lot of the shrinkage cracking will have occurred or started to occur. This time frame also allows any water in the stucco to leave, which is ideal before painting.
Ph Levels: The Ph levels of the new stucco are important too, mainly because of the paint. If the levels are too high, then the paint might have issues with discoloring and even chipping, so color and bonding issues, essentially.
It is important to note that these problems are usually associated with applying a paint coat directly over the stucco and skipping out on a primer coat. This could also happen if you applied a primer that wasn't able to handle the higher Ph levels of the new stucco, so you need to use a primer that is specifically designed to handle these elevated Ph levels.
Ideal Cure Times:
I like to recommend a cure time of 30 days before painting because it seems to be a good number in terms of waiting just long enough and waiting too long. Most paint manufacturers will also recommend a 30 day cure time before applying their products, so it seems to work well in that aspect too.
You Can Test The Walls Too...
Like everything else these days, you can obtain a test kit to see what your new stucco is looking like, as far as it's Ph levels go. You can find test kits online from many different places like Amazon, Ebay, etc. and they usually are under $20, so not a huge investment, which is always nice.
Primers That Are Available:
There are many different primers out there that are suitable for stucco Ph levels that are elevated and most of them can handle Ph levels of up to 13. I usually like to use a stucco companies' primer products when I am planning on using an acrylic paint but primers are available from most paint manufacturer's nowadays
Omega Stucco: I like to use Omega's Rapid Prime myself when painting stucco with an acrylic product because it is convenient and I have come to trust their products.
Dunn Edwards: Dunn Edwards has a masonry primer that they refer to as EFF-Stop and is is basically a primer that is designed for cement based finishes of all kinds.
Behr: Behr has a couple of different primers that are designed to cover stucco and other masonry surfaces and I have used their products in the past and really like them.
Kelly Moore: Kelly Moore is another paint manufacturer that has a couple of different products for stucco and masonry that you can see here.
These are just some of the resources I listed and am sure that most paint manufacturer's have their own primers that will tolerate elevated Ph levels. Just do a search for a masonry primer or stucco primer to see more results.
Always read the manufacturer's instructions for their primers. Most will recommend a MINIMUM cure time of 30 days, so keep that in mind.