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What is the best stucco color for my home?

Time to repaint your home’s exterior? If you own a home with a stucco exterior, you have a lot of potential color options to choose from. While most stucco homes are painted in natural earthy tones, there’s a lot of room for variation within those off-whites, beiges, and browns. Finding the best stucco color for your home can be more tricky that you first imagined.

Here’s the other thing: your color option impacts more than just the appearance of your home. As we’ll explain in this blog post, some stucco paint colors are more prone to premature fading than others—something that should factor in your final decision. You may also need to consider your HOA and the color options you are allowed to choose from. See our post about paint samples, renderings and HOA rules.

Does stucco color fade?

Yes. Like all interior and exterior paint, stucco paint fades over time. Once-vibrant hues slowly dull as the years go by, leading your home looking somewhat bleached, faded, and old. Stucco homes aren’t necessarily more prone to fade than other types of homes, but—given that stucco is most prevalent in the sun-drenched U.S. Southwest—there tends to be a correlation between stucco paint and faster fading.

In the video below, Mike Ricker walks you through the factors that influence paint fade:

Can my contractor control fading?

Yes and no. To answer this question, it’s important to understand what fade is and why it happens. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is a form of radiation that breaks down just about everything with prolonged exposure. When paint is exposed to direct sunlight, its pigments eventually break down, causing the paint to lose its once-vibrant color over time. With enough time, all paint fades: it’s just a matter of how long it takes to do so.

Here’s what your contractor can control: the quality of paint they’re using. Certain paints are more fade-resistant than others. Generally speaking, exterior paint is built to resist UV fading more than interior paint—if your contractor is using interior paint for your exterior project, you’re in trouble! Watered-down or low-grade exterior paint could accelerate fading, since there’s less overall pigment to lose to UV damage.

However, there is one decision that is out of your contractor’s control: color. Certain exterior paint colors fade faster than others. Brighter, primary colors—reds, blues, and yellows—fade faster. So do colors with a low Light Reflective Value, or “LRV.” Let’s review what this is and why it matters.

What is the best color for stucco?

Colors with a high light reflective value (LRV) are often the best colors for stucco exteriors, since they reflect more UV radiation away from the paint surface, preserving the pigment longer. This includes lighter shades of brown, grey, sandstone, off-white, and, of course, white. Colors with a lower LRV—darker colors—absorb more sunlight, causing faster pigment deterioration.

All exterior paints come with a predefined LRV. Again, the higher the LRV, the slower the paint will fade over time. If you’re comparing two paints—one with an LRV of 10 and the other with an LRV of 75—you’ll want to choose the latter, just based on its fade resistance.

If you want to maximize your paint’s fade resistance—and, therefore, its longevity—you should do the following:

— Work with your exterior painter to select a high-LRV paint that is compatible with your neighborhood or HOA style guidelines.
— Buy a specially formulated, UV-resistant exterior paint—again, never use interior paint for the exterior of your home!
— Talk to your painter about the application process to ensure the paint adheres to your home’s stucco surface right.

How do you prepare exterior stucco for paint?

Unlike other forms of exterior painting, stucco exteriors require specialized attention and prep work prior to paint application.

First, the entire surface should be power washed to remove any stuck-on dust, dirt, and other contaminants. You don’t want that getting into the paint.

As stucco is battered by sun, wind, rain, dust, and—depending on where you live—woodpeckers, it develops cracks, holes, and other forms of damage. If not properly repaired prior to painting, the paint will not look smooth or dry correctly. If your stucco exterior needs painting, be sure to ask your contractor about their approach to pre-painting stucco repair.

Finally, your contractor should take the time to prepare the stem wall (the foundation) and mask your windows, doors, and other unpainted surfaces. This ensures your property is protected during the painting process.

What is the best exterior paint for stucco?

For stucco homes here in the U.S. Southwest, there’s no debate: Dunn-Edwards Improved Performance Evershield® is top of the class. Dunn-Edwards specializes in manufacturing paints for sunshine-drenched homes in Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Tucson. As such, they’ve put the time and science into making a line of paints that resists fading longer than other exterior paint brands. Evershield is the pinnacle of stucco paint.

If you’re looking for an exterior paint that will outlast any other option, talk to your contractor about the high-LRV options available from Dunn-Edwards. This includes popular color choices like Spanish White (LRV 77) and Oyster (LRV 62). Your contractor can help you find a paint color that matches your taste and what’s allowed by your HOA.

What are the most popular exterior colors?

Here are some popular exterior color options available from Dunn-Edwards in 2020:

Stonish Beige (LRV 44)
Trail Dust (LRV 40)
Wooded Acre (LRV 33)
Wooden Peg (LRV 31)
Cottage White (LRV 30)

Be sure to talk to your contractor about your trim color options and what will match your primary color choice.

Get your paint project started

If you live in Phoenix, that trusted painting contractor is Crash of Rhinos Painting. As one of the Valley’s most-trusted exterior painters, Crash of Rhinos is dedicated to great paint and an effective painting process.

Our Professional Color Consultant can help you find the right, fade-resistant paint color for your home, ensuring that your choice is cleared by your HOA. Plus, we exclusively use Dunn-Edwards Evershield, so you know you’re getting the very best paint for your stucco.

To get started, all you have to do is get a free proposal from us. It’s really that easy!