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I have an exterior stucco wall that appears to have been painted. I would like to somehow remove the paint to expose the rough surface of the top coat so I can limewash it.

I tried scraping at it with steel and brass wire brushes but they produced a result I was not expecting: the wirebrushed area became smooth and metallic.

Is this the right approach? What is the right way to remove paint from stucco?

Update: I contacted several sandblasters and they all say it's not worth the trouble, as the blasting would likely destroy the stucco, necessitating a whole house re-stucco, in which case it would make more sense to simply screw wire through the existing stucco and apply a new layer without the added expense of sandblasting.

Are there any chemicals I could use to strip this paint? Or am I really going to have to get the entire house re-wired and re-stuccoed? It seems like such a shame since the substrate beneath the paint is really just fine.

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+1: This is a very clear and well illustrated question. –  wallyk Aug 22 '14 at 3:16
    
I have seen people take paint off with a high pressure sprayer...I think its worth looking into also. –  Hightower Feb 1 at 21:15
    
I tried that. Anything powerful enough to remove paint is aaaaalmost powerful enough to remove the stucco too! If you're removing some paint and you move the nozzle any closer, you'll bore right through the color coat. It doesn't really work. –  iLikeDirt Feb 2 at 3:49

2 Answers 2

That looks like a good justification for a phone call to the local sandblaster. Stucco's too abrasive to be depainted with metal tools.

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I contacted several sandblasters and they all say it's not worth the trouble, as the work would likely destroy the stucco, necessitating a re-stucco, in which case it would make more sense to simply screw wire through the existing stucco and apply a new layer without the added expense of sandblasting. –  iLikeDirt Aug 27 '14 at 19:13
    
@iLikeDirt... another layer of wire lath? I've never seen that done, only applying another color layer over the existing stucco. –  TDHofstetter Aug 28 '14 at 0:38
    
Unfortunately, it's not just stucco; there would be paint between the old stucco and the new color coat. That paint isn't a great substrate. –  iLikeDirt Aug 28 '14 at 1:04
    
I would have... sworn ...that there was a comment here someplace reporting that the stucco had been discovered to not be painted after all. Am I really getting this old already? Ah, well - yes. If that's actually paint and not just a color coat (which can be any of a wild variety of colors), then no, new stucco wouldn't bond to it worth a can of beans; it'd at the very least need to be scarified before recoating. I'd be hesitant to rewire it, though, since that'd hang the new stucco a good 2" further from the building than it's supposed to be. –  TDHofstetter Aug 28 '14 at 1:23
    
You're not going crazy that was me. I deleted my comment when I found out that I was wrong and it was indeed painted. I share your sentiment, though. That's why I'd prefer to somehow strip the paint off. I'm planning to try a bunch of different chemical paint strippers to see which one works best but was hoping somebody had already done this and knew a good method or product. –  iLikeDirt Aug 28 '14 at 1:27

I asked a couple of sandblasters and they all told me that sandblasting off the paint would likely destroy the stucco in the process, so I would probably need a new brown coat and color coat after they were finished.

In the end, the cheapest real stucco option (i.e. not just adding another layer pf paint) seemed to be to skip sandblasting and apply wire lath over the existing stucco and then get a new brown coat and color coat. I figured if I was going to do that anyway, I might as well take the once-in-a-home-lifetime opportunity to improve the insulation, and I hired a firm to fasten rigid insulation boards over the existing stucco, and then apply wire lath and new stucco over that. I avoided the expense of sandblasting or stucco removal and substantially improved the thermal performance and comfort of the house.

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