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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 at 3:16

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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 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 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 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 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 at 1:27

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