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Do-It-Yourself Painting: How To Paint Stucco

Painting Popcorn/Stucco Ceilings

Can Give Your Home a Fresh, Classic Look

Many homes built between 1950 and 1990 were designed to include “popcorn” or more precisely, stucco ceilings and stucco walls. Stucco was favored because of its ability to hide flaws and because of its bright white appearance.


Here are some tips for painting stucco ceilings in the case that you do not want to have the stucco removed.

Stucco originally was created with asbestos fibers to create the special texture but was banned in 1978 after many people reported illness. In homes built prior to 1980, we strongly advise to hire professional painters to remove your stucco as there may be remnants of the asbestos materials present.


Step 1: Prepare the room

Removing stucco from a ceiling is very messy. Paint stucco ceiling is less messy, but be sure to properly prepare the room before beginning the process. Remove any furniture or decorations that can be removed and cover the rest with drop cloths or plastic sheets.Fasten plastic sheets to the walls to prevent the stucco from sticking to them. Use masking tape to secure the plastic without damaging the paint.


Step 2: Determine if Stucco has been painted PreviouslyHow-To-Paint-Stucco-3

If you know it has been painted before, skip this step. Carefully, climb a ladder and look closely at the stucco. If it looks sealed and smooth, it has probably been painted before. If it looks sharp and pointed it may not have been. Do not attempt to wash stucco. Water will cause the material to detach from the ceiling causing mess and a changed appearance to the ceiling.

Home Painters Toronto Tip:

Go to a small corner of the stucco.  Run your finger GENTLY over the stucco.  If it easily comes off, then you need to prime/seal the stucco prior to painting it.  Be very careful not to take too much of it off or it will leave a finger mark.

Step 3: Prime The StuccoHow-To-Paint-Stucco-2

First to seal the primer, it is highly recommended you use either a low odor oil primer or a waterborne primer made for ceilings. If you use a typical latex primer, this can ruin the ceiling and cause the stucco to come off the ceiling

Also, we recommend ALWAYS doing at least 1 coat of primer before any interior painting of the ceiling. For stucco that is yellowed, smoke stained, water stained, or has not been painted in several years, sometimes even 2 layers of primer is necessary to seal all the cracks and crevices.

Home Painters Pro-tip:


If there is water damage; Keep doing layers of primer until there are no signs of damage left. Sometimes even a stain blocker in that one water damaged area will be necessary.Kilz or Zinser both have good stain blocker primers for situations such as these. Once these areas have been sealed then do a full coat of oil/waterborne primer to blend with the rest of the ceiling.

Step 4: Painting the Stucco:

Painting stucco is different than painting a flat wall or ceiling. Instead of using less paint stucco and adding more if needed, load your roller with a healthy amount as long as it doesn’t drip.

Lighting: Make sure your room is properly lit so you can see all the little spaces and bumps. Check your work often to ensure every valley and mountain is filled with paint.

Hard-to-reach Spots: If the roller will not reach some of the deep spots, use a small paintbrush to “cut in” those areas. Depending on the color, you may require 2 coats of paint.

If you have the time and patience to paint stucco, you will notice a freshly painted ceiling will bring a classic touch to your home. Keep these stucco painting steps in mind to eliminate many of the common damages to stucco when refreshing the ceiling.

If you want to paint or remove your stucco ceiling, at Home Painters Toronto we can help you do the job. With more than 30 years’ experience as painting professional painters in Toronto and the GTA, let our experience go to work for you.

Please call us NOW at 416.494.9095, or email us at [email protected] to get a quote for your stucco ceiling painting or stucco ceiling removal project.

Brian Young - Home Painters Toronto

From The Owner & Founder


Hello and welcome!

I’m both deeply honoured and flattered you are considering using our services.

Since 1987 when I was at York University simply earning my way through school, I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with thousands of amazing homeowners like yourself.

Besides the birth of my daughter, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a homeowner’s life change when we have transformed their dream home into a masterpiece. For that reason, we take our jobs very seriously and are committed to our cause.

At Home Painters our mission is to paint homeowners’ dreams, and make your painting experience last a lifetime!
I look forward to hopefully meeting you one day, as it brings me tremendous joy to make homeowner’s dreams come true.