EIFS Repair

Painting an Older EIFS Stucco Home: A Step-by-Step Guide

Exterior Insulation and Finish System (EIFS), is a popular exterior siding system that provides the structure with insulation, weather resistance, and aesthetic value to buildings.  It is also frequently known as Dryvit or synthetic stucco. Here is an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to help you get the best results when painting an EIFS stucco building or home.

Step 1: Determine the Type of EIFS System Used

Identifying the type of synthetic stucco used is the first step in painting External Insulation and Finish System stucco. The drainage system having a liquid moisture barrier, the drainage system using a fabric barrier and mechanical fasteners, and the barrier system are the three different types of EIFS systems.

The earliest and most basic system is the barrier system. It is made up of an insulation board, a base coat, and a finish coat. This technique depends on the stucco’s capacity to breathe and does not allow for water drainage.

A more updated technique that allows water to drain through the wall assembly is the drainage system with a fabric barrier and mechanical fasteners. It is made up of an eps foam board, a basecoat with embedded fiberglass mesh, a finish coat, a weather-resistant barrier, and a drainage cavity.

The newest and most efficient technique is a drainage system that uses a liquid moisture barrier. It uses a liquid-applied membrane to create a moisture barrier that significantly improves drainage and water management.

It is crucial to understand the type of EIFS system being painted because an older barrier system will require more airflow than a drainage system. You can choose the best paint and application technique with the help of this information.

Step 2: Clean the Stucco Surface

The synthetic stucco surface needs to be carefully cleaned next. Utilize a cleaner that has been approved, such as STP (Trisodium Phosphate), and mix it as directed by the manufacturer. Spray the mixture onto the surface, then wait 20 minutes for it to do it’s magic. After thesolution has time to loosen the dirt and grime rinse the surface with a power washer that has a pressure of 200 psi or less.

To remove stubborn dirt, you can also use a soft brush, but you should use caution because it can remove the topcoat’s aggregate, leaving an exposed area that looks like a shiny spot on the wall in the sunlight, which is obviously very undesirable. Watch this video to see what we clean EIFS stucco with.

Step 3: Paint the EIFS Stucco

The synthetic stucco surface needs to be cleaned and dried before painting. If it is a modern drainage system with liquid moisture barrier, start by applying a primer. It is not advisable to use a primer on an outdated barrier system since the paint won’t breathe as effectively and won’t be able to dissipate moisture. Because of this, it’s recommended to err on the side of caution and paint without using primer directly over the recently cleaned surface.

Consider using a breathable, vapor-permeable coating that allows moisture to escape when choosing the paint. Always use exterior flat acrylic paint. For the optimum paint type for your unique Exterior Insulation and Finish System stucco project, it is recommended to get advice from a professional who is not only experienced in painting but also synthetic stucco.

Final Reflections

Although painting EIFS stucco can be difficult, by following these instructions, you can get great results. Remember to carefully clean the surface, apply a breathable, vapor-permeable coating that may allow moisture to escape the External Insulation and Finish System stucco cladding, and select the appropriate paint and application technique based on the type of synthetic stucco system present. These procedures will help you create a beautifully painted synthetic stucco building that looks fantastic and will last for many years.


Here are a few frequently asked questions we get:

Question: What are the different types of EIFS systems, and how do they affect the painting process?

         Answer: There are three types of EIFS systems: the barrier system, the drainage system with a fabric barrier and mechanical fasteners, and the drainage system that uses a liquid moisture barrier. The type of system used can affect the painting process. For instance, an older barrier system requires more airflow than a drainage system, so the choice of paint and application technique may vary.

Question: How should I clean the stucco surface before painting?

        Answer: The stucco surface should be carefully cleaned using an approved cleaner like STP (Trisodium Phosphate). After applying the cleaner, wait for 20 minutes before rinsing the surface with a power washer that has a pressure of 200 psi or less. For stubborn dirt, a soft brush can be used, but caution is needed to avoid removing the topcoat’s aggregate.

Question: What type of paint should I use for my EIFS stucco?

        Answer: It’s recommended to use a breathable, vapor-permeable coating that allows moisture to escape. Always use exterior flat acrylic paint. However, the best type of paint for your specific EIFS stucco project can be determined by consulting with a professional who is experienced in both painting and synthetic stucco.

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Completed Painting Project

We painted after doing the synthetic stucco repairs on this home. Two of the large doorwalls and six windows were replaced on this house. It was a huge success and the homeowner was very happy with the results.

We painted this repair after we were done with the stucco


With over three decades of dedicated experience in the EIFS industry, Corey Turcotte, has carved out a unique niche in the realm of synthetic stucco repair and maintenance. His unwavering commitment to excellence and customer satisfaction has set new standards in the industry, particularly in Southeastern Michigan.

Corey’s journey began with a focus on the intricate details of EIFS (Exterior Insulation and Finish System), also known as synthetic stucco or Dryvit. Over the years, he has honed his skills and deepened his understanding of this complex system, enabling him to tackle a wide range of challenges that property owners face with their EIFS-clad buildings.

His approach is not just about addressing the visible signs of damage but delving deeper to rectify the root cause of the problem. This comprehensive method ensures long-lasting solutions and peace of mind for his clients. Corey’s expertise extends beyond repairs to include thorough inspections and maintenance, ensuring the longevity and aesthetic appeal of the EIFS systems he works on.

Corey’s dedication to his craft is evident in the glowing testimonials from satisfied clients, many of whom have struggled to find qualified stucco repair specialists before discovering EIFS Repair. His commitment to his clients and his craft has made him a trusted figure in the industry, and his wealth of knowledge is a testament to his years of experience and dedication.

Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner with a synthetic stucco-clad property, Corey Turcotte and his team are equipped to provide top-tier service that addresses your specific needs. With Corey at the helm, you can rest assured that your EIFS system is in the hands of a seasoned professional who understands the intricacies of synthetic stucco like no other.

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