When most people think of stucco they imagine a subdued gray/white color. While this is the natural color of stucco, pigments have been developed to brighten up the mix and make your projects more vibrant. Many people choose to remain in the natural tones area and may go for a nice brown or red, but bright colors such as yellow, green, and blue are available as well. Basically, at this point in time, there are just as many stucco colors as there are paint colors. In order to achieve these different colors, pigments have to be added to your stucco base. This process can be a bit tricky and if not done with the proper ratios or mixed properly, it can lead to lackluster or even splotchy colors. In this article, we will discuss the different types of stucco colorants, when to use them, how much to use, and how to achieve a nice, even color.
How to Color Stucco – What Are Your Options?
Typically, if you look up how to color stucco you will be subject to article after article of how to paint stucco. While painting stucco is an option, it is not the best option for coloring your stucco. One of the main benefits of stucco is it’s naturally porous texture. This texture allows for water to evaporate quickly and easily. If you want to maintain that breathable and porous quality that stucco provides, putting a coat of paint over it will hinder that breathability. Because of this, the best way to change the color of your stucco is to add pigments to the stucco and change the color before it is applied.
Traditional Stucco vs Acrylic/Synthetic Stucco
Stucco bases come in two main colors depending on which type you choose. There are two main types of stucco–traditional stucco (made with portland cement) and acrylic/synthetic stucco finishes. The traditional stucco is mixed together from dry ingredients and water and is a gray/white color when no pigments are added. You can read more about how to mix traditional stucco in our article How to Mix Stucco. Acrylic/Synthetic stucco finishes come in a white liquid base form that is already ready for colorants to be added.
Powder vs Liquid Colorants
Just like with paint, the color is added to the base of stucco in order to achieve different colors. But unlike paint, because stucco can come in a dry or liquid form, the pigments added can be dry or liquid as well. If you are using traditional stucco, you will have to add dry colorants to the mixture before you put in the water. For acrylic/synthetic stucco, you will have to mix in the liquid colorant to the base.
How to Mix Color In Stucco
The color to stucco ratio is important for achieving the correct color and vibrancy for the stucco. And because traditional stucco and synthetic stucco are so different they require different techniques.
Mixing Color into Traditional (Cementitious) Stucco
For traditional stucco you will want to:
- Determine the amount of powder you will need. First you will need to know the total weight of the stucco you are using. Then, most powdered stucco manufacturers recommend using 3%-7% of the total weight of the stucco base in order to achieve a good pigmentation. This means that if you have 100lbs of stucco, you will want to add 3-7lbs of powder. The amount you use will be determined by the vibrancy of the color you are trying to achieve. If you want a more subdued color add 3%, if you want it to be more vibrant add 7%.
- Mix the powder color and water together in a bucket. Using about 50% of the total water you will need for the stucco base mix, add the powder to the water.
- Now, you can add the colored water to the base mix according to the directions on the base mix.
The Importance of Mixing
In order to achieve a nice and even color throughout your stucco mix, it is important that you add the pigment to the mix early on. The sand particles in the stucco mix actually help to grind down the pigment clumps and disperse it evenly. This provides a nice and even color to the stucco mix and prevents it from being splotchy when applied.
Mixing Color into Acrylic/Synthetic Stucco
When you purchase synthetic/acrylic stucco you can choose a color you want the stucco to be during the purchase. When the stucco mix arrives, there will be a liquid colorant bottle that comes with it. In order to color the synthetic/acrylic stucco you will want to:
- Add the liquid pigment to the stucco mix
- Mix together with a mixing drill with paddles
To learn more about mixing stucco check out our guide: How to Mix Stucco
If you are not interested in mixing together the colors or you are afraid of messing it up, you can always purchase stucco bases with pre-mixed color. Traditional stucco mixes will have the powder added to the bag of mix. You will simply mix with water as usual. For a synthetic/acrylic base the color bottle will be added and mixed into the bucket before it arrives–similar to getting paint.
Whatever project you want to get done and whatever color you are trying to achieve, QuikSpray is here to make the job go by quicker. Our stucco mixers make your job go by quickly, and make sure you have finished products you can be proud of. If you aren’t sure of your stucco abilities, don’t worry you can leave it to us professionals. Contact us today to get a free quote!