Paint Refuses to Adhere to Lower Part of Stucco Wall

Question: We have not been able to keep paint on the lower parts of our stucco exterior walls. It sloughs off sometimes as much as one-half-inch deep into the stucco. I have used “dry lock,” sealer, plaster and paint, but nothing works. Do you have a solution to this problem?

Answer: Without looking at the wall, it’s difficult to diagnose it. You live on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, so moisture could be the cause. I would be willing to bet, though, that the moisture is coming from the inside out. This is usually the case when paint refuses to stick to anything, including stucco. Stucco should be repaired in three coats, just as new stucco is applied: The scratch coat (the first one); the brown or second coat and the color, finish or third coat. This is true for all kinds of walls, including stucco over concrete blocks, a common finish in Florida.

You’ve got to get down to the lath for a permanent repair, but I wouldn’t advise doing this kind of work yourself. Many of the stucco walls I see are too close to the ground, so moisture from sprinklers, rain runoff, etc. can seep inside the stucco. Contrary to popular belief, stucco is a very porous material, so some water can infiltrate the color coat. Any suggestions from readers who’ve had similar problems? I guess we’re lucky at our house; we haven’t had this problem.

John Clay, western regional sales manager for Traulsen & Co. Inc., 3301 Leonis Blvd., Vernon 90058, has responded to my Dec. 9, 1984 column describing the Sub-Zero line of built-in refrigerators.


The Traulsen Ultra line of residential refrigerators competes directly with Sub-Zero for the cost-is-no-object market, he said, adding that his firm entered the residential market about two years ago. Traulsen has the kind of lock on the commercial refrigeration market that Sub-Zero has on the residential market, but it is going after that market too, Clay said. Traulsen Ultra refrigerators, featuring stainless steel construction inside and out, can be inspected at a variety of dealers, among them Snyder-Diamond Discount Plumbing & Appliances in various Southland locations and Familian Pipe & Supply Co., Van Nuys.

Dale Baldwin will answer remodeling questions of general interest on this page. Send your questions to Home Improvement, Real Estate Department, Los Angeles Times, Times Mirror Square, Los Angeles 90053. Baldwin cannot answer questions individually. Snapshots of successful do-it-yourself projects may be submitted but cannot be returned.