If you are thinking about modernizing the stucco of an older home, it doesn’t have to be daunting. For our remodel project to update the stucco exterior of our home, we could not believe the difference a few changes could make. Not only did we update the stucco, but we replaced the windows, changed the front door, added wooden accents, and changed the landscaping, to name a few. The before and after pictures of this exterior update show an unbelievable remodeling update that brought our home new life.
How to Update Stucco Exterior with Before & After Pictures
We recently bought a traditional 90’s stucco home and wanted to update the stucco exterior for more curb appeal. The exterior of our home was very outdated and desperately needed an exterior makeover to modernize and give it a completely different look. It transformed from an older stucco home to a gorgeous fresh updated stucco home with a European vibe. Below, I’ve included steps to remodeling updates with before and after pictures.
Steps to our Remodeling Update with Before and After Pictures
1. MET WITH A PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER
First, we met with a professional designer, Angie Geren. She took pictures of the outside of our home and took notes of what changes we wanted. We knew we wanted the stucco corner quins off and the stucco trim around the windows, and the arch above the front door removed. At first, we thought we wanted to replace the stucco with siding or brick on the garage or the part of the house with the front door that sticks out, but we changed our mind due to cost. We also considered painting the house a fresh farmhouse white and adding shutters.
I’m so glad that we waited for the input of a designer because her ideas were far better than what we first envisioned. This was our first drawing render that she sent. I love how she changed the house by adding lots of rectangular lines and updating the old stucco trim. She felt that the front door with sidelights looked too large for the space, and a single door would work better. She also suggested adding wooden trellis sheds to the garage windows, a wooden beam above the front door, and painting the house a creamier white.
2. REPLACE THE FRONT DOOR & REMOVE CIRCLE HEAD WINDOW
Next, we found a solid wood front door to match the look we were going for at Southeastern Salvage in Chattanooga, TN. Our general remodel contractor, Tomy Tredway of T-Squared, replaced the front door. He then had to frame the area around the front door where the sidelights previously were. Above the front door, he removed the circle head window. These changes helped transform the exterior to clean straight lines instead of circular accents.
3. REMOVE & TRIM TREES / SMOOTH FRONT YARD
Between the front and backyard, we had 13 trees either removed or trimmed. It is hard to tell from the before picture, but there was a huge mound in the front yard with several trees in the first image. That mound alone took over 30 bags of mulch that would slide off onto the concrete, which created an unkept look. We wanted a clean look, so all the trees in the mound were removed, and the yard completely smoothed out in that area to create more room for grass for our kids to play with since the backyard is so slopped.
There was also a small stone wall you can see in the second image above that was falling apart in front of the circle head driveway with unsightly scraggly-looking plants. That area was cleared as well.
4. UPDATE STUCCO EXTERIOR
To make a huge change in the exterior of our stucco home, we had the get outdated stucco elements removed to modernize the exterior to a clean European look.
When we began searching for a stucco contractor, they all asked what kind of stucco was used on the exterior of our home. We had no idea there was more than one type. When the contractors came to our home for an estimate, it was determined that our stucco was made from EIFS; please scroll to the bottom of the post for more information regarding different kinds of stucco.
Make sure to get more than one bid when updating the stucco exterior. Our quotes varied from approximately $7,000 to remove the outdated stucco trim elements and make a few repairs to over $30,000 to remove and redo the stucco of the entire home, which was not needed. The stucco contractor we hired removed the corner quins, the thick stucco window trim, and the detailed arch above the front door. He also made a few repairs to update the stucco exterior to current building standards.
Tip: When removing stucco accents, the surrounding stucco must also be resurfaced from joint line to joint line. It cannot be patched; otherwise, you will be able to tell exactly where the stucco was redone. Be wary of any stucco contractor that says you can patch an area. If you notice in the last image, the entire front portion of the home was resurfaced with new stucco to prevent it from looking patchy.
5. REPLACE WINDOWS & TRIM
The windows in our home were original and very drafty. Last winter, we had to put tape around the window seals to keep the cold air out. The original wooden trim around the windows didn’t look good, with paint chipping off in many areas. When the new windows were replaced, a maintenance free-aluminum was used to wrap the trim. You can see the difference in the bottom picture; once all the windows were installed and wrapped, it updated the look immensely.
6. CLEAN EXTERIOR & REPAIR WATER DAMAGED SOFFIT & FACIA
Once the gutters were removed, and the house was cleaned to prepare for painting the stucco, quite a bit of water damage was revealed on the soffit and facia. The original gutters on the house were 4″, which were too small and could not properly handle the amount of water when it rained. Over the years, it damaged parts of the soffit and facia that we had to replace.
6. PAINT THE EXTERIOR OF THE HOME
A fairly large crew painted the exterior of our home. They knocked out the entire project in one day. At first, we thought we wanted a bright white home, but this creamy color turned out so much better after consulting with our designer. I love the white farmhouse look, but the exterior of our home wasn’t farmhouse at all, so we chose instead to go with a more modern European look, and I’m so glad we did.
Exterior Paint Colors
- Main Color – Sherwin Williams Classic Light Buff 0050
- Trim, Garage Doors, and Decks – Sherwin Willaims Urbane Bronze SW 7048
7. BUILD THE TRELLIS SHEDS
The addition of the trellis sheds is one of my favorite parts of the exterior of our home. The stain made the natural wood pop against the creamy exterior paint and modernized the outside of our stucco home. A lot of trellis sheds are quite fancy, but we wanted very simple, clean lines to continue the look of the outside of the rest of the house. My husband and our friend and remodel contractor, Tomy, designed, built, and stained the trellis sheds. They used spruce instead of cedar due to its high decay resistance and to avoid too much of a red tone when stained.
Stain Color –
The trellis sheds were first stained in American Walnut then sealed with a clear polyurethane before installation.
- Step 1: Rust-Olium Stain/Polyurethane – American Walnut
- Step 2 – MiniWax – Clear Polyurethane
For the complete step by step instructions check out Window Pergola Ideas: A Quick Guide to Get Your Project Started
8. BUILD & INSTALL BEAM ABOVE FRONT DOOR & NEW LIGHT FIXTURE
My husband built this faux beam and installed it above the front door. He used 3 different pieces of white pine wood to create the beam. Next, he stained it, and once it was completely dry, installed it above the front door. He used the same stain color and clear polyurethane to seal them as the Trellis sheds contrast with the natural front door.
I love how as we updated each part of the house’s exterior, we changed from curves to clean straight lines. We followed that same pattern with these rectangular outdoor lanterns.
9. LANDSCAPING & NEW GUTTERS
We had all new landscaping installed. Since this isn’t our final home, we kept the landscaping simple and clean. We replaced the old gutters with 6″ bronze gutters to match the trim on the house.
10. STAIN FRONT DOOR
This didn’t really need to be step 10, but we waited for our paint contractor to come back so they could stain the door. Since it had been installed for quite a while, there were a few water stains on it. Our paint contractor sanded the door then stained it with clear polyurethane. It looks almost as dark as the beam and trellis sheds since the door is made from Cedar. Different kinds of wood absorb stains very differently.
PLANNING TO UPDATE THE STUCCO EXTERIOR OF A FIXXER-UPPER?
If you are planning an exterior home remodel, I’ve answered some of the most popular questions below. When you update the stucco exterior, it can completely transform the look of a fixer-upper from an outdated home to a more modern look.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT KINDS OF STUCCO?
When we first started our home remodel and were planning the exterior remodeling, I had no idea that there was more than one kind of stucco and different stucco finishes. Stucco is a fantastic outside finish to a home’s exterior due to its durability, longevity, and low maintenance.
- Hard Coat Stucco – The main kind is the hard tradition stucco. If you knock on it, you’ll feel a thick, almost concrete, or brick-like feel. It is made from a base of cement, water, and sand, followed by a final finish. Of course, there are different kinds of hard coat stuccos, but we will keep it simple for this post. Stucco is a fantastic outside finish to a home’s exterior due to its durability, longevity, and low maintenance.
- EIFS Stucco Systems – It stands for Exterior Insulation Finish System. AN EIFS system has thinner layers of acrylic binder materials instead of a hard base coat. EIFS is a lightweight alternative to cement stucco. It also provides better energy efficiency than wood or brick. It is virtually maintenance-free due to the acrylic it resits fading, yellowing, or chalking.
After making a few phone calls to several stucco contractors, we found out our home used the EFIS system. Not only were there several areas that needed maintenance, but we also wanted to remove the dated keystones, trim around the window, and archway above the front door.
HOW DO YOU UPDATE STUCCO EXTERIOR?
There are several different ways of updating a stucco exterior. Some people remove the stucco completely and cover the home with siding or board and batten. Personally, that was outside of our budget. We wanted to really change the look of our home, but removing the stucco and replacing it with a different material just wasn’t in the budget.
Since I really don’t have an eye to totally change the look to update our stucco house, I hired a fantastic professional designer to take a look at the architecture of our existing stucco home and come up with a new design to give it a totally different look than the standard 90’s stucco homes.
HOW DO YOU MODERNIZE AN OLD HOUSE EXTERIOR?
A fresh coat of paint with modern colors is a great start. You’ll want a nice clean finish first. Make sure to research the exact kind of exterior of your home for the best way to clean. For areas close to the foundation that may need a little more elbow grease from dirt and debris that can often be cleaned with a brush.
Next, it’s important to identify any hairline cracks or larger cracks and crevices to prevent moisture damage in the future.
A few other easy updates that really pack a huge bang are a new front door with new hardware, new replacement windows, adding shutters, and updating landscaping, which are all fairly easy ways to remodel a home on a budget without getting into substantial costs by completely changing the materials of the outside of the home.
CAN YOU RECOLOR STUCCO?
There are numerous options for beautiful exterior paints. You can absolutely paint over old stucco, which completely can change the exterior of a home. In fact, it is recommended every 5-10 years for traditional stucco. EIFS typically doesn’t have to be repainted, but you still may way to update to a more look over the finish coat.
You can paint over any stucco finish, whether it be cement or EIFS. Since it does have texture to the outside finish, it may take more than one coat. Painting stucco is a great way to modernize an old stucco home.
HOW DO YOU MODERNIZE OLD STUCCO WITHOUT REMOVING IT?
It seems like every few years, there is a “look” that is popular, and all new homes follow the same kind of pattern. From 90’s stucco homes to the current modern farmhouse craze, there is always a popular look that at some point you’ll want to update as styles change.
Some of the largest changes we made were eliminating the traditional corner quoins you can see in the before pictures. We also removed the large stucco trim around the windows, changed the arch above the front door to square, and removed the circle head window above the front door.
All of the above changes, along with fresh paint, a beam above the front door, and trellis sheds above two of the garage windows, took our traditional exterior look modern. It’s more of a European-style home now with beautiful wood accents, which completely changed the facade.
CAN STUCCO BE RESURFACED?
Yes, in fact, we had quite a bit of ours resurfaced. Every area that they removed the corner quins, window trim, and archway above the front door and the sides of the front door since we took out the sidelights around the old front door.
You can’t just patch the areas that need to be resurfaced. Our contractor told us that if we tried, you’d be able to see where it had been patched. Therefore, they had to resurface from join line to joint line or, in one case, on the side of the house to the gutter since it extended the length of the entire outside stucco wall.