Exterior latex acrylic stucco paints have a dual purpose. They enhance the surface with a pleasing aesthetic or a decorative appearance and protect the surface that it covers from deterioration.
More important than the aesthetic appearance, a top-of-the-line quality latex acrylic stucco paint will protect the structure, and painting sooner than later can be a cost-effective decision.
To determine if it is time to redo your latex acrylic stucco paint, it is imperative to evaluate the condition of the paint and the underlying substrate. Naturally occurring masonry cracks and other voids or openings on the surfaces will allow water intrusion into the substrate and potentially cause significant structural damages such as wood rot, rusting corner beads, spalling, and stucco delamination.
Over 90% of the stucco or masonry delamination and spalling is caused by water intrusion through cracks. A professional paint job is very inexpensive compared to concrete restoration.
When a latex acrylic stucco paint film loses its integrity (chalking or oxidation), it can no longer protect the underlying surfaces. Water may pass through the paint film and potentially cause structural problems. If visual cracks are observed regardless of the integrity of the paint, it is time to consider repainting.
On beachfront properties, it is more critical to maintain a protective finish on the exterior of the building. The constant wind, salt spray, and water intrusion can cause major problems with the structural integrity of the building. The steel reinforcement rods of the building's structure can cause the concrete to spall (rusting steel expands and causes the concrete to pop away from the surface). A water-tight, crack-free construction will minimize this effect.
You should apply a new layer of latex acrylic stucco paint when it is beginning to deteriorate (chalk) or if you want an aesthetic or decorative change. Repainting is also recommended when an enhancement is made or if the building exhibits other sources of water intrusion to ensure it remains protected from structural issues.