The last big decision is how to apply the paint. Most pros use paint sprayers because they're fast, but in inexperienced hands a high-powered sprayer can leave drips, thin coats, and a mist that may land on many things other than your siding. If you do hire a painter who uses a sprayer, make sure he is meticulous about removing, covering, or masking off everything in the area that might get hit with overspray: gutters, roofs, windows, shrubbery, walkways, cars—you name it.
According to the EPA, professional painters must check for lead -- especially if a home was built before 1978. Many DIY painters forget to test for lead paint. Testing kits are available in home improvement stores for less than $40. You can also hire a lead testing and removal professional to do this work quickly and efficiently on your behalf. Lead paint can be dangerous; it's far better to find it before you put time and effort into painting your home than after the fact.
Stucco is a specialized material that requires extensive preparation work (cleaning, caulking, filling in cracks, etc.). Additionally, paint suitable for rolling or brushing over stucco varies greatly depending on location and climate conditions. Some stucco paint varieties will chip and peel away in certain climate conditions, so painting professionals won't recommend them. These factors make stucco one of the more expensive siding materials to cover. You can expect to pay anywhere from $900 (~500 sq. ft.) to $3,000 (~1,500 sq. ft.) to have stucco revitalized with paint, depending on how much is needed to cover the home exterior.
Beginning with the prep work and ending with last coat of paint or the finishing, an exterior paint job will last anywhere from one to two weeks. After completion, homeowners using low-quality paint will need to repaint every four or five years to keep it well maintained; homeowners using high-quality paint can go longer without a new coat -- usually about seven or eight years, depending on the type of paint and material.