In the three years since I limewashed our exterior brick, I have received a lot of questions about the process. I’ve narrowed it down to the 17 most asked questions about limewashed brick and am looking forward to sharing them with you today.
My goal is always to take the guess work out of these projects and make them achievable and less intimidating. Limewashed brick adds so much character and texture to a home. It is a timeless process that has been around for centuries. If you missed the initial post, here’s the full tutorial on how to limewash a brick exterior.
Because it’s too good not to share, here’s a quick look at our house BEFORE I limewashed the brick….
And here it is AFTER limewash…..
Incredible, right? So, let’s jump into it….
Limewashed Brick – All You Need to Know
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1. What is limewash?
Limewash is limestone that has been crushed, burned and mixed with water to form a lime putty. The lime putty is then aged and more water is added to dilute it to a thinner texture. Once it is ready for use, natural pigments are added to give it its unique color. Depending on what surface it is being applied to, it can be a thick texture or a thin paint like texture. We’ll talk more about that in the “On what surface can I use limewash?” section.
2. How do I apply limewash?
3. What are the supplies I need to limewash my brick?
Just a few….Limewash mixture; block brush; sponge; water hose; bucket. That’s it! While I love this block brush from Romabio, it’s a little bit more on the spendy side compared to this Amazon block brush option.
4. Which is better limewashed brick or painted brick?
The biggest benefit of applying limewash, is that it soaks into the brick and therefore doesn’t peel like paint does. Limewash allows the brick to breathe, which in turn means less maintenance. In addition, limewash gives an aged and weathered look, therefore any aging over time is less noticeable….since this is the look that it already creates. Limewash is also cheaper than paint. A gallon of limewash goes a lot further than a gallon of paint. You can cover a lot more surface with limewash than you can with that same amount of paint. And if you do this project on your own, the savings are even bigger. Which brings us to question #4….
5. Is limewashed brick a DIY project?
YES!!! With a caveat…If you have high areas where you’ll need to apply the limewash and you’re not so confident about climbing up there, you will want to hire a professional. My brick is all on the first level of my home, making this project much easier to tackle. I’m not a huge fan of heights, so I think if my brick extended to my second level, I would have foregone undergoing this project on my own.
But since it was manageable on the first level, I literally woke up on a Saturday morning and went to work on it. By the end of the day, the job was finished and I was showered and off to a graduation party. It was truly that easy! This project can definitely be DIY’d! And actually I encourage it, because only you know the look you want your limewashed brick to have. No two limewashed brick homes look the same. They are all dependent on the person applying the limewash and the technique they use. I’m glad I did this project on my own, I don’t think I would have been happy, had someone else done it for me…..
6. What surfaces can I apply limewash to?
In this post, I’m focusing primarily on limewashed brick. However, limewash can be used on a variety of other surfaces too. With brick being the most common, limewash will also adhere to drywall, stucco, stone, tile, wood and even glass. I would love to try my hand at all of these surfaces. Each surface has its own unique finished look. But the one I’m most interested in trying is, applying limewash to a drywall surface. The texture of the limewash for drywall versus brick is very different. As you would expect, the brick limewash texture is thicker (the consistency of pancake batter) whereas the texture for drywall limewash will be more of a paint consistency.
7. What colors are available for limewash?
In its base-form, limewash is off-white. Romabio offers a variety of earth tone colors of limewash. I chose Avorio White in the Classico Romabio Limewash Collection for my exterior brick. I love how the natural brick shows through in areas against the white limewash, giving it more dimension and detail. In addition to the natural earth tones that Romabio sells, limewash also comes in a beautiful array of colors. I love the selection Color Atelier provides. The sky is the limit on the colors you can choose from. I seriously want to try this in one of the rooms in my house! These colors are gorgeous and the texture it gives is just stunning!
8. How many coats of limewash do I need?
This is really based on personal preference. Limewash is darker when it’s wet and becomes much lighter as it dries. For my house, I only applied one coat at that pancake consistency we talked about earlier. If you’re wanting a darker look, apply more coats. With each coat you apply, you’ll have more coverage and less of your natural brick showing through. If this is the look you’re going for, keep applying coats until you get it to the coverage you’re wanting. You really can’t go wrong. If you feel like it needs to be darker, add more. Just let it dry for 24 hours in between each coat. This will allow it to fully cure and you’ll be able to see its true color before deciding whether to add another coat or not.
9. Will the color change the more I dilute the mixture?
No, not at all! The color pigment does not change or dissolve with water. But, don’t forget wet limewash is always several shades darker than dry limewash.
10. Will limewash cover any color of brick?
This is a question I get asked more than any other. It usually goes something like this, ” I don’t like the color of my brick, will the limewash still look good?” The simple answer is, YES! I can’t tell you how many times I drive by a house with ugly brick and think, they need to limewash their brick. What a world of difference that would make! You can apply limewash as thick as you want. If you don’t like the color of your brick and therefore want very little or even none of it at all showing through, with limewash you can do that. Some limewash houses are completely covered with no brick showing through and others have a lot of brick showing through. It’s all personal preference. And the best part is, you get to do it how you want! You might wonder, why not just paint it if I’m not going to let any brick show through? And for this question, I refer you back to question 3. 🙂
11. How long does limewashed brick last?
Limewashed brick is very durable and will last for decades. Limewash fossilizes to the brick, and over time it will mature or age. The more it ages, the better it looks.
12. How does limewashed brick hold up against the elements?
Wind, snow, ice, rain, sun….no problem! Limewash is highly alkaline and actually serves as a protectant against fungal growth and insect damage. In addition, it has a high UV resistance. In other words, it holds up great against the elements!
13. What does the outside temperature need to be to apply limewash to my brick?
Ideally, the temperature needs to be between 50-90 degrees…not only on the day you apply it, but also on the two days following the application.
14. What if it rains after I’ve applied the limewash?
Rain is not a problem…as long as your limewash has at least 3 hours to dry before the rain comes. During this time it will harden to the surface of the brick and rain will not hurt it.
15. Can I remove limewash once I’ve applied it?
In that rare instance, that you don’t like how the limewash turned out, you can remove it within two days with a pressure washer. If it’s been an extended period of time, since you limewashed your brick, you can do one of two things: a.) have a professional crew come and remove it from the brick or b.) limewash over it, which will in turn darken the color and give it more of a painted brick finish.
16. Can I make my own limewash?
Yes. With the following ingredients, you can make your own limewash: alum salt; natural pigment; lime putty or lime powder; and water. For the exact directions and measurements of each, YouTube has a lot of great videos sharing exactly how to do this.
17. Will limewashed brick (and other surfaces) go out of style?
As I mentioned before, limewash has been around for centuries. Dating back to Roman times, it is literally one of the oldest paints known to man. Often seen in Mediterranean spas, this exquisite textured paint, has an elegance that will stand the test of time. So, in other words, this “trend” is not going anywhere. It’s here for the long haul.
I hope I’ve answered all of your questions about limewashed brick–the process and all the things you need to know. Be sure to comment below if there’s a question I didn’t cover. Have you tried limewashing yet? If not, are you ready to give it a go? You’ve got this! Here’s the best tutorial to knock out this project! It really is quite simple!
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Until next week,
Happy Building & Designing, Friend!!
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