Learn more about how to limewash paint is an ideal low-maintenance alternative to regular paint for your brick home to freshen up the classic red brick design.
If you’re hoping for a way to change up the plain appearance of your brick exterior, interior, or fireplace and chimney, limewashing might be the answer you have been waiting for. Limewash brick gives the previously average walls a dose of personality, featuring what many refer to as a clean, vintage style. Limewash brick can also achieve a stunningly modern farmhouse appearance when correctly applied, beautifying any brick home with a simple process that even you and I can nail down!
Is this really the right choice for you? Let’s find out!
What Is Limewash?
Limewash is actually one of the original forms of house paint used to paint houses dating back to the Roman time period. It is a current favorite paint job choice thanks to its environmentally friendly mixture of crushed limestone and water, with the purpose of giving texture to a previously flat finish.
Why do we lime wash brick when it’s already textured? Well, for the depth of the design, of course! Not to mention, more character and a wider color palette. Limewash brick also has a natural animal repellent in the ingredients that will deter animals and other critters from invading your space.
Other than being environmentally friendly, limewash is a cheaper material in comparison to regular paint. The painting process is quite simple and doesn’t require too much precision, such as making sure one coat is even with the next coat. Not only can it be painted on brick, but limewash paint can be used on stone and other porous surfaces that will absorb the mixture and hold it for years to come!
Pros & Cons of Lime Washing Brick
Before you get over-excited with the appearance of limewashed brick, we should go over the positive and negative aspects of using this technique and material in your home. It’s always best to be as informed and prepared as possible!
- Doesn’t peel (when properly applied).
- Safe to use on brick.
- Naturally insect and animal resistant.
- Highly unsusceptible to UV rays.
- New coats can be directly applied over existing coats.
- Less expensive alternative to paints.
- Gradual eroding (which is only negative if you don’t enjoy the weathered effect on your home).
- Some prefer whitewashing their brick, rather than limewashing brick because whitewashing tends to last longer due to the paint ingredient added into the mixture.
- Touch-ups are to be expected every 5 to 7 years.
- You must apply limewash correctly to reap all the benefits.
Exterior Limewashed Brick with a Partial Finish
Painting brick can seem pointless for those who love the classic brick exterior design. But, sometimes we want to change things up and add a little something to make our brick house stand out from all the rest. While there are several types of painted brick to choose from, lime-washed brick is perhaps the #1 option, thanks to its cost-effective, natural mixture that remains environmentally friendly.
Lime washing can be done to brick or stone, or other porous surfaces, and it can all be catered to your preferences. Limewash creates a natural color that doesn’t have to cover the bricks evenly. As you can tell from this stunning limewash brick house, the coats are uneven but still very natural and project an old-world feel with added benefits that regular paint doesn’t have.
Lime-wash painted brick truly does act as a repellent to all sorts of critters, warding them off without all of the chemicals you might find in sprays or applicants at a store. This alone is a solid selling point! Not to mention, it requires far less maintenance than so many other options.
Houses like this that have only a thin layer of limewash come from the initial application over the brick walls. One coat, and you’re already on your way to a historic-feeling chalky finish to give your property a beautiful transformation and breathe a little life back into your home.
Exterior Limewashed Brick with a Medium Finish
Why not just use white paint? Most paints have countless chemicals in them with ingredients that don’t serve the environment well. On top of that, the need for multiple coats means you have to buy more cans of paint to get the job done. You have to make sure the coats are all even and that the texture of the brush follows the same pattern, otherwise it can come off looking like a sloppy paint job.
Limewash paint has a simple process, and the imperfection of the coats is what gives it real personality! If you aren’t interested in the partial finish but you don’t want to go as far as to have solid white brick, all you need to do is add two coats or so and voila! Your brick wall, brick fireplace, or any other brick surfaces have been transformed but some of the same color of the original brick still shines through!
Even if we get a little thicker with the next coat, keeping the pop of the underlying brick is a timeless design. Lime wash can be painted over any color of brick and the finished product will consistently be worth it! The brick walls underneath the lime washing on this house are a much deeper red and brown than you saw on the previous house, almost like a dirty brick. Even with the difference in brick color, choosing to apply limewash resulted in a beautifully transformed home!
When applying uneven, spotty coats like these there is no correct ratio to follow. That changes when you attempt a solid finish, but for medium and partial finishes you will find that lime-washed brick is even less maintenance when you aren’t trying to make the coats even across all the bricks.
Exterior Limewashed Brick with a Solid Finish
If you’re someone who likes to go all the way, a solid lime wash finish is definitely the way to do it! Having your entire brick house lime washed is such a beautiful transformation, that you can see for yourself in these before and after pictures. Without a doubt, this particular change makes this house jump out and catch the eye of any passersby!
In order to limewash brick homes like this, you will certainly want to get more than just your hands on such a large project. If you end up deciding that this is too much for you and your group to take on alone, taking a look at local contractors near you is a big help! You can also call to ask advice on what materials are best, and what the most efficient way to apply limewash is.
Websites such as gethomecontractors.com specialize in finding you the perfect contractor for your needs. Other popular options would be bbb.org (Better Businesses Bureau) or angi.com, helping you to hunt down services in your area with just a few clicks.
Who knows? One of those contractors might help you achieve a complete brick home transformation, revamping your whole house just like this one with the simple solution of limewash painted brick!
Interior Limewashed Brick
Lime wash is not reserved for exterior design, either! It is perfectly fine to lime wash a brick wall or fireplace inside your home to fit with whatever aesthetic or theme you’re aiming for! Real brick walls aren’t as common in interior design as they used to be, but painting brick with limewash paint on any brick surfaces you have inside your house, including flooring, can transform a space and give your home that ‘new house’ feel.
If you have a brick fireplace anywhere in your home, it deserves to be the focal point of that entire room! One way to get it there is to make it a limewash brick fireplace. The authentic slaked lime paint is so versatile, you can find various colors to match the rest of the room – such as white, brown, or the natural color limewash paint has.
How Do You Limewash Brick?
Here are the tools you will need to lime wash any brick wall:
- Tarp to cover areas that aren’t intended to be painted.
- A hose, spray bottle, or pressure washer to wash any dirty brick surface to prepare for painting.
- A masonry brush, which is a type of block brush popularly used when lime wash and whitewash stone.
- A dust mask to protect your lungs from powdered limestone – if you are mixing your own limewash paint.
- Limewash paint – typically available at your local hardware store (alone with the rest of the required materials.
It helps when you’re painting brick with a large number of people to make sure required fields are marked. Marking the intended walls and surfaces will keep any mistakes from being made when your back is turned! For some more information, check out this short video from Artistic Finishes, a YouTube channel out of North Florida!
How Long Does Limewashing Take to Dry?
The length of required time it takes for lime washing to dry depends on the temperature of the room or the weather outdoors. In a room with little sunlight and colder temperatures, it will take longer than the expected 3 to 4 hours. Humidity also has a large effect on limewash, slowing the drying process significantly because of the additional moisture in the air.
When is the Best Time to Limewash Brick?
As you might have concluded from the effect temperature has on limewashing brick, stone, and other surfaces, there are ideal times of the year to limewash and times that aren’t so great. Preferably, you should stick with the seasons that have the lowest humidity: Autumn and Winter. It’s completely natural to avoid any outside work when there is snow covering the ground if you live somewhere that it snows every winter, so autumn is the favorite choice for something like this.
Thanks to the dry weather, of either season, it isn’t likely for any moisture to invade the limewash on any exterior surfaces and prolong the drying process. Whatever decision you make will also depend on whether or not this is a DIY limewashing project. If you’re hiring a contractor, you need to abide by their personal schedule and preferences. However, if this is something you’ve decided to take on on your own the only thing you’ll need to listen to is the weather forecast!
To avoid freezing temperatures and the typical winter weather, autumn is the best time for limewashing brick exterior surfaces. The humidity is far lower than in the spring and summer months, but the chill is still a few months off and makes working outdoors bearable.
When it comes to interior work, autumn and winter might still be the best time of the year to limewash your brick fireplace but the conditions of the room can be easily manipulated to fit your needs. For example, setting up fans and dehumidifiers can significantly shorten the wait for dry bricks. So, you can definitely limewash brick inside your home any time of the year – just be sure the room temperature and conditions are ideal for limewash paint.