Painted brick walls are the top favorite among most homeowners.
But, limewashing the brick exterior has its own set of advantages.
After having done it a number of times, I can say that it’s a great time-savior.
Plus if you’re looking to get a beautiful finish for your brick exterior, without spending huge cash on paints, then you may want to take a closer look at something called limewash.
Here in this article, we will walk through the basic DIY steps that are easy and fast to follow.
What is Limewash?
You may have heard of whitewashing your exterior brick, but you may never have heard of this option.
Used since Roman times, Limewash is typically a kind of chalky paint that is made using natural materials.
Its produced by crushing and burning the limestone. Then it is mixed in with water to form a putty which is then aged.
Why Use Limewash?
Applying limewash comes with many advantages.
First of all, since the product is solvent-free it’s environmentally friendly.
Its high pH level also makes it hypoallergenic.
Limewashing exterior bricks will basically include natural and non-toxic ingredients (in a form of powder putty) that resist fungus and other microorganisms.
This will help create a protective finish on your exterior walls (made of porous brick, stone, or plaster).
But how are you going to do it right to get the long last finish? Let us check…
How to Limewash Brick Exterior? (4 Easy Steps)
Limewashing your exterior bricks can create a mottled and matte look along with a chalky texture that can instantly add depth to your old flat walls.
But remember, if you’re not paying attention to the steps you may not get this process done just right.
Here are simple steps you need to follow while limewashing…
Step 1. Mix Lime Powder
Mix a handful of lime powder with a bucket of water using a wire whisk.
You’ll need to create a thin solution that looks almost milky.
Colored natural pigments can also be added to it for getting different appealing colors if you really need them.
From here, you’ll need to wait approximately two days before you’re ready to use it.
Step 2. Smooth and Thin the Solution
After two or more days whisk the water and lime powder again until it smooths and things out.
You’ll want to use a paint strainer to get rid of the lumps that can occur as lime powder sticks together.
Once you have a perfectly smooth and thin solution, you’re ready to limewash.
Step 3. Dampen The Walls
Using a hose or sprayer dampen the brick wall that you are going to paint with your lime solution.
Make sure you’re starting with a wall that is away from direct sunlight, though indirect is okay if you don’t have a wall out of the sunlight entirely.
Step 4. Apply the Limewash
Use a large paintbrush to spread the lime powder mixture onto the brick in an even coat.
You want to make sure that you spread it over all of the bricks with the same level of thickness.
If you want to reach heights you can use scaffolding that’s specifically designed for exteriors.
Step 5. Wait for 2-3 Days and Reapply
From here, you’ll need to wait another two or even three days for it to dry entirely.
You’ll then be able to apply the second coat. Repeat this process until you have at least four coats.
Fluctuating the amount of lime used on the walls during the last two coats will give your bricks a more realistic appearance and a more variegated one.
This makes the bricks appear more aged as well.
Can you add color to limewash?
Limewash is basically off-white.
But, if you want, it can also be colored using natural alkali-resistant pigments.
Earthly colors like browns, grays, and taupes (dark gray-brown) are the most common ones that most people like to tint the limewash with.
Remember, limewash is up to 10 times darker when it’s wet.
This simply means limewashed bricks may appear much lighter when it gets dried.
How light or dark the limewash color will appear, will also depend on the number of coats you have applied and the porosity of the surface it’s being painted on.
So, before you apply it to your exteriors test the color and make sure you have the right color you desire.
How long does limewash last on brick?
When you have coated your exterior bricks using high-quality limewash paint, it will most probably last for five to seven years.
Worry not, the color will not be gone completely – it’s just that after four to five years you will see the color getting faded slowly.
You may then apply a new coat over it to make it look newer again.
And the good thing is you do not need to remove the existing limewash coating in order to reapply the fresh coat.
How Much does Limewash Brick Exterior Cost?
For an average home size in the US, the cost to limewash brick exterior is about $1800 to $2000.
The costing will mostly be dependent on the square footage area, the prep work, the supplies, and the labor needed.
How Can You Remove Limewash From the Bricks?
You can remove limewash coating from bricks using a pressure washer.
Or if the coating is fairly new you can get it removed by hand very easily.
Take a bucket of water and using a stiff nylon scrub brush you can remove the coating very easily by scrubbing the surface.
Stains on the limewashed surface can also be easily removed by rubbing over it lightly using a damp rag.
Can You Use Romabio Classico Limewash?
YES, ROMABIO® Classico Limewash is a great way to create unique wash-off effects on your exteriors.
In fact, if you are considering DIY limewash your brick exteriors you can get a charming look with this authentic slaked-lime paint that is specially formulated to provide a freshly painted look.
ROMABIO® Limewash is manufactured from the highest quality Dolomite lime from Northern Italy.
Before formulating, it’s slaked and aged like a fine wine due to which it offers the highest durability along with little-to-no maintenance for decades.
Few other reasons why I love working with ROMABIO® Classico Limewash are:
- Easy to use DIY product
- Better coverage per gallon
- Provides good finish only with 1 coat
- Perfect for one story homes and fireplaces
- It’s weather-resistant and it does not peel, chip, flake off or lose color
- Removable and can be washed off in the first 5-days if you don’t like the color
- Romabio Classico Limewash is an authentic slaked-lime paint specially...
- As seen on HGTV Atlanta Flip or Flop show!
- Romabio products are “bio-logical,” manufactured with intelligence...
*Last update on 2021-10-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Whitewash vs. Limewash Brick: What to Do and Why?
Of course, maybe after looking over the steps to limewash your home you’re not quite sure it’s the way you want to go.
Many people have heard of whitewashing and this might be something that you want to consider.
So, just how does whitewashing differ from limewashing? And which one should you be doing?
Well, we can’t tell you which one to do, but we can tell you what they are.
Whitewashing involves painting the brick exterior of your home with the color white, which will make it look classic, timeless, and definitely beautiful.
Brilliant white on the exterior of a house can create a wonderful finish and it can be especially popular among home buyers if you’re looking to sell.
You don’t even need to paint the exterior white if you don’t want to, though that’s generally what’s done.
If you prefer you can paint it an entirely different color, whatever you like best.
Now, on the other side, you’re going to have a bit of upkeep involved, like pressure washing the painted brick and even ending up with moisture in the brick exterior.
These are things that aren’t going to happen if you keep the brick more natural.
Limewashing means that you’re going to cover the exterior of the home with a lime and water mixture that actually helps to seal the brick itself.
Instead of being a coating that sits over the top of the brick, this mixture actually soaks partially into the brick.
It’s not going to peel, because it’s directly in the brick and you’re not going to have maintenance because of it.
You’ll also be able to get a more natural and realistic aged look and without the use of chemicals.
On the other hand, you’re going to need the right type of bricks.
While you can use limewash on any brick, you’re going to be revealing the look of the bricks, which isn’t always the style that you want to opt for.
If your bricks don’t look that great, for example.
So, which is best for your exterior bricks?
Overall, it’s going to be up to you whether you decide to DIY limewash or whitewash your bricks (or anything else).
Either way, you’re going to end up with a beautiful end product.
Since limewash is highly durable, and it does not come off of exterior bricks very easily I personally prefer to have limewash over whitewashing.
It simply offers unmatched protection against water damage, molds, germs, and stains.
The only downside that I can find is it’s not easy to paint over limewash.
If you plan to apply any regular paint over the limewashed exterior wall (with high lime content) you will need to apply a coat of special primer first.
Alternatively, you can use chalk-based paint that does not need a primer.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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