How Limewash Brick Can Make Your Home Exterior Shine

Limewash brick is an alternative for when you don’t want to paint your exterior brick surfaces. The result is a white washed look made for brick. Limewash is popular among homeowners as the material absorbs into porous surfaces, like brick or stone. 

After you apply limewash to a brick wall or brick house, it calcifies into the brick’s surface, it’s protected from moisture buildup. It isn’t permanent and you can use lime wash brick on any home. If you’re not familiar with how it works or its added benefits, we’ll show you everything you need to know.  

Limewash BrickView in gallery
On The Surface

You should think of limewash brick as a finish. The finish has a light and airy feel to it. If you live in a brick house and want a modern farmhouse look, consider limewash brick. Here, we’ll learn more about it and how it can be beneficial to your home.

What Is Lime Wash Brick?

Lime wash brick is treated with a special coating known as lime wash. It adds a white covering to brick exterior surfaces while covering imperfections. It’s also a fun DIY home improvement project that will protect all the bricks.

Limewash Vs Whitewash

Limewash Vs. WhitewashView in gallery

Limewash and whitewash are related. A classic limewash is a whitewash, but not all whitewash finishes are limewash. Whitewashing only involves paint and water.

The process is related to bleaching wood. But whitewashing and lime washing use a thin wash painted on wood. Bleaching wood is about drying the wood, not hydrating it. 

Pros and Cons of Limewash Brick

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of lime washed brick.

Pros

  • Cheap – limewashing is cheap because all you need is water and lime. 
  • Natural – the main ingredient in a bag of lime is just that, lime. You won’t find many with harmful chemicals in them.
  • Easy – it is easy to apply limewash to brick and it’s low maintenance.
  • Insect Resistance – when you add a limewash to brick, you are adding a naturally insect-resistant material.
  • Coating – if your limewash starts to wear off your brick wall, add more. 
  • Won’t Peel – limewash won’t peel like painted brick. It soaks into the brick just enough to become part of it while still covering the top of the brick. 
  • Durable – Limewash provides a non-toxic weatherproof seal to brick surfaces. This quality alone makes it less maintenance. Limewash paint is a healthy alternative to polyurethane and painted brick. 

Cons

  • Erosion – lime can erode, so limewash can also erode. It can be treated to not do this but a better option is to brush the erosion away as it appears and recoats your brick once every few years.
  • Long Application – because each coat needs to dry a long time before applying a second coat. This can take days, or even weeks, to finish applying. 
  • Can Stain Clothing – although lime doesn’t stain clothing, it can mark your skin.
  • Can’t Be Used On Painted Brick – limewash won’t stick to finished or painted brick. 

How To Limewash Brick In 6 Simple Steps

Limewashing brickView in gallery

Limewashing brick is environmentally friendly and a fun project. You don’t need a pressure washer, but it would make the job easier. Limewashing leaves you with a beautiful brick wall. If you don’t want to apply it to your exterior brick, create a limewash brick fireplace.

Step 1: Clean Brick

Before you apply limewash, clean the brick surfaces you want to work on. Pressure wash the brick if you can and let it try. If there are cobwebs or other debris on the brick, wipe it everything off until the brick surface is smooth.

It’s a simple process so it may be tempting to skip this part. But if you did that, it would be the wrong choice. If you start with dirty brick, the limewash will come out dingy. It might not stick to the surface. 

Step 2: Find The Right Day

It’s best to not use limewash on a sunny day or it will dry out too fast. But you also don’t want it to rain on your project. Instead, choose a cloudy day that has a very low chance of rain.

If it is too sunny and you can’t find a good day to do the limewash, then simply wet the brick. This will slow down the drying time. Spray the brick and wait a few minutes before applying the limewash to it.

Step 3: Gear Up

Although lime isn’t toxic, you don’t want to breathe in the dust or get it on you. So put on a mask, long sleeves, and goggles if you can find some before you begin mixing the limewash.

Lime is caustic. This means that if it mixes with certain chemicals that it can cause burns. You should wear a dust mask. Do not inhale it, and keep your skin covered when using it. 

Step 4: Limewash Paint

Limewash should look like milk. Don’t use it until you have achieved the right consistency. It should resemble whole milk, not skim milk. It shouldn’t be as thick as whipping cream but rather like full-fat milk.

This is a wash so it should have about 80 percent water and 20 percent lime. This is done by weight, so get a scale since you already know how much the lime weighs per bag and work your ratio from there. 

Step 5: Apply Limewash

Put the wash into a paint pan and use a roller to apply it. You can also use soft-bristle brushes but this can take ages on a large structure.

Start at the top of a wall on one side and go down and over. You may see it dripping, but that’s okay. You can wipe the drips with your roller as you go. In the end, you should still have an even coat. 

Step 6: Two Coats

Cover the bricks evenly, then wait two to four days before applying the next coat. Yes, you will need to wait days before applying more limewash. That’s why you should only make as much as you need. 

The limewash will also keep if sealed, so get buckets that can be sealed and let the limewash be stored in them for a few days. Every coat will make the limewash less transparent so keep this in mind.

Should You Limewash Brick? View in gallery

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Can You Spray Limewash On Brick?

It is possible to spray on limewash but no it is not recommended. Because the lime in the limewash can block the hose and nozzle. When the pathway is blocked, the limewash won’t spray and the sprayer can be ruined.

Does Limewash Have To Contain Lime?

Yes. Limewash must contain lime or it isn’t considered limewash. You can get a similar look by diluting white paint. This is called whitewashing and it is not the same as limewashing but it has a similar outcome.

How Much Does Limewash Brick Cost?

Limewash brick costs an average of $2000. The average cost per square foot is around $3. This cost does not include laying brick, only the process of limewashing brick that has already been installed. 

Can I Paint Over Limewash Brick?

You can paint over limewash brick. But the paint will not stick unless you use a primer first. Use a primer made for rough brick and the paint should stick to the surface. Otherwise, your results will vary.

Limewash Brick Conclusion

Other types of brick refinishing, like tuckpointing, requires professional help. But limewashing is easy. Limewash is made from powdered limestone that is treated with heat and water to make it stable and durable.

If you want your white brick walls to look natural, then apply limewash to them. Limewashing is the cheapest way you can achieve the right look for a modern farmhouse style.