How to Limewash Brick Exterior-A Complete Makeover

July 6, 2023
nicole

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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A WHOLE NEW EXTERIOR MAKEOVER WITH CLASSICO AVORIO LIMEWASH AND FRESHLY UPDATED PAINT COLORS

Every house that I drive by now I think, That house would look AMAZING with limewash brick!! What a super easy way to update the exterior of your home!

After 5+ years of orange, brown and cream, I was ready for a change. Who wouldn’t be with those colors!? Crazy that I LOVED the look of the exterior of our home back when I chose those colors. But I did! And now I don’t. How our tastes change!

before shot of house with brick and craftsman colors

So, at the beginning of spring 2019, I started dreaming of an exterior home makeover. A somewhat EXTREME exterior home makeover. One that involved painting our brick. Well, not actually painting it, but doing a limewash paint treatment on it.

I’ve been eyeing limewashed brick exteriors for a while now on Pinterest. I finally gained confidence in trying my hand at it when I learned that it can be washed off within five days of applying it. I decided upon Romabio Classico Limewash Avorio White.

NOTE: Scroll towards the bottom of this post to see the UPDATE and how our limewash is holding up a few years later.

How to Limewash Brick Exterior

Exterior Brick Limewash Materials Needed:

Limewash colors to choose from

While there are other companies that sell limewash for brick exterior and interior, the most popular choice is Romabio. With excellent reviews and so many beautiful colors to choose from, choosing Romabio for my limewash was a no-brainer.

Colors available:

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Knowing I wanted a more true white, I went with the Avorio White limewash finish.

Header Image

How much limewash do you need?

The first step, of course, is to determine how much limewash you’re going to need. Ordering it online through Amazon allowed me to order it in a smaller size rather than the 4-gallon containers they sell at Home Depot.

I probably could have gotten away with one 0.67 gallon container, but ordered two just in case.

The total square footage of brick walls that I was limewashing was 523 sq. feet. A 0.67 gallon of Romabio Limewash covers 450 square feet. The coverage that you get from it is really dependent upon how thick or thin you mix your paint.

To determine how much limewash to buy, you’ll need to figure out the total square footage of brick you’ll be covering. As I mentioned above, I chose to go with more than needed rather than less or right at what was required. Not wanting to wait for another order, if needed, I found this to be the most convenient. Plus, I have leftovers for touchups in the future, if needed.

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two limewash containers

How to mix your limewash

Following the instructions on the packaging, I measured out the water and slowly started adding it to my limewash mixture, stirring as I went.

I ended up using about 6 cups of water. I stopped adding water when my mixture was thicker than paint, but thinner than glue. A happy medium between the two.

It’s really a trial and error, getting it to the consistency you want. Just remember, you can always add more water but can NOT remove water. So err on the side of less water.

limewash and measuring cup of water

I found that it was easiest to pour my mixture in a large 5-gallon bucket to work from. This also allowed me plenty of room to dip my huge Masonry Brush into….which I highly recommend!

This brush is the beast–covering a lot of brick surface and really working it’s way into crevices. It makes the job easier and faster. (Sorry for the dirty brush picture, but my friend is currently using it and this was the picture she sent me)…

Romabio Mortar Brush

Where to begin your project

When starting out, it’s a good idea to choose a smaller area. This will allow you to work with the limewash and really get a feel for it.

Starting with thin layers, and working in small sections, I began the simple process.

I chose to start my limewash DIY project on a smaller wall, knowing I could wash it all off if I needed to….

ladder with a brick wall

The process

I have to admit, I was a nervous wreck taking that first swipe of paint. But this entire wall was covered in no time and I was all in. After waiting about 20 minutes, I used a hose on the “Jet” setting to wash some of the limewash off the surface of the brick….

limewash brick wall

I wasn’t wild about all of that exposed brick in the picture above, so, I went over it with more limewash. That’s the beauty of this technique, you really can’t mess it up. You can always add more or take some away (or all of it, if you absolutely don’t like it).

After adding more limewash…

girl adding limewash to brick

I decided to let it sit for a lot longer this time (about 45 minutes). Then, instead of using my hose to remove it, I used a large sponge and just worked at the areas where I wanted the distressed look to be. I found this method to be SO much easier. While it was a little more time consuming, it gave me the results I was looking for. Within about 7 hours, I had worked my way to the other end of the house…

brick limewashed and distressed

RECAP: Exterior Brick Limewash Technique Step-by-Step:

  1. Prep the area: Cover any landscaping/walkways that you don’t want the limewash to end up on.
  2. Use painter’s tape to protect any windows/trim.
  3. For best results, use a hose to wet the brick down.
  4. Keep the brick that you’re painting wet, and paint a large section at a time.
  5. Let it dry for about 45 minutes–working on other sections while it’s drying.
  6. After 45 minutes, “randomly” distress each section, using a sponge to wipe off some of the limewash, until you get the desired look.

While our home had been give new life, it was a bit of a hot mess for a few days….

house with limewash and original paint colors

I’m sure we were the talk of the street…wondering what the heck we were doing. Until the painters came and my vision started to take shape. After painting all of the cedar on the whole house, here is the end result…

house painted and brick limewashed

So much better. I am so loving the paint colors we chose. (Colors listed in this blogpost) They go perfect with the lime wash brick….

I’m amazed at how much our landscaping pops now. It looks like an entirely new house…

house with new paint colors and brick limewash

This faux window has always stumped me. I love the look of it, but could never figure out how to make it pop, until my sister suggested adding some hardware to it! I LOVE IT!! And have even had people ask me if the faux-window has always been there. 🙂 (Here’s the link for the Carriage Handles I bought)    Affiliate link

faux window with hardware

Decorating my front porch was so much fun with the new look….

Girl standing on front porch with a hot drink and a fern behind her

Thought I would make that faux window pop a little more. You can find the flower box plans here! So easy to make and super inexpensive too!!

faux window with flower box

My favorite month to decorate the flower box is Fall….

flower box with 3 mums and gourds, pumpkins, indian corn, cabbage

And every home looks great with an American Flag!!

front porch with mums, ferns, white pumpkins and American Flag

While I love an authentic red brick color, I couldn’t be happier with how this all came together. I feel like I’m driving up to a completely different house… (I’ve had a lot of people ask me about our new door so I’m including the link here). It was the perfect choice to accentuate our brick exterior surfaces.

full view of house with limewash completed

If you are on the fence about limewashing your brick, I can’t recommend it enough!! Driving around town now, I’m constantly seeing past people’s natural brick and envisioning how amazing it would look limewashed! One of my best friends loved it so much, she bought the materials and started on hers the next week….

house freshly painted

One more look at our BEFORE….

before shot of house with brick and craftsman colors

And AFTER….

full view of house with limewash completed

As always, please comment below with any questions you may have. You can always DM me on Instagram too, if that’s easier. I love helping people step out of their comfort zone and realize just how easy this stuff is!!

Update: How Is The Limewash Brick Holding Up Years Later?

Four years later and our brick is holding up as good as new. I still love it as much as the day I took on this super easy project.

I did recently notice that some of the limewash has washed away. Most likely from snow and rain settling on top of the brick in this section….

Double window; casing painted black; with potted flowers in front of it and limewash brick

My plan is to touch this up with a little bit of left over limewash. Should be super easy. And honestly, it’s not noticeable at all. So, I’m not in a huge rush to get it done.

Another change that I have made, and absolutely LOVE, is painting this entire faux window black! SO GOOD!!

Faux window painted black with a flower box in front of it

And did you peep the front porch? One of my favorite things to do in interior design, is to step out of my comfort zone and do the unexpected. It would be natural to paint the front porch white, so that it flows with the rest of the house. But, I wanted it to be set apart. To stand out and make a statement. So, I painted it black! And I absolutely love it!! What do you think? Do you like it?

Front porch painted black with lots of green plants

Upcoming plan is to add brick pavers to my front porch and step. Can’t wait to start that project. I’ll keep you posted and of course, I’ll be sharing a full tutorial on how I did it…once I tackle it! 🙂

Limewash FAQ’s

What are the benefits of using limewash?

  • Breathability: Limewash is a breathable finish, which means that it allows moisture to escape from the surface. This makes it an ideal finish for porous surfaces, such as brick and stone, because it helps to prevent the buildup of moisture that can lead to damage over time.
  • Durability: Limewash is a durable finish that can last for many years. It bonds with the surface of the material, creating a strong and long-lasting finish that can withstand the elements.
  • Aesthetics: Limewash has a unique, chalky finish appearance that can give a surface a rustic, aged look. It can also be used to create a modern, minimalist look when applied in a smooth, even coat.

What surfaces can you use limewash on?

Brick; stone; stucco; plaster; dry wall. The only surface that it doesn’t work well on are non porous surfaces. Such as: glass and mirrors. I recently added limewash to a faux brick wallpaper inside my electric fireplace. It turned out great! Here’s the post on how I did it! 

What is the difference between Limewash and German Smear?

German smear and limewash are both decorative finishes for masonry surfaces. German smear involves smearing a mixture of mortar and water onto the surface of the brick or stone and wiping it off with a sponge or rag, resulting in a textured, rustic look.

Limewash is a mixture of slaked lime, water, and pigment that penetrates the surface and creates a more durable, smoother finish ranging from a subtle whitewash to a bold, saturated color.

The main differences between the two finishes are their texture, durability, and application process.

Front porch painted black with limewash brick front and American Flag

Is a limewash brick house timeless?

Yes! A limewash brick house can be considered timeless due to its classic and elegant appearance. Limewashing creates a soft, muted finish that enhances the natural texture and character of the brick while still allowing it to breathe.

The finish can be customized to match the style and aesthetic of the home, from a subtle whitewash to a bolder, more saturated color. Limewash is also a durable finish that can withstand the elements and last for many years, making it a practical choice for homeowners.

Overall, a limewashed brick house can add character and charm to a home, and its timeless appeal can help increase the value of the property over time.

What are the best weather conditions for limewashing?

The best weather conditions for limewashing are when the temperature is between 50 and 90 degrees Fahrenheit, with low humidity and no rain in the forecast for at least 24 hours.

It is important to avoid applying limewash in extreme temperatures, such as during very hot or very cold weather, as this can affect the drying process and the quality of the finish.

High humidity can also slow down the drying process and cause the limewash to streak or discolor.

It is best to apply limewash on a dry, sunny day with moderate temperatures and low humidity to ensure the best results. An overcast day would work perfectly fine too.

For more questions about limewash, be sure to check out this post. I compiled 17 of the most asked questions after finishing this process and sharing it on my blog and Instagram. It’s a great read before starting your own limewash project.

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

Be sure to Pin This Post to your Pinterest Board for later…

Pinterest Pin

More Great Outdoor Posts:

21 Inspiring Scandinavian Front Porch Ideas: Add Curb Appeal

19 Front Yard Walkway Ideas to Revamp Your Curb Appeal

Seven Awesome DIY Outdoor Projects-My Top Favorite

 

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