20 FAQs About Limewashed Brick | Everything You Need to Know

June 4, 2024
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

More About Me

Search

Subscribe!

Transforming your home’s exterior with limewash can be a game-changer! I have all the answers to your limewash finish questions right here. From the basics to detailed how-tos, let’s dive into all the FAQs about limewashed brick!

In the five years since I limewashed our exterior brick, I have received a lot of questions about the process. I’ve narrowed it down to the 20 most asked questions about limewashed brick and am looking forward to sharing them with you today.

Limewashed Brick

My goal is always to take the guess work out of these projects and make them achievable and less intimidating. Lime wash 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.

My first time limewashing was a bit intimidating. I literally woke up on a Saturday morning and decided to just go for it. While I didn’t hate my brick color, I knew this change was going to be the perfect choice.

Because it’s too good not to share, here’s a quick look at our house BEFORE I limewashed the brick….

before pic of house without limewash

And here it is AFTER limewash…..

Limewashed brick home

Incredible, right? So, let’s jump into it….

Limewashed Brick – All You Need to Know

Affiliate links included

1. What is limewash? Understanding the basics

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. The step-by-step guide to applying limewash

Please check out this full tutorial on how to apply limewash to brick exterior surfaces. Or this tutorial on how to apply limewash to faux brick interior surfaces. It truly is a simple process.

The product I chose was Romabio Classico Limewash. While I give a more detailed tutorial in my full blog post (How to Limewash the Exterior of your Home), here’s a brief breakdown of the steps I took…

  • Following the packaging instructions, I mixed up my limewash and got it ready for application
  • Using a masonry brush, I applied a thin layer, of my limewash mixture, on a small section. Not knowing for sure what I was doing, or if I was going to like it.
  • With this initial application, I was already in love. And quickly applied a second coat over my thinner coat. This time piling it on a little heavier.
  • I allowed it to sit for about 15 minutes. Working on other sections while it soaked in.
  • Using a sponge, I then went back and wiped away some of the limewash to allow some of the red brick to show through.
  • I worked in small sections, repeating these steps, until I achieved the desired look.

What I thought was going to take a long time to complete, I was able to wrap up in a single day. My whole house front of brick was transformed in one day.

3. What are the supplies I need to limewash my brick?

Just a few….

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. Limewash vs. Paint: Which is best for your 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…..

limewashed brick process

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. Is limewash the right choice for all types 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. 🙂

front of house with American flag

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.

Risks of Cold Weather Application

  • Slow Drying Time: In cold weather, limewash takes longer to dry, which can lead to uneven textures and a higher possibility of it being washed off by unexpected rain or affected by frost.
  • Poor Adhesion: Lower temperatures can hinder the limewash’s ability to properly adhere to the brick surface, leading to flaking and poor coverage.
  • Freezing: If water in the limewash freezes before the limewash has fully cured, it can expand and crack the finish, damaging the aesthetic and protective qualities of the limewash.

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.

limewashed brick with front door

18. How does limewash affect the thermal properties of a brick home?

Brick is known for its ability to absorb and store heat. Its porous surfaces help regulate indoor temps; keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

Limewash complements this by being highly breathable, allowing moisture to evaporate from the brick rather than trapping it.

Because limewash typically comes in lighter colors, it has the added bonus of reflecting the sunlight. Helping your home to stay cooler in the summer months.

19. What do I need to do to maintain my limewashed brick?

The short answer is nothing. It is literally an apply it and forget it technique. Because it’s not paint, it won’t chip off like paint. So no need for constant touchups.

Unlike other finishes that get worse over time, limewash gets better with age. The sun will not fade it. So, there’s no need to reapply in the future.

Definitely one of the most low maintenance improvements you can make to your home.

The one caveat: There is one exception. I’ve noticed that one of my window sills has lost some of its limewash finish. This is due to snow collecting in this spot over the years. It’s hardly noticeable. But something I might add a little bit of limewash to in the future, if it continues to be washed away.

20. How do I choose the right color of limewash?

This is a question I receive often. Here are some things to consider…

Consider the brick’s original color. This is the most important question you can consider: Do you like the color of your original brick? If so, go with a shade that is lighter. And, apply it sparingly. The original color of your brick will still peek through, providing a beautiful contrast.

If you’re not wild about the color of your brick, you can still choose a lighter shade, but apply it on thicker. You may even consider giving it a solid finish. This can be achieved by covering the entire surface of the brick with the limewash, so that no brick shows through.

Consider the trim colors of your home. What will complement the color of your trim the best?

Consider your home’s style. Is it modern or classic? A more modern home can get away with bolder colors. While a more classic look is more appealing with lighter colors.

Look at your home’s surroundings. Check out the colors of nature and other houses around yours. Want your home to blend in? Pick colors that match the surroundings. Want to stand out? Choose a color that pops, but still looks right.

Sample First: Colors can look different outside than they do on a swatch. Paint a small section with your top choices. Look at them at different times of the day to see which one you really love.

Don’t forget the sun. Remember, sunlight can change how colors look. Bright light makes colors look lighter. Less light can make them seem darker. That test patch we just talked about? It’s really important.

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!

SOURCES: 

(Affiliate Links Included)

Block Brush (Amazon)

Block Brush (Romabio)

Sponge

Limewash

Faux Windows on Garage Doors

Carriage Package on Garage Doors

Until next week,

Happy Building & Designing, Friend!!

Don’t forget to join my VIP List below for many more great tutorials. 

Hop over to Instagram to see all of the RL behind the scenes. What am I working on now?….come check it out!

More Great RL Outdoor Posts:

Ideas to Update the Exterior Design of Your Home

Easily Update Garage Doors to Carriage Doors for Instant Curb Appeal

New Front Door and What to Consider

 

Read more posts like this one…

Easy How to Refinish Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

Easy How to Refinish Hardwood Floors Without Sanding

DIY Hardwood Floor Refinishing Without Sanding Is your hardwood flooring tired and worn out? Are your wooden floors ready for a refresh? While hardwood floors are super durable and tough, they do lose their shine and luster over time. And then there's the knicks,...

How to Get a Light Modern Stain Finish in 4 Easy Steps

How to Get a Light Modern Stain Finish in 4 Easy Steps

Sharing with you today the best light modern stain finish to bring new life to any old furniture piece. A light modern stain finish is a timeless option for any furniture piece. This easy technique will bring new life to an old wood finish. I have applied this finish...

0 Comments

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Seven Awesome DIY Outdoor Projects-My Top Favorite - Repurpose Life - […] factor, this project is calling your name. As I shared in this article from a couple weeks ago (17…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.