Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Limewashed Brick

Limewash DIY


When we first bought our 1970's ranch style house a few years ago, I was not in love with the brick exterior any more than the interior, but it was not my first priority.  After painting pretty much every inch of the interior though, I thought it was high time for the exterior to get a little love.  Here is what we were starting with.


Now I know there are many people that prefer the look of natural brick, and I get it (kinda).  They are usually the same ones that would never paint wood paneling.  However, after I had been pinning many exterior images (check out my inspiration board here), mostly just for landscaping idea, I noticed a trend.  Almost every single house that I pinned was white.  My favorite image of all that served for my inspiration was this image..




I love everything about this house.  The white brick, greenish gray doors and trim, the slate floor, I decided would serve as THE inspiration for our exterior.  Even though my mind was made up on what I wanted, I was not exactly sure how I was going to execute it.  First of all, hiring painters to paint perfectly pretty brick was not in our budget, but I also didn't know if this was a job that I was willing and able to tackle on my own.  However, usually where there's a will, there's a way.  Especially in my house when it concerns design matters.

I started doing further research into what it would take for me to paint the brick with a typical latex paint.  I was looking at a coat of primer, and a couple of coats of paint at least. Plus I kept finding warnings about the paint peeling, and the need to repaint every 5-10 years.  I seemed like my dream of having a white house may just have to stay a dream.

Then I stumbled upon a blog post where a woman painted her own brick using hydrated lime, and it only cost $10.  I thought it seemed like an interesting  idea, but I wasn't sure if I loved the weathered result that she had achieved with the lime washing.  I really wanted my brick to be mostly solid white.  I decided I would have to do a test before painting the exterior brick.  We had already painted the brick fireplace in our living room, and the only other brick in the house was a wall in the sun room that used to be an exterior wall.

I decided that it would have to do, and since the rest of the house was pretty much white at this point, there was really no reason to keep it orangish brown.  I found some hydrated lime online at Lowe's, but it was not available at my nearest store, but it was available at a store about 10 miles away.

When I went to get the lime, I wasn't even sure what I was looking for, and a store attendant tried to sell me on some garden lime, but luckily I had done enough research to know that isn't what I need.  I finally got some help in the area around the mortar and concrete mix aisle.  The guy working in that area told me that he grew up in Mexico and that people lime washed their houses and citrus trees all the time and that goats would lick the houses because they love the taste!  Lucky for me I don't own any suburban goats (haha!).  He also said that I was the first person he had ever heard of lime washing anything since he moved here to Texas.  I  was guessing that I'm either a trendsetter or maybe just the village idiot at that point.  Here is what I ended up bringing home from Lowes...

50 Pound Bags of Hydrated Lime

https://www.lowes.com/pd/Blue-Hawk-Natural-Bristle-Polyester-Blend-Flat-Sash-Paint-Brush-Common-5-in-Actual-5-in/4165071
5 inch paint brush




                                                   
https://www.lowes.com/pd/Lowes-5-Gallon-Residential-Bucket/3761919
5 gallon bucket
My total cost for this was around $30, which I felt like I was winning there.  Just a gallon a inexpensive paint would have cost me that much!  I also picked up a couple of large things regular old iodized salt from Walmart.  The recipe I used was pretty loose, and I found out of the course of this project that it doesn't actually make a difference if you measure or not, the results are the same.  I cannot find the original recipe I used for the life of me, but I started with about I gallon of hydrated lime, a cup of salt, and mixed in water until it resembled the consistency of skim milk.  It is literally that easy!

When I started brushing it onto the brick, I kinda started to panic a little.  It was pretty sheer as you can see here...
DIY Lime washing

Little by little the brick turned whiter as the lime washed dried.  It was like watching something magical!

How to lime wash brick

And, it was really a lot easier than painting.  I really was not going for perfection, but it could not have turned out more perfect.

limewashing exterior brick

How to Lime wash brick

limewashing brick


I did the sun room in only a couple of hours, and we were tickled with the fabulous results, and it really gave me the confidence to tackle the exterior brick.  Here is the "After"...



I did not do anything at all to prep the exterior brick other than rinse it with a water hose to wet it as I went.  I also slightly changed by technique from the sun room and brushed the lime wash on in both directions to get a even solid coat on the brick and minimize the brush marks.  It was pretty time consuming.  It took me the better part of a four day stretch.  I also had to make one more trip back to Lowe's to pick up more hydrated lime.  Overall though, I think the project was a HUGE success.  My neighbors are constantly complimenting my work and wanting more information about how I lime washed the brick!

I am so in love with the way it turned out!  Of course it will be much prettier in the summer when the sun is shining and the grass is greener!



I also changed the trim color to Benjamin Moore desert twilight, which I thought was pretty close to the inspiration photo, despite the fact that it said it was Texas Leather, which I sampled, but it was more of a brown color.  We also added 12x12 slate tiles to the front porch, which were only $1.25 a square foot from Home depot (link here), and we updated the house numbers with these modern ones also from Home Depot.  We also switched out the porch light to this LED lantern.

Slate Front Porch


I know this is an extremely long post, but I really wanted to break down this process for anyone out there who might be considering lime washing, or even someone who wants white brick and is considering paint.  If you do try this I would LOVE to hear from you, and if you have any questions at all please pop them below in the comments section and I will do my best to answer them!



59 comments:

  1. Well worth the read! I also live in Dallas and am considering limewashing my drab one story fixer upper. The outside needs a ton of help and the budget all went inside. Wish me luck!

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    1. I totally get it! We fixed up the inside of our house and then I just felt like the exterior didn't match what was going on inside. I knew that hiring painters to paint the exterior was not in the budget, so I researched A LOT before I decided on limewashing. It was quite a bit of work, but well worth it in the end. Good Luck!

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  2. How many bags did you end up using? I have a house with salmon colored brick and when they rebuilt the fireplace they couldn't match it. Your results have inspired me. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. I used 2 bags, and that covered the entire exterior of my house, which is all brick, no siding. Good luck!

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  3. Turned out great! We have very similar houses and like yours, our inside is completely redone, but the outside looks salmon...y. Bought our limewash this week and wanted to start trying different recipes out. I've seen some mixtures that ask for salt, some with lineseed oil, and some with white concrete (if you were looking on pinterest I'm sure you stumbled across the same ones). What made you go with the salt one? How does it hold up in the rain? Hoping to get started next week! Thanks for posting this, made our decision to limewash much easier.

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    1. It has been fine in the rain, it is a little opaque when it gets wet, but quickly turns white when it dries.

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  4. Genius! I have to ask though, how is it holding up? Any touch ups? How does it look in the rain?

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    1. No touch ups yet! It turns opaque when we use the irrigation system, but quickly turns white again.

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  6. Your house looks great! How many coats did you do?

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    1. Thanks Morgan! I only had to do one coat.

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  7. Oh my, I love what you have done!!! I stumbled across your blog. I just may try it, but I'm going to continue to research more. At first, I wanted to paint. White brick was furthest from my mind. I was thinking dark. Seeing your pics may have changed my mind. I'm in Texas as well.

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    1. Hi Nikki! I love the look of dark brick, it is so dramatic and can instantly make a house look more modern! I only chose white because our house is tucked away on a cul de sac under a big shady oak, so I thought the white would make it pop. Best of luck.

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  8. Thank you so much for the detailed info. I had wanted to whitewash my brick a couple of years ago but it sounded so complicated. You made me reconsider and it seems really doable. I don't mind taking four days. I have a 1.5 story Cape Cod and really don't think the red brick works well. I'm slowly going to update the kitchen and bathrooms but after the whitewashing. You are an inspiration.

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    1. Thanks Ginger! It really is simple, more so than painting. I think the idea of making the product yourself instead of buying paint off the shelf can seem intimidating, but once you get the hang of the process it goes pretty quickly, and even though it took a few days, the end result was worth it.

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  9. Jenny, did you have to do multiple coats for this? If so, how many?

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    1. Hi Nick, I only did one coat, and it was not even a thick coat. When it first goes on it looks very opaque, but dries to a mostly solid white with the exception of a few black bricks that look slightly darker, but I love the variation in the finish.

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  10. Jenny, this is fabulous!! How often does the process need to be redone? Any upkeep? Thanks so much!!

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    1. I am interested in this answer too!!

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  11. Hello!
    I am debating between doing the lime wash or just painting.. the trouble is my trim, windows, siding, and garage are a tan that is almost an exact match to Nantucket Dune by SW. The limewash is it more white? I feel like I would love the brick showing through some but feel like it more not look good unless I can get a lime wash with more "tan" look. Any thoughts or suggestions?

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    1. Hi! Yes, you are right, the limewash is a bright white color. There is a company called Earth Pigments (earthpigments.com) that makes mineral powders that are specifically made to be added to a limewash mixture to tint it to a different color. When I did my house, the trim and garage were a yellowish tan color and it did not look good with the white brick, so I ended up repainting all of the trim to Benjamin Moore Desert Twilight (a dark greenish gray), so that is another option. I would definitely check out the earth pigments option though. It looks like they have a lot of color options, and limewash is better for the brick because it allows it to breathe.

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  12. Do you have to put the coat on when the brick is wet?

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  13. Hi Jenny, would a lime wash like this cover old drips of white paint on my brick? We just purchased a 1948 house that we are renovating and though the eaves/soffits are now wrapped, at some point in the house's history someone painted them and did a messy job getting paint on the brick in many locations. I'm thinking of lime washing after reading your blog and adding gray ocher pigment from the Earth Pigments website you recommended since we want a gray exterior. Thanks for your help!

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  14. Hi Jenny,

    Does lime-wash adversely affect caulking like around wood trim and windows?

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  15. Hi Jenny, Do you happen to have a distance photo similar to your before photo that shows your full house with the completed lime wash? I have a house very similar to this one that I am considering the lime wash and I am hoping to see a full before and after. Thanks ! PS- I just discovered your blog. Great info !

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    1. Do a Google Image search...plenty of examples there.

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  16. Definitely pinning this post for sure! I have been debating on limewashing my house for a year now, but thought it was much more difficult. This is giving me confidence. I noticed in a few other comments you said it becomes clearer in the rain and quickly dries -- I live in Florida and it rains HARD and A LOT (not to mention the humidity)! I am wondering if you know of any other recipes that hold up a bit better in the rain. Thank you so much!

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  17. I may just try this! Our 1965 ranch-style home is an UGLY purple-ish and maroon colored brick...I can't even describe it. I love our home, but I really hate this brick!

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  18. Wondering if it would be ok for my inside fireplace? Thoughts?

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  19. Yes, this would definitely work for an interior fireplace. I used it on the brick in my sunroom, and it turned out perfect, plus it is natural so there are no toxic paint fumes!

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  20. Another quick question:)
    Did you treat/clean the bricks before you limed them? Just water? Tsp? Our fireplace is rather dirty on the bottom because it was used a lot....

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  21. Do you happen to know if the limewash technique works for painted brick? My brick fireplace was painted a terrible tan color when we moved in, so I painted it a brick/reddish color. I'm loving the limewash look, but didn't know if it only reacted to natural brick?

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    1. Hi Malea! I am not sure how it would work on a previously painted brick, so I am not sure I would recommend it. However, the brick in my sunroom (see the photos above) did have some sort of shiny clear sealer on it, and the lime wash worked and has held up great, so it may work fine over paint as well.

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  22. Hi Jenny, How long ago did you do this and how is it holding up?

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    1. Hi Shirley!

      It has been almost two years now, and so far it has held up great. I would do it all over again in a heart beat!

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  23. How do you think lime wash would work for 1960's ugly yellow brick? We are ready to bite the bullet and paint white. But, I would do the lime wash in a heart beat if I thought it would look good over yellow brick? Any thoughts? Thanks.

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    1. Hi Susan! I think it would be great for any color of brick. My brick had so many different colors throughout including yellow and orange, and you really cannot see any hints of it through the lime wash. Good luck!

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  24. Currently tackling this project! I think I'm gonna need 2 coats! Your page is so inspiring, I love your style!

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    1. Hi Kourtney! Thank you so much! Did you finish your project? Did your house require more than one coat? I would love to hear an update on your results!

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    2. Jenny, we ended up having to do 2 coats to get the solid, "painted" look. It was a lot of work, but SO worth it! Especially for $8 a bag! Thanks for the inspo!

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  25. Hi Jenny,

    I love how your house exterior turned out and I thought I would give it a go myself, however, I can't seem to find the Type S hydrated lime, only the type N. I've gone to several Lowes in Dallas but they only have N, (even though their website shows S). I was wondering if you could tell me which Lowes you went to and I could call them to see if they actually have the type S. The closest store that I could find to me with type S is in Kansas. Maybe the drive wouldn't be too far in Texas???

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    1. HI! I am sure that the type N would work fine too, it is just essential that it is hydrated lime, and not the garden lime. I purchased mine at the Lowes at Inwood and Forest Lane. I think the package actually said something like "Austin White Lime" but it should be the same product sku and price as the link. If it is on the mortar and concrete aisle and says hydrated lime, then you are good to go!

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  26. I had the exact same problem. I called stores all over my state...not just Lowe's either. Finally a local cement company in my town actually was able to get the product for me. You will probably have to try different stores in Dallas, but it is out there somewhere! Good luck!:) It does work great and we have used it on our brick porch. It looks SO MUCH better!!!

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    1. Hi Lis! So glad to hear you were able to track down the product and that your project was successful! Thank you for sharing!

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  28. After researching what would happen with a hydrated lime and salt mixture, we decided to go an easier route. We used ROMABIO's Classico Limewash Paint on our house and the one coat process was very easy and we could get it any color we wanted. We did a slight washoff effect and it looks great!
    Stephanie

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    2. What did your research say could happen with a hydrated lime and salt mixture? I have been trying to look into this and it seems salt with brick can open it up to more water, and also stain it white of course. I am curious. Our house has a partial brick façade and so, so many recipes (even from ask a contractor sites) say to use salt.

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    3. I did a follow up and asked an expert and his reply was:
      "Salt is not bad for brick. Many brick contain sodium as part of their chemical makeup.

      Also, recall your high school chemistry and look up the mineralogy of clay. Clay is all that's used to make most brick." This made me feel much better. I will be moving forward with my project!

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    4. Hi K. Dawn! Yes, I did add salt too. I think it is in the instruction, but just not in the featured product links since I didn't get the salt from Lowes. I bought a couple of the big cylinders of the Great Value brand Iodized salt from Walmart and mixed in 1 cup of salt per gallon of hydrated lime, or in other words a 1:16 ratio of salt to lime. At the end when I needed just a little bit more of the mixture I just guessed on the amount of salt, so I really don't think it is an exact science, but I do think it is important to have that salt in there to have that chemical reaction. Also, be sure to wet the brick before you brush on the limewash. Good luck with your project!

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  29. Hi Jenny! I just did a lime wash to our brick house, but sadly it's not turning white but just a grey color, was your lime s white in color when you mixed it together? Or did it take a few days to turn white? Mine was grey when we mixed it.. I read several posts that said lime and water is all you really need, and it would turn white...Sadly mine looks like gray mortar -

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    1. Hi Maggie! NO, Mine was never grey! Was the hydrated lime powder itself grey? It should be a bright white, and also the mixture should look milky. I did use salt too, but I do not think that had any effect on the color. Are you going to try to do another coat? Maybe try a different brand or bag of lime if so, and try adding in the salt too. Best of luck. Keep me updated on how it turns out, please!

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  30. Hi Jenny,

    Great post! I was considering doing a lime wash on a commercial property that I purchased in the Bishop Arts area in Dallas and stumbled across your post. Your house looks great and I think you've sold me on the lime wash. Just the look I'm going for.

    Many thanks,

    Alan

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    1. That is awesome Alan! I love the Bishop Arts District. Best of luck with your project!

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  31. LOVE THIS! I'm wondering if you did anything to prep the interior brick? Getting ready to do this to my fireplace wall soon!

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    1. I did wipe the brick off with just water to clean any dust off, but that is all. I am planning on helping a friend with her fireplace, so I will try to add that to the post as a new update soon!

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