Before And After: How to Limewash A Brick House
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Before And After: How to Limewash A Brick House

Jun 02, 2024

Wanting to update the textured brick on her holiday home on the NSW South Coast, Lisa Purvis came up with the perfect solution after scrolling through Pinterest.

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"I've always wanted our holiday home on the NSW South Coast to have a more beachy vibe. We holiday-let the property, and I'm always dreaming up my next project," she says.

Better Homes and Gardens Online caught up with Lisa to learn how she limewashed her whole house for less than $50 – and why it’s a good idea.

Before the limewashing.

“My holiday house was built in the early '70s and had a rough, textured yellow brick. I tried to get quotes for cladding, but builders talked me out of it, saying it is too expensive and too fiddly to clad around windows over brick.

“I also had painters out, and they also said that painting over the brick isn't a great idea as bricks are porous and need to be able to breathe, and paint sticks to the surface, which can cause mould to build up behind the paint, which can also lead to paint chipping off down the track.”

“Being a holiday home, I needed a low-maintenance solution. After days and days of scrolling through Pinterest, I came across the limewashing process and decided to give it a go.”

After the limewashing.

Before starting, Lisa says to cover up completely. "Wear a mask, goggles and gloves for this task, as the limewash can affect your skin."

“I covered the recently installed windows with plastic and builder's tape and laid some drop sheets to protect the pavers and gardens,” Lisa says.

Next she mixed her limewash.

“I mixed 50 per cent water with 50 per cent hydrated limewash in a large bucket,” she says.

"I sprayed the brick with water, then applied the limewash in a swishing motion to cover all the mortar. I made sure I covered all the bricks as much as possible because I wanted full coverage.

“It's best to put the limewash on as a milky watery solution rather than making up a thick render type mixed, as this makes it hard to adhere to the bricks and ends up cracking.

"If appropriately applied, one coat is enough on these light-coloured bricks.”

"The whole process took about three days in total which I split over three weekends because it’s pretty tiring."

Limewash being applied to the brick house.

“My bricks are rough, so I applied the limewash with a Masonry brush from Bunnings, using a swishing motion from side to side, ensuring the wash covered the mortar between the bricks and into the grooves on the bricks," says Lisa.

Limewash is a type of paint that is made from slaked lime (calcium hydroxide) and water. Limewash has been used for centuries as a decorative and protective building coating.

Limewash and paint are two different options for coating and colouring brick surfaces. Here are some key differences between limewash and paint:

Appearance: Limewash creates a distinct, soft, and matte finish, giving a more natural, aged look. On the other hand, paint provides a uniform, opaque finish that completely covers the brick's texture and colour.

Breathability: Limewash is highly breathable, allowing moisture to evaporate through the brick. This helps prevent moisture buildup and allows the brick to "breathe." Paint is less breathable and can potentially trap moisture within the brick, which may lead to issues such as peeling or mould growth.

Durability: Paint generally offers better durability and protection against weathering, UV rays, and physical wear than limewash.

Maintenance: Limewash requires more frequent maintenance compared to paint. It naturally weathers and fades over time, so periodic touch-ups or reapplications may be necessary to maintain the desired appearance.

Reversibility: Limewash is more reversible than paint.

On average, you can expect limewash to last around 5 to 10 years, but it's important to monitor its condition regularly. Signs that limewash may need to be reapplied include fading, cracking, flaking, or significant discolouration.

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WATCH: Adam Dovil's top tips for painting a brick facadeWhat motivated you to choose limewashing to enhance the appearance of your house bricks?What materials and tools did you use for the limewashing project?Talk us through the process, including how you prepped the bricks and your application technique, and how many coats of lime wash you applied. How long did it take?Did you encounter any challenges or difficulties during the lime-washing process?FAQLimewash verse paint on brick?Appearance:Breathability:Durability:Maintenance:Reversibility:How long does limewash last?You might also like: