A Limewashed Facelift for my Exterior
I have researched the web high and low to find the best solutions for altering my exterior brick. My husband for the last 28 years has loved the brick and finally is letting me change it. I debated between a slurried brick finish (mortar troweled or brushed a top of the brick), a painted brick or a lime washed surface. I finally decided to go with the lime wash.
Lime washing can be done many different ways. It can be applied to give full coverage over the brick or you can let some of the brick show through. It can also be used as a transparent wash where the brick is toned to a different color but you still see an even variation in the bricks tones rather than chips of the true color to show through like above! It is important to decide this up front before you begin, rather than test all different options on your home like I did!!!!
The first true paint was made from lime and protected ancient monuments, and it still protects European cathedrals and museums. As lime paints age, they develop unique patterns and shadings that bring out color in the embedded lime. Time also leaches out white lime, lending a sun-bleached look.
Lime wash covers bricks with a coating that absorbs into the masonry without trapping moisture. It’s made of natural, nontoxic ingredients and it even has a fungicidal effect. The crystals that form on the exterior cling to the bricks and concrete for a protective finish that is porous to vapors, but resists stains. Owners of historic buildings apply lime wash to bricks for a natural, aged appearance.
The aesthetic changes in the lime wash come from ongoing carbonation as lime reacts with atmospheric carbon dioxide and starts to become limestone again. Crystals within lime adhere tightly to the surface, creating lasting coverage, but they also refract light for a unique depth of color. With patience and care, you can paint like the ancients — and enjoy the same enduring results.
The beginning of my home’s transformation! We bought our lime wash though Roma, a company in Atlanta. They will tint it for you with all natural ingredients, which is a wonderful option. We had some un-tinted stock and had a gap in our schedule so we tinted it ourselves. If you go in this direction make sure there is enough mixed for the entire job to insure the colors are the same.
It is very important to clean the surface well before you start—we power washed the brick. It’s best to apply in temperatures from 46-86 degrees. I have to hurry temps are rising here!!!
We thinned the product by 50% and have tried many different application methods, a few include brushing and using a no nap small roller. Both lent different outcomes. In all my internet research I also happened across a recommendation to apply in a crosshatch pattern, I will try that today! The instructions for the cross hatch say to first brush the paint vertically then horizontally and then vertically again. Use an even stroke and apply steady pressure.
I have found that when using a light color lime wash you have the perfect variation in tones when you are doing the application, but hours later the surface becomes much whiter and the overall variation changes, giving you a more solid look. We are attempting to power wash off some of the surface since it is fresh to get back some of the variation.
I did read that you could add extra color depth, by applying a small amount of darker paint as a shadow around the edges of the wall and paint in lighter areas elsewhere.
I will let you know how it turns out! I do think I like the lime washes tinted a bit darker, my husband likes bright white so we compromised on a soft white. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Whoever said doing your own home is easy?
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