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Limewash vs Whitewash Brick: Is It Better to Whitewash or Limewash Brick?

There’s a lot to be said for the use of brick as exterior walls on a home, or even a wall encompassing a property. Brick is known to last for decades with few signs of wear. It’s also easy to keep clean, and requires little in the way of maintenance. Other than damage caused by some sort of major storm, it’s been a great choice in terms of appearance and function. 

While you’ve enjoyed the look of the brick exterior for a long time, a change would be nice. Rather than covering the brick with siding or using some sort of exterior paint, the idea of whitewashing or limewashing the surface seems appealing. The question is which option would be best. Here’s some information that will help you decide whether whitewashing or limewashing would work best in your case. 

What is Whitewashing?

Whitewashing refers to the action of coating a surface with a product known as whitewash. One of the traditional forms of creating whitewash involves the use of chalk calcium carbonate as the base ingredient. This ingredient is sometimes referred to as whiting. 

Water is mixed with the whiting to make it possible to spread the product with ease. Some formulas for whitewash will include other ingredients that are intended to stabilize the product and make it more resistant to different weather conditions. 

The whitewash is applied to a wall in the same manner as paint. You may use a brush or a roller to do the job. As with paint, it’s possible to apply an even coat to the surface, and it may require more than one coat. Depending on the type of paint sprayer that you have on hand, it’s also possible to apply the coats using this device. Typically, using a small airless unit is recommended. 

What is Limewashing?

Limewashing follows the same basic principle. The product is made by mixing measured amounts of water and lime together. It’s then applied to the surface in one or more coats. To apply the limewash, you would use a brush or a roller. There’s also the option of using a paint sprayer to manage the application. As with whitewash, be mindful of the type of sprayer that you use. 

While limewashing works well on bricks, it’s also handy for a number of other purposes. You can apply it to metal roofs as a way to help keep the home cooler during warm weather. It’s also good for applying to tree trunks if you want to keep certain types of pests at bay. It’s also said to be good for nourishing the soil that’s close to anything that you choose to paint outdoors. 

Why Whitewash or Limewash Brick?

One of the perks of brick walls is that you don’t have to do much with them, other than hose it down once in a while. There’s no painting involved, so there’s nothing to crackle or chip as time goes on. With that in mind, why would you want to whitewash or limewash brick in the first place?

Updating the look of the brick is one of the primary reasons for using either approach. While brick is practical and is sure to last for a long time, it’s possible to get tired of the appearance as the years pass. Whitewashing or limewashing offers the chance to subtly change the look. 

Owners of newer homes who want to give the place more of a vintage look will find these methods are helpful. They do have a way of helping to give the home an appearance that allows it to seem like the house has been there longer. 

These approaches can also help mask the slight signs of wear that appear on brick walls as the years pass. Depending on how many coats are used, the result can look slightly weathered, while hiding any flaws that are now present on the brick. In particular, limewashing helps to add an aged look, and will cover up any imperfections that have developed on the brick surface. 

Which Option is Best For Adding Color?

Most people think of limewash as coming only in white. Actually, you can find it in brown, gray, or white. That provides some choices when it comes to altering the look of your brick. If you go with these three, there’s no need to add anything else for color. 

What you may not know is that it’s possible to add pigment to the white limewash and create some subtle color. The pigments needed to mix in with the limewash can be found at any paint supply store. A professional can provide some ideas of what to add in order to achieve the shade that you have in mind. 

When it comes to whitewash, you can also add pigment and achieve the color that you want. Some find that they have a wider range of color choices if they go with whitewash. If you’re trying to achieve a custom color, using this method rather than tinting limewash may be your best bet. 

Keep in mind that the results of adding color to whitewash will more closely mimic any paint sample you’re using as a guide. Adding color to limewash may or may not achieve the same shade. 

What About Texture?

If you’re looking for texture, you may want to consider limewash as a choice over whitewash. That’s because the mixture does create a surface that is rougher than what you would get with the other option. This subtle difference will add something to the brick that would be hard to achieve otherwise. That’s true both in appearance and in the way the surface feels. 

When the goal is to change the color while keeping a smooth surface, then whitewash is the way to go. It will provide much the same texture as using paint, but without all of the trouble that goes with painting over brick. 

How Long Will the Appearance Last?

Both approaches will have to be repeated in the years to come. The good news is that both of of them do tend to last for a long time. One of the differences between the two is how long you can expect the washes to hold up before it’s time for what’s known as a renewal coat. 

With limewash, there’s a good chance that it will last somewhere between five to seven years. Since the coat should dry slowly for the best results, choosing to apply it on overcast days is a good idea. 

You’ll find that choosing to whitewash brick Denver produces longer lasting results. Depending on the weather conditions, you will be able to get at least a decade of use before a new coat is needed. In some climates, the results of the initial wash will last somewhere between two and three decades. 

Caring for Whitewashed or Limewashed Brick

How do you take care of brick that has been whitewashed or limewashed? While the brick will need some attention, it’s not as complicated as some people may think. Best of all, the care is something that the average homeowner can manage with ease. 

Cleaning brick that’s been limewashed involves nothing more than a damp cloth. That will do nicely to get rid of any substance that may collect on the wall. If the brick is on the exterior, you can also use a hose to rinse down the surface. In general, you can get dirt and other common elements off the limewashed surface without leaving any marks. 

The process for cleaning whitewashed brick may also involve nothing more than a damp cloth. For more stubborn areas, combine a couple of tablespoons of Borax with four cups of hot water. That mixture can be applied using a spray bottle. Allow it to set for a moment, and then wipe with a cloth, or use a brush with soft bristles to loosen the grime. 

Who Should Do The Work?

Whether you decide to go with whitewashing or limewashing, it’s a good idea to leave the job in the hands of professionals. You’ll find that contractors with the better exterior house painting services Denver CO know all about both techniques. They can assess the current condition of the brick, and provide additional insights into which option would work best. 

You can also depend on a professional to know how to mix the ingredients in proper proportion, what it would take to add the right amount and type of pigment, and even what methods for application would work best in your case. The result is that the work can be done more efficiently, take less time, and produce the effect that you have in mind. 

If you’re ready to make a change to the way your exterior brick looks, call today. Once a contractor evaluates the brick, it won’t take long to come up with the most practical way to proceed. Along with getting a quote that addresses everything, you will also have the comfort of knowing the work comes with the same guarantee as all the other work done by those local residential exterior painting services Denver CO.