= Limewash: Pros and Cons of Popular Brick Exterior Treatments =

Do you have visibly aging brick? Are you considering a new exterior on your brick home, but not sure how to change the color or appearance of your brick?
Although brick is one of the oldest and most stable building materials, it doesn’t always age well

Bricks that are chipped or worn around the edges aren’t the look everyone is going for. There is also the genuine problem of dated brick facades for many homeowners

How do you give your house an update that doesn’t cost many thousands of dollars in this situation?
In two previous posts, we weighed the pros and cons of painting your brick exterior. We also introduced another technique for brick walls called German Smear, or mortar wash

Mortar wash is a permanent treatment that changes the texture of your brick exterior, and it’s affordable and DIY friendly

However, there are two other options you could use to create a similar look to German smear: limewash and whitewash

So, today, let’s take a close look at limewash: what it is, how great it is for your bricks, and how easy it is to use

== Limewash is Ancient & Eco-Friendly ==
Limewash has been around for as long as porous building materials like brick and stone. The ancient Egyptians used it on their pyramids

Limewash is a thin coating with a consistency similar to paint, but it couldn’t be more different

For one thing, limewash is natural. It is made out of limestone that has been crushed, burned, and made into a putty with water

The putty isfurther thinned, and then mixed with natural pigments if a color other thanis desired

This type of natural paint is a favorite of Belgians and other Europeans for use on their interior stone walls as it is anti-microbial, improves air quality, and is free of solvents that harm the environment

Limewash creates a chalky, mottled finish that adds depth and beauty to any wall it is applied to

Historically, limewash has been used only on porous surfaces, because it doesn’t sit on top of the surface, but sinks in

However, with the right bonding primer, modern limewash paint can be used on your drywall interior walls

== Limewash is Versatile ==
Limewash is especially helpful for homeowners who dislike the color of their brick, but not necessarily the texture

Because it will sink in, it doesn’t change the texture of your brick. This is good news for the brick since they need to breathe, and paint isn’t always the best option

Limewash helps to protect your bricks and mortar from the elements. It comes in a range of earth-tone colors. However, the range is a bit limited

Since lime is highly alkaline, the pigments have to be able to resist the high alkali. Grays, browns, and taupes are the normal range of colors for limewash paint

You can also create an antiqued effect similar to mortar wash using limewash paint, simply by wiping the paint off of select bricks as you work

Limewash is easy to apply with a large masonry brush, and it’s opaque so you can control the depth of color with the number of layers of paint you choose to apply

In addition, limewash will fade over time, so it needs to be re-applied, but it won’t chip and flake like paint

== Limewash is Inexpensive & DIY Friendly ==
Just like its companion mortar wash, limewash is one of the cheapest materials you could find to cover your entire home exterior

You can mix your own limewash using lime putty from hydrated lime. You can find this at a hardware store for $3-$5 for a 50 lb. bag

Even if you order a bag online, it is less expensive than a bucket of paint at around $40 for a bag. With this much limewash and some supplies, you could coat an entire 1600 square foot house

== Downsides to Limewash ==
The limited range of colors is one downside, as is limewash’s opacity if you want the job to be done in one step

The other downside is that it can be tricky to match the consistency of limewash batch to batch if you are mixing your own. This difference can result in a noticeable line on your wall or house

The best way to solve this problem is to mix more than you think you will need in a large, sturdycan and save the extra with a tarp, and a lid snapped on tight

== Pros of Limewash on Your Brick Exterior ==
- Natural & Eco-friendly
- Protects your exterior bricks and mortar from the elements
- Hypoallergenic & air-cleaning on interior bricks & walls
- Creates a beautiful, antique-looking depth of finish on any surface
- Sinks into the surface so it doesn’t chip or peel
- Won’t change the texture of your brick
- Cheap and easy to apply
- You can wash it off if you don’t like it
== Cons of Limewash on Your Brick Exterior ==
- Creates an uneven finish when dry that can rub off on clothing
- Difficult to control the consistency of appearance
- Fades over time and has to be re-applied
- Labor-intensive; needs many coats to be a solid color
- Won’t change the texture of your brick
- Dries much lighter than it goes on, challenging to gauge as you apply
- Comes in a limited range of earth-tones and off
- Can’t be applied over painted brick
 Bringing it Home 
Limewash is one of the oldest and most exciting coatings you can consider for the exterior of your home if you have brick walls you would like to change. It is cost effective and easy to apply and to work with. It can be washed off if you don’t like the effect, and it’s incredibly Eco-friendly

If you have a house with brick siding that you would like to change,