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All About Limewash

limewashed wall

Limewash is a hot topic right now. It is also known as whitewash, lime paint, or whiting. It’s made by mixing slaked lime in water. We love it as an alternative to paint that is natural, mineral based, and non toxic. Let’s get into how to use it and what sort of finishes are possible.

Surfaces

You can paint most porous surfaces with a limewash. That means things like brick, plaster, stucco, stone, and rough cut wood can be limewashed, with the right materials and technique.

History

Traditionally, people used limewash as a protective and decorative coating because it is fire retardant, antiseptic, antifungal, odorless and doesn’t cause allergies. Unlike latex paints, moisture can pass through a limewashed wall, allowing trapped water vapor to escape. This is good for the longevity of brick and wood buildings. Limewash was historically used to cool buildings by painting it on roofs, since its natural un-pigmented color is a bright, reflective white. It is also known to repel mosquitoes and protect tree trunks from insects.

Modern Use

Limewash is making a resurgence as a non-toxic alternative to other paints. Because of its matte appearance, limewash provides a soft and subtle backdrop for almost any design aesthetic. Leaving some brush strokes as the wall dries gives it a rougher and varied texture. Alternately, a flatter look can be achieved by applying it wet. A skilled tradesperson can create nuanced surfaces by layering multiple coats of limewash and using mineral pigments to embed different hues into the mix.

The limewash absorbs into the surface of the material it is used on, making it very durable. It also still retains the luminosity and refractive properties of lime, brightening a space and proving depth.

Limewashed brick windowsills on a frescoed lime plaster wall.
Limewash in Morocco with patina.

Contact us today if limewashed walls are something you are thinking about installing in your home, office, studio, retail store, or restaurant.