Answers to Common Questions About Limewash Paint: What's In It, Why It's Great, and Where To Use It
What is Bauwerk Limewash paint...and how is it different from conventional paint?
Limewash paint and conventional paint will both colour your walls, but that’s where the similarities end. Our paint is made from entirely different materials–renewable resources such as clay, minerals, and beautiful natural pigment–through a natural process. The results and benefits are therefore very different.
Not all limewash paints are created equal. We are passionate about what we make, and we believe what we leave out of our limewash is important as what we put in.
Our Natural Materials & Process
Limewash is made from calcium carbonate – a naturally occurring mineral found in limestone and sea shells. The limestone is burnt, and then made into a putty by slaking it in water over many months, before being aged for years. Once properly aged, water is used to dilute the putty to create limewash. Natural earth pigments are later added to create an endless array of colours. Though seemingly simple – it requires a lot of knowledge. Like wine making, it requires years of experience and an innate feeling for the process.
Bauwerk colours are made using natural pigments, sourced from all over the world. We do not use tinting machines or industrial processes to create our colours, rather we draw on our years of experience and eye for colour creation. Our colours refract light differently than other paints, due to the crystalline nature of our base mineral, limestone. This makes our colours glow and look like no other paint.
Many paints are labelled low VOC but this doesn’t mean they are free from harmful chemicals. Many of the additives in water-based paints contain toxic biocides to stop mould in the can. Because our paint is completely free from VOCs, biocides, formaldehyde and forever chemicals, it’s also free from dangerous off-gassing and fumes.
When you paint with limewash you’re actually applying a thin layer of limestone to your wall. Unlike a conventional paint that creates a film on top of the surface, limewash paint absorbs into the surface. This means our paint is not prone to blistering or peeling, even in high-humidity environments or when used outside. Moisture can escape freely and your walls will keep ‘breathing’.
As the limewash paint is applied to your walls and dries, it reacts with the air turning liquid back to stone. During this reaction, the paint carbonises, which means it absorbs carbon from the air just like a tree does. The prime carbonising occurs within the first 2 weeks after application, but it will continue over the life cycle of the building.
Limewash’s mineral base is naturally antibacterial, making it great for use for those with allergies. It’s also completely inflammable, making it a great choice in fire-affected areas and for use in and around chimneys.
Low VOC means you can paint without fumes and headaches. You can paint and sleep in your room the same day, even if you suffer from asthma or a chemical sensitivity.
Can I use limewash if I have allergies?
BAUWERK lime wash paints, including the pigments, are completely VOC free. They do not contain biocides, formaldehydes, fungicides or other health damaging substances.
Also all of our paints are pure water based paints, free of solvents, free from ‘forever chemicals’, such as PFAS and artificial nano-particles.
Made from minerals, our limewash is naturally antibacterial, making it great for use by those with allergies.
Methylisothiazolinone is used as a biocide in products such as cosmetics, wet towels, shampoos and also in conventional paints to prevent them from developing bacteria or fungal growth. In the case of conventional paints they are a problem as they off-gas for many months after they have been used to renovate a room.
Bauwerk Colour lime wash paints are completely free from biocides of any type, including Methylisothiazolinone.
Cadmium is a heavy metal and is present in a number of pigments used to create vibrant colours, such as a fire engine red or a Canary yellow.
BAUWERK Colour does not offer such shades of colour based on Cadmium containing pigments as we do not want to handle such pigments, nor do we believe they should be or need to be introduced into our homes, offices and interior spaces.
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), known as “forever chemicals”
We do not add, nor promote the use of PFAS chemicals either as a ingredient of our lime wash paints, nor as finishing sealers.
This group of synthetic chemicals are used to prevent corrosion, reduce friction and make products waterproof and stain-resistant. PFAS also show up in paint and sealants.
PFAS’ incredibly strong carbon-flourine bonds mean these chemicals do not biodegrade. Renovations will not last for ever but PFAS persist and accumulate in soil, water, air, wildlife and our bodies. PFAS have been found in human breast milk and the blood of 97% of Americans. Exposure to some PFAS has been linked to fertility problems, changes in metabolism, and an increased risk of obesity and cancer – yet so much still remains unknown about their long-term consequences. The substances can take thousands of years or longer to degrade, and their health costs are estimated at €52-84bn (£45-73bn) a year.
Eroded by the elements or dumped down drains, PFAS end up in the water system. Once there, remediation – removing the pollution – is impossible. Water-treatment plants can use activated carbon to filter out some, but not all, PFAS and other contaminants, but it is expensive and requires high-temperature incineration. Most of the chemicals from that silky smooth painted wall or rust-free railing ultimately end up in the ocean.
Further information can be found here:
And here is a guide on how to avoid PFAS:
Artificial Nano Particles
Artificial Nano Particles are being praised as some of the new paint ingredients as making the paint application process so much easier. However, that convenience is marginal and up until now it is not clear, how such particles can affect human health. The particles are so small that they easily can pass through any cell membrane of the human body. The effects on that are still being studied, but risks include a change on the human DNA structure.
We believe such risks are completely avoidable and would therefore never include such substances into our lime wash paint.
Paint for people with MCS/CIRS syndrome. (Multiple chemical sensitive & chronic inflammatory response syndrome)
We can supply paint that is suitable for people suffering a multiple chemical sensitivity & chronic inflammatory response syndrome.
The ingredients list would only include:
- pure calcium hydroxide
- natural clay
- mineral pigment (heavy metal free, only earthen pigments)
The paint supplied would be 100% solvent and VOC free.
Only water vapour in the drying process would be released into the room.
If you suffer from MCS/CIRS syndrome and would like to paint your home please contact us and we will assist you.
What is the SD-Value (SD-rating) of BAUWERK Colour lime was paint?
Bauwerk lime wash paints have an SD value of 0,011 to 0,013. They belong to the top of the range of paints in terms of permeability.
A truly breathable paint should have an SD Value ranging from 0.01 to 0.05. This equates to moisture having to travel 1cm to 5cm to pass through the paint, meaning it has very little resistance and can pass freely without being slowed or stopped. Conventional masonry paints will likely have an SD Value of 1 or above. This equates to moisture having to travel through the equivalent of 1 metre of air to escape.
My walls are already painted with conventional paint, can I use limewash?
Yes, as long as the existing paint layer is in good condition, without flaking, and is clean from dirt, dust, grease, and soluble salts. All you need to do is prepare your wall to establish the right conditions for the limewash paint to absorb properly, ensuring an even and long-lasting finish. This typically means 2 coats of an undercoat-sealer/primer, and a coat of Bauwerk Prep Coat on interior walls, prior to painting. For more advice, check out our handy Prep Coat guide on the ‘How-To Limewash Guide’.
Other things to note:
- Gloss or semi-gloss walls should be sandpapered.
- If there are different substrates (materials) in your wall, you may see a slight variation in the colour or ‘ghosting’. It is important to understand that Bauwerk Limewash and Prep Coat will not mask what is on your wall, it allows all the history and the materials of the wall to come through. For a uniform finish we recommend sealing the wall with 2 coats of a water-based undercoat-sealer/primer, followed by 1 coat of Bauwerk Prep Coat on interior walls.
- You can also apply limewash to lining wallpaper, simply apply 1 coat of Bauwerk Prep Coat prior to limewashing.
Can I paint over Bauwerk Limewash paint?
Redecorating with Bauwerk Limewash Paint is easy–no need to strip the existing coat. A quick application of 1 or 2 coats serves as a simple refresher or an opportunity to change colours. In fact, it is one of the easiest ways to give your space a makeover. With each application your walls will become healthier and more beautiful.
If you wish to repaint your wall in a different colour, you can apply the new colour directly onto the previous coat, unless you have patched or repaired it (see Preparation Information). If you are painting a very light colour over a dark colour this will require some extra coverage. You can either choose to paint additional coats of limewash paint, or apply our Prep Coat to return to a light base before painting your new colour. It is possible to paint over our limewash paint with conventional paints – check your paint manufacturer’s instructions.
Can I use Limewash on wood?
Wood paint is a specially designed product, often using an oil base, to create a durable product suited is able to withstand substantial wear and tear from knocks and scuffs. Limewash paint isn't meant for surfaces that get a lot of physical contact, like doors and trims. For this reason, we don’t recommend Bauwerk Limewash for architectural wood such as doors and trims but it can be used on decorative surfaces with less wear, such as ply and pine wall panelling.
If you still want to use limewash paint on wood, do so at your discretion and be aware there may be marks or more frequent maintenance required. We don't recommend using lime wash paint in small confined places where you come into frequent contact with the walls, such as a camper van or a confined space in a boat, although it has been done!
There may be instances where a sealant is necessary or you just prefer to seal the finish in a confined space. In this case please choose a water-based sealer that dries completely flat and invisible. Give it a test in a small area first—some sealers can make the paint look a bit darker or lighter than without.
Is limewash suitable for chimneys or a fireplace surround?
Limewash is completely non-inflammable, making it a great choice in fire-affected areas, and for use in and around chimneys and fireplaces.
Can I use limewash paint in my bathroom?
Just like conventional paints, Bauwerk Limewash Paint can be used on the walls and ceilings of bathrooms, achieving beautiful results.
Our paint is not just suitable for high-humidity environments, it thrives in these demanding conditions. Bauwerk Limewash offers several benefits compared to other finishing products. With the absence of plastics and harmful chemicals, our limewash paint is non-film-forming, which means it doesn’t blister or peel, even in steamy environments. It is naturally anti-bacterial and will resist mould, and is also water resistant (although not waterproof).
Limewash paint is absorbent, allowing for the evaporation of moisture. This also means that it can absorb materials that leave a mark, such as toothpaste and soap. It is for this reason that we do not recommend limewashed surfaces in the shower area or directly adjacent to the bath. Splashbacks are recommended behind basin areas and splash zones to minimise marks.
While top-coat protective sealers prevent absorption, we don’t recommend them as they negate the breathable, environmentally friendly benefits of limewash. They also make repainting more difficult. Choosing areas to limewash depends on your lifestyle, usage, and maintenance preferences. Two approaches are common: opt for splashbacks like tiles in high-impact zones for easy cleaning, or embrace a casual, lived-in look with occasional touchups.
Can I use Bauwerk Limewash Paint in my Kitchen?
Yes, Bauwerk Limewash Paint is used in kitchens all over the world. You can limewash all walls and ceilings, except where it may come in contact with fat/oil/grease (for instance, behind the stove) as this may discolour the paint.
Limewash paint is absorbent which means that it can absorb substances that leave a mark. We do not recommend the use of top-coat protective sealers over limewash as these products introduce more chemicals into the home and make repainting more difficult. Instead, you can use a sheet of glass behind the stove as an unobtrusive way of protecting that area, while still allowing for redecoration when needed. Alternatively, you can use a stone or tile splashback in splash zones or embrace a casual, lived-in look with occasional touchups.
I've stirred my limewash, but it looks thin. Why doesn't it look like other paint?
Our paint is thinner than conventional paint because it does not contain plastics. Additionally, limewash performs best when applied in a thin consistency as it makes it easier to apply while enabling absorption into the surface.
Do I really need to use a Bauwerk Limewash Brush when painting with limewash?
Yes, it is really important to use a Bauwerk Limewash Brush as they are specially designed to apply limewash correctly. The brush fibres are sourced for use with lime paint application. The unique bristle structure retains the correct amount of paint and releases it evenly across the surface during painting.
Our Limewash Block Brushes are perfect for application over all wall surfaces, rough or smooth. Our brushes are available in a variety of sizes depending on what you’re painting:
My leftover limewash looks thicker than when I last used it. Can I add water to it?
Leftover paint should be stored in an airtight container. We do not recommend adjusting the consistency of Bauwerk Limewash Paint in any way. If your paint has a film of water on the top and can still easily be stirred it should be fine to use. If you need some advice, send us a picture via email.
Southern Hemisphere please contact: [email protected]
EU, UK, North America, Asia & Middle East please contact: [email protected]
How do I clean surfaces that have been limewashed?
To clean limewashed walls we recommend lightly wiping with a clean, damp cloth. Ensure that you do not scrub, use excessive water or use any soaps on the limewash, as this will damage the surface.
Do not clean your limewashed wall too soon after painting. Our paints become more durable after they have cured and hardened on the surface. Allow up to 2 weeks for your walls to properly cure.
How durable is Bauwerk Limewash Paint?
Our limewash is a beautiful, natural paint choice, found in new and historic buildings all over the world.
We are proud of the natural qualities of our paints. Unlike many paint companies that promise a perfect and long-lasting finish by incorporating harmful PFAS, also known as forever chemicals, we remain committed to an environmentally friendly approach.
When painting Bauwerk Limewash Paint over porous materials such as render or brick, our paints are exceptionally durable because they are absorbed into the wall surface. However, if you are painting over sealed or previously painted walls it is essential to know that limewash isn’t as indestructible as more conventional, non-natural paints.
To improve durability and simplify application over sealed or previously painted interior walls, we have developed Bauwerk Prep Coat. Acting as an absorbent layer, Prep Coat facilitates limewash adhesion and can be applied easily by brush, roller or sprayer.
Like all surfaces subject to wear and tear, over time your limewashed walls may require maintenance. To maintain your walls we recommend simply applying a light refresher coat of limewash. It is quick, easy and makes your walls more beautiful and durable with every layer.
How long will Bauwerk limewash last in comparison to other paints?
You can expect a similar life expectancy to that of other quality brand paints, provided that the paint is applied in the manner recommended by Bauwerk.
The pigments used in our limewash paints are mineral based, colourfast and UV stable. This means that our colours are not affected by the sun’s Ultra Violet rays (which can cause paints to fade). Our paints have been fully tested in the extreme temperatures of Australia and the Middle East.
What materials can you apply limewash paint to?
Bauwerk Limewash Paint is perfect for walls and ceilings in modern and historic buildings on the following materials:
- Lime Render
- Cement Render
- Cement Block
- Mud Brick
- Raw Pine
- Rammed Earth
- Adobe Blocks
What are the benefits of Bauwerk Limewash Paint?
- Natural Composition: Made from minerals and pigments
- Easy Application
- Soft and Chalky Appearance
- Breathable: The paint is permeable, allowing walls to breathe, preventing moisture from being trapped.
- Long-Lasting: It does not blister or peel, making redecoration easy.
- Improved Micro-Climate: The paint’s humidity-regulating properties contribute to a healthier environment, particularly for individuals with allergies or chemical sensitivity.
- Natural Antibacterial Properties
- No Electro-Static Charge
- Masonry Protection: It strengthens and safeguards masonry surfaces by maintaining alkaline levels.
- Green Star Compliant: It meets the highest environmental standards and achieves maximum product scores.
- Environmentally Friendly: Manufactured using 100% green power, with a minimal environmental footprint.
How long does it take for limewash paint to dry?
Allow 1–2 hours for each coat of Bauwerk limewash to dry, longer in colder weather.
While the paint will be touch-dry in a short period, it will continue to cure for about two weeks. Avoid rubbing the walls during this time to prevent marking.
Do not paint if the surface and/or air temperature falls below 5°C (41°F) during application or curing.
What kind of weather do you need when applying limewash paint outside?
The ideal temperature for applying Bauwerk Limewash is 8°–30°C (46°F–86°F).
Do not paint if the surface and/or air temperature falls below 5°C (41°F) during application or curing.
High quality, natural limewash needs adequate curing time. This will be longer in colder weather and in humid conditions. Where surfaces are exposed to rain, make sure the weather is going to be clear for three days following application.
How do maintain a limewashed surface?
Brush back any powdery areas and do a quick reapplication of limewash straight over previously painted layers…the surface just gets better with age.
‘White’ Paint Colours
Our lightest colours can be applied, and reapplied, without the need to maintain a wet edge. Areas can be recoated at any time, without the visibility of a patch.
All Other Colours
Generally, anything other than our very lightest shades should be applied from a natural start to end point (like a corner to a corner), maintaining a wet edge to prevent visible lines.