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Lime Paint over Brick or Block Work

Brick Surface Guide

How to apply limewash to brickwork

This is the right guide for you if you want to learn how to:

  • limewash a standard brick surface made of clay or cement
  • prepare your brickwork before painting
  • apply limewash paint
  • control paint opacity to create a 'whitewashed' look
Whitewash + Hoar Frost over brick | @Loft208
Whitewash + Hoar Frost over brick | @Loft208
Supply Checklist
For this project you'll need...
4 x 14 Limewash Brush
Limewash Paint
Spray bottle with Clean Water
Clean Cotton Cloth
Prep Coat + Primer (if needed)
01 Planning + Preparation

During construction or renovation, it is advisable to schedule Bauwerk painting as the final trade to prevent damage to the final finish caused by other trades or building equipment.

Limewash paint consumption on clay, cement brick/block, or adobe is approximately 0.15 liters per m2 per coat, but variations may occur due to wall texture and structure. For full coverage, plan to apply a minimum of two coats of limewash.

Unpainted Surfaces

No undercoat is required. However, if your walls have an inconsistent finish, we recommend preparing your internal walls with 2 coats of a water-based undercoat-sealer/primer and 1 coat of Bauwerk Prep Coat. This will create a more even finish to your limewash.

Previously Painted Surfaces

Sand well to remove any gloss level. 

Whitewash + Hoar Frost over brick | @Loft208
02 Clean and Repair

Clean surface
Remove dirt, mold, or moss from bricks. Use a high-pressure water cleaner where applicable, brush away loose particles and dust, and allow the surface to dry.

Surface Repairs (where necessary)

Your brick doesn't need to be pristine before limewashing. Small imperfections in your surface will either add character or be less noticeable after limewashing. However, if you are doing a full restoration or renovation and need to repair deep holes and cracks, contact us for repair considerations you can supply to your builder.

Green Bauwerk Colour Limewash Paint on an imperfect inside Brick Wall
03 Prepare Limewash
  • Thoroughly stir limewash paint and decant into a suitable container or bucket. Ensure no pigment remains in the original container.
  • Continue to stir the paint regularly throughout the painting process.
  • Select the right limewash paintbrush for your surface. Deeper recesses are easier to paint with shorter, stiffer bristles. Flat or moderately undulating surfaces are best painted with our 4x14 limewash block brush.
A Bauwerk Colour Limewash Paint Brush full with paint
04 Limewash Paint Application
  • If painting raw brick, slightly dampen the surface with a mist spray to reduce absorption. Repeat until you can stretch out the paint easily.
  • Dip your Bauwerk natural bristle brush into the paint. Remove excess paint with a flick of the wrist. The brush can hold a lot of paint, but should not be dripping.
  • Start in a corner of the wall–holding the brush at a right angle to the wall. It may be best to hold the brush on the brush body, rather than the handle for more control.
  • Using loose, free strokes stretch the paint as far as possible, varying the direction of strokes constantly. Let the bristles do the work. There is no need to apply too much pressure. To reach deeper recesses make smaller movements, either back and forth or in small circular motions.
Painting Bauwerk Colour Limewash Paint Whitewash over Cinder Block
  • Brush out the paint evenly in a thin coat, preventing runs or drips, while covering every part of the surface in the first coat. Maintain a wet edge at all times to prevent lines in your finished surface*. Finish each coat in one continuous application. Do not try and patch walls once the coat is finished, as missed areas can be covered in the next coat. With large expanses, it helps to work to a natural break in the wall, such as mortar joints.
  • When wet, the colour will appear darker and transparent. Do not compensate for this by applying more paint. As the paint dries, the colour will lighten to the chosen colour and become more opaque.
  • Allow a minimum of 1-2 hours between coats. Apply a second coat (no need to dampen again). Paint the second coat faster, wet-in-wet and a lot looser. Missing spots is okay, as the first coat should have covered everything. Allow the paint to dry.

*White Limewash Paint

If you're painting with our 'whites', maintaining a wet edge is not required. These colours patch easily and are great for spot touchups.

Bauwerk Colour Limewash Paint painted on an external brick wall

Cleanup and Maintenance

  • There is no need for a sealer or additional top coat over the limewash. A third coat of limewash can be applied, based on your colour and coverage preferences.
  • All brushes, tools, and containers wash out quickly with minimal water and without harm to groundwater.
  • Following these steps ensures a natural, dust-free surface with a fantastic texture, making it easy to repaint and maintain.

How to Get the Look: Whitewashed Bricks

One of the benefits of using limewash on brick is that it allows some of the character of the brick to show-through and create dimension instead of a flat monotonous surface. This is perfect when you're dealing with a brick fireplace or an exposed brick wall that is seeking too much attention in its natural red/orange state. The best part is that limewashing allows you to control how rustic and transparent you'd like your finish based on your preference, so you can create a subtle effect or cover it fully. The effect is down to your choice of limewash and the application technique used.

Bauwerk Colour Limewash Paint on Brick

Distressed Application Technique

Have a cotton cloth ready to rub off any excess paint you wish to remove

  1. Prepare the Surface: Clean the surface thoroughly before painting.
  2. Control Absorbency: Brush clean water onto the bricks to reduce absorbency. This controls the transparency of the finish. For highly absorbent bricks or to control transparency further, wet the surface before applying the first coat of limewash. Dip your brush in water occasionally to prevent specific areas from absorbing too much paint.
  3. Prepare the Limewash: Dip the Limewash Brush into the paint (about 1 cm) and shake off excess.
  4. Application Technique: Hold the brush at a right angle to the wall; avoid excessive pressure. Spread the paint in all directions with light and easy strokes, varying direction constantly. Allow the bristles to do the work.
  5. Work Light and Fast: Work quickly, spreading the paint as far as possible. If the bricks are too dry, dampen them again.
  6. Avoid Excess Paint: Be cautious not to deposit too much paint into deeper holes or recesses. If excess occurs, immediately use a cloth to rub off the extra paint.

Brick FAQs
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