Lime Wash Application over existing paint finish

How to prepare an existing painted surface for painting with lime wash paint

This is one of the most asked questions: it is possible to paint limewash paint over an existing painted surface.

The short answer is YES - with the right preparation you can enjoy a wonderful lime wash finish over gypsum plaster and plaster board surfaces.

We have many great examples of what such a finish looks like when done with the right preparation:

Lime wash over gypsum plaster / board

What is important to know is that for a nice lime wash finish the lime paint requires an evenly absorbing surface with not too much and not too little suction.

Repairs or crack filers can detract from a beautiful lime wash finish if not properly primed / sealer and undercoated. A uniform, evenly absorbing surface is crucial for a consistent finish.

Now, let us begin with the right terminology:

  • primer / sealer: a product with certain properties, ie to isolate and block stains, but in this context to eliminate absorption differences
  • prep-coat: a Bauwerk Colour product with the main functions to provide an evenly white coloured background with the correct level of absorbency for lime wash paint. Usually applied over a primer or unmarked and well adhering older emulsion paint layers

Step 1
stop repairs showing through the limewash finish

We recommend 2 coats of a good quality water based drywall sealer primer.

We don't manufacture such products, but most building merchants carry this as a standard product.

Some of drywall primers come with a tint, some are clear. Colour or not does not matter, the main feature of the primer must be to equalise absorbency to avoid ''ghosting'' of all repaired areas.

Follow the manufacturers recommendations, but apply at least two coats. Allow enough drying time between coats and allow that both coat have fully cured before proceeding with another product.

Please note: a simple ''mist coat'' (a diluted application of a cheap emulsion paint) is not a proper primer. Also avoid solvent based primers.

Step 2
create an even light coloured background with the right absorbency for lime wash paint

Apply 1 coat of BAUWERK PREP COAT on fully cured primers / sealer or older paint layers, avoid applying it when the previous layer is still fresh.

You can apply the prep-coat with a roller.

Best application practice when using a roller:

  • first cut in all corners and internal edges with a smaller brush
  • ensure cutting in is done evenly and will match the thickness of the rolled on part of the wall
  • work away from the light (windows etc)
  • first apply the paint vertically, then go over the same area horizontally without taking more paint

Here is more information:

Bauwerk Colour Prep-Coat Flyer

Link to Bauwerk Colour Prep-Coat Product Page

Do I really need BAUWERK Prep Coat? 

We have especially developed our Prep Coat as a bridge coat between standard paint and primers to make limewash more durable, and easy to apply. BAUWERK Prep Coat is not a primer. It is important to understand that BAUWERK Limewash and Prep Coat have no capacity to mask what is on your wall, it allows all the history and the materials of the wall to come through. A correctly drywall primer however, will ensure that underlying repairs or ghosting is eliminated.

Step 3
application of lime wash paint over previously painted and prepped paint layers

If you have followed Steps 1 and 2 you now have a really easy surface for the following 2 applications with lime wash paint.

Make sure you use a proper lime wash brush, they are made with natural bristles that can hold the paint and release it evenly and without dripping.

There are many possible ways on how to move the brush across the surface to create a variety of lime wash paint finishes.

Take a look at our videos tutorials to get inspired, but feel free to create your own unique expression.

  • make sure you stir your paint very well and regularly.
  • maintain a wet edge if you do not want to see joints
  • paint nice and thin - stretch out the paint. It is better to apply one more coat then one too thickly
  • if you have a very large area get another helper and mix up your positions
  • try to cover absolutely everything in the first coat - the second coat can be applied fast and if you miss a spot it does not matter
  • allow at least 12 hrs between coats, more in cold / damp conditions

Take care of your Bauwerk Lime wash brush, it is a quality tool and will last a long time and for another job if you look after it. See the care institution for brushes in our brush section.

Allow at least 12 hrs between coats, more in cold / damp conditions.

Have fun, share your results if you are proud of your efforts!

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