Whitewash vs. Limewash – What’s the Difference?
You may have questions regarding whitewash versus limewash if you consider updating the brick on your home’s façade or fireplace or simply seeking the perfect paint color. There is a difference between the two concepts despite their frequent conflation in common usage. When comparing whitewashing and limewashing, what are the key differences? Is there a clear winner between the two for the future painting job?
Whether you’re trying to decide between whitewash and limewash or want a better understanding of the two, Colorworks Painting & Designs in Charleston SC is here to help.
What is Whitewashing?
The process of whitewashing requires the use of paint that is water-soluble and is applied using this method—applying a giant, soft paintbrush in thin layers to dull the natural hues of brick, wood, or other surfaces, resulting in a rustic or aged appearance. If the painter wants to expose some of the brick or wood beneath the whitewash, they can use a damp rag to wipe away paint sections.
While there are several tints of limewash, whitewashing is always pure white. Aside from these, whitewashing also has these characteristics:
- Dries quickly
- It’s simple to use
- Coats and smooths uneven surfaces
- Add a satin polyurethane or water-based matte sealer to the whitewash to increase its durability
- If appropriately performed, whitewashing can endure between 20 and 30 years with minimal upkeep
- Ideal for use on raw, unpainted wood; any existing finish must be removed before application
What is Limewash?
Limewash is putty prepared from crushed, burned limestone mixed with water. Water is added to old putty to create a paint with a mottled, matte appearance and a chalky texture. Limewash can be found in its original white color, which results from limestone being left uncolored, or in grey, brown, and taupe tones that are achieved by mixing in natural colors.
Some features of limewash are:
- Suitable for use indoors and outdoors
- Resistance to odor, dampness, fungi and insects
- High pH, so it doesn’t cause allergies
- It’s easy to take off up to five days after painting
- It’s great for surfaces like stone, brick, and plaster with pores
- Can be used on drywall if a mineral-based primer is used first
- If done correctly, it shouldn’t peel, flake, or chip for at least five years and maybe longer
- More complex appearance than the whitewash
Use a masonry paintbrush to apply limewash in feathery strokes and as many thin coatings as necessary (at least three). It’s a good idea to test colors because the limewash will lighten significantly as it dries. Natural paints come with an element of surprise due to the inherent uncertainty that comes with the myriad of variances seen in nature. When using limewash, you won’t get the same color or texture as you would with store-bought paint.
Considering All Your Alternatives for Creating a Weathered, Vintage Appearance?
German smear, also known as a mortar wash, is another choice that can help us accomplish your home painting services accordingly. White mortar is smeared over brick or another surface to achieve this aged look. You can trust the professionals at Colorworks Painting & Designs in Charleston SC, to complete your painting project successfully, no matter if you opt for whitewash, limewash, or the German smear. We can make your ideas a reality because of our expertise, equipment, and top-notch paint materials. We can help you with all of your home painting services and remodeling projects. For a free price quote on our services, please contact (843) 683-0780 or fill out our online form.