What is limewash?

Ted Slater
February 20, 2024

Limewash is an aged mixture of salt, hydrated (also called slaked) lime, mineral based pigments and water. It can be applied to a variety of porous surfaces like brick, stucco, and raw wood. Today, it is most commonly applied in a white shade to brick homes to create a distressed, old-world appearance.

Limewash is anti-microbial and anti-fungal and can be tinted any colors (though whites and off-whites are the most popular). While painted brick deteriorates over time since moisture trapped in the brick cannot escape, limewashed brick will be able to breathe and stay strong. Breathing is the natural process of moisture entering and escaping porous substances like brick

Limewash has also been developed into an interior paint for walls and ceilings called limewash paint or just lime paint. These paints are colored with natural pigments; from bold colors to earthy neutrals, each color has a lot of character. Lime paint has a suede finish with natural color variation to give your space depth and movement.

Unlike regular, latex-based paints, limewash and lime paints are completely VOC free. Limewash is often shipped in the form of a lime putty, which makes it easy to ship large quantities. Then you can dilute the putty to make your lime wash. Lime paint is typically shipped ready-to-use in cans just like latex paint.

In these images, you see limewash on the brick homes and lime paint in the interior shots.

If you want more information about lime paint, take a look at some of the questions below for quick answers or to be directed to our other articles!

How does limewash compare to whitewash?

Limewash is a finish designed for raw wood or unsealed masonry and has been around for centuries. While a simple limewash just consists of water, salt, and hydrated lime, a more complex version is an aged lime putty mixed with natural pigments that the user dilutes with water to create a usable wash. As it dries, it can be distressed by spraying on water to remove some of the finish.

Whitewash is a finishing technique for raw wood, masonry, and even previously painted surfaces. The user chooses a white or off-white paint color and dilutes it with water. Especially when used on brick, the user can remove excess paint with a rag to allow some of the natural brick to show through.

What is the difference between lime paint and lime wash?

Lime paint is typically designed for interior use and will come in a can just like any other interior latex paint. Lime wash is an exterior product that comes concentrated in a paste form.

While the formulation is similar, there are some differences that make each suitable for different applications.

Do you have a review of Romabio?
Yes! You can read about my experience with Romabio here.

I have a lot of questions about limewash paint.

Here are some FAQs. Click to be rerouted to our FAQ article!

I'm interested in buying lime paint for my house. Can I get information about colors and brands?

Our Guide to Lime Paint starts with a bit of history and goes into a discussion of colors and brand reviews! Here’s a excerpt for you:

Most lime paints are colored with mineral pigments. This gives the colors a lot of character. An airy blue feels like clouds. An olive green brings your space the same life rushing through forests. Earthy reds ground the space and bring an atmosphere of peace.

You’ll find at least one shade of lime paint for every color in the rainbow, plus paints in off-whites, browns, and greys. Lime paint manufacturers focus on creating a limited number of truly beautiful shades, each shade containing a symphony of color. I think this makes finding a paint color easier than if I went to a Home Depot to see thousands of color cards, one hardly distinguishable from another.

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