How to Lime Wash – Make Your Own Lime Wash

How to Limewash - Limewashed Wall..Neat eh?If the smell of commercial paint gives you a headache & or the prices in the paint stores just make you feel ill & why not make your own paint? It’s surprisingly easy and effective, and you can save cash as well as the environment by cutting back on the use of petrochemicals. Lime wash paint doesn’t smell, and like more expensive paint, you can clean up with plain water. How to lime wash properly requires gloves and goggles and possible a mask when mixing the lime.

How to Lime Wash – Historical Perspective

Historically, lime wash was used to protect and decorate the exterior and interior of buildings. Today, lime washes are used in the restoration of historical buildings and structures, as well as, in decorative finishes.

Limewash is a traditional material that has been used for thousands of years. Unlike modern paints, which lay on the surface of the substrate, limewash instead acts like a stain by penetrating deep into the pores of the substrate. This process creates a peel-free surface that allows the substrate to breathe, and the limewash remains vapor permeable after it cures. It is a beautiful, traditional material that mellows gradually while it wears away, and over time it develops the weathered patina that characterizes the Old-World charm of Europe.

How to Lime Wash – Uses

It is non-toxic, environmentally friendly, and contains all-natural ingredients. Limewash also has hygienic properties and acts a mild fungicide due to its high PH, which is why limewash was traditionally used in hospitals and sick wards. Limewash is also suitable for buildings that may be exposed to graffiti; because the limewash absorbs into the masonry, it prevents the pores from absorbing stubborn paint stains. .

To get started you just need hydrated lime from your hardware store. All you have to do is mix it with water to get a cheap and attractive wall covering. Lime wash paint is perfect for exterior and interior paint work.

The refractive nature of lime wash paint means it will reflect heat away but not light. In fact it intensifies light which is why it is often seen in Mediterranean countries. It’s suitable for unpainted wood, plaster, and masonry, not for drywall, though, due to its non-porous qualities. It can be applied to unpainted porous surfaces, such as the walls of your new mud brick or adobe house. The best thing about lime wash is, when it starts to look grubby, you can just apply another coat.

How to Lime Wash – How to

Wear gloves, goggles and a mask as hydrated lime is quit caustic. You don’t need to measure your ratio of hydrated lime to water, but you do need to watch the consistency. When it is the consistency of thick cream, you have added enough water. You can make as much or as little as you need, in a plastic bucket that has a lid, or in an empty ice cream container for small jobs.

Make sure the mixture is lump free and don’t use it right away. Cover and leave for a few days and then add more water until it has the consistency of milk. There still may be some lumps that won’t dissolve so it is wise to strain the paint through a fine strainer or muslin. Discard the lumps. Your paint is ready to use.

As it is, this paint is perfect for outdoor use. Don’t try to wash it when it becomes grubby, just slap on another coat. You can use lime wash paint on fences and other outdoor woodwork, sheds, exterior house walls and stone.

How to Lime Wash – Indoor Use

If you want to use it indoors, or on surfaces you want to wash, you will need to add a binding agent. You can buy a product called Bondcreteu™, which is added to your lime wash to make it washable and longer lasting. You won’t need much of the binding agent to turn your lime wash into a durable indoor paint.

You may want to color your paint, although the white dries to a great finish that looks good anywhere. You can use natural earth dyes, such as red and gray clay, or natural plant dyes, such as the juice from mulberries and beets. If you don’t want to go to these lengths, the tubes of acrylic paints used by artists and crafters will add color to your paint. Just squeeze in as much as you need to tint the paint to the desired color.

You can also raid the spice cupboard for color & spices such as tumeric and saffron give a lovely spicy fragrance as well as golden hues. Imagine the exterior of your house having an aroma of cinnamon or nutmeg?

As for those old lime wash blues & crafter’s paint or food dye is the way to go for cook sun washed colors that look wonderful on house exteriors.

How to Lime Wash, How to Lime Wash Guide, How to Lime Wash Properly

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