• Jill Crowe

How I Painted Our Ugly Brick Ranch And Transformed It With Limewash

*Update - We've now painted our second house with lime wash. Read the detailed tutorial here **

Never paint brick.

I remember a neighbor growing up who painted their brick house, and my parents always lamented the color when we drove by.

“You never paint brick…” They would say.

And it’s sort of true. Paint on brick can inhibit its ability to breathe, which exterior brick needs to do.

So for a long time, I too was a “Never paint brick” believer.

And then we bought a 1950s brick ranch… And I HATED the red brick! I also wasn’t crazy about mixed materials on the front – brick and the siding addition. If it were all one color, I felt like it would make the house look cohesive and bigger.

There had to be a product out there that would enable me to get rid of this ugly red brick.

And sure enough, after a quick Google search, I came across Romabio limewash.

Romabio has cracked the case on painted brick. Their limewash formula adheres to the brick while still allowing it to breathe.

In fact, this is the same limewashing formula they use in Europe to achieve those beautifully chippy countryside homes. I ended up limewashing our brick ranch with Avorio White, and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY.

But since then, we’ve recently moved into a new brick home and its backyard sun porch remains untouched. The red brick and the red floor was all just too much red to me. And let’s face it, painting the brick is a lot cheaper than installing new flooring.

So today, I’m going to talk about our new house and the sun porch that I painted.

Our first showing of the house.

For those of you who have an interior brick wall or even a fireplace, you may be considering painting it. I’m going to show you how to use this product, what it looks like going on, and what you can expect from it.

Choosing Your Limewash Color For Your Brick

For this house, I wanted a color that would be a creamier white so that our trim would still pop. I looked at Romabio’s Instagram account and their photo tags to see if there was something that would fit the bill.

That’s when I came across their color Cristallo White. It fit the creamy white description I wanted. I only ordered a quart of it from Home Depot since this room only has one large brick wall. It took a few days to arrive.

For those of you debating, Avorio White on our old house was also a creamier white but it was slightly brighter. Our white trim sort of got lost in it.

How to Use Romabio Limewash

For the quart size, you’ll need to mix their product in a large bucket with about 1/2-3/4 of a quart of water. That’s about 16 oz. I filled up an old 20 oz. Gatorade bottle and poured almost all of it into there. This part is key. Be sure not to over-dilute it or else you’ll need to apply several coats to get a more opaque look. Then again, if you’re wanting a limewashed, transparent look, maybe test out the consistency with a little bit of paint and water first.

I attached a paddle to our drill to make this part easier, but you can also stir it with a paint stirrer.

What Tools Do You Need to Limewash Brick

Left to Right – Romabio quart, drill with paint mixer attachment, and my bucket for the paint. Not pictured – a bucket of water, my sponge, and the Romabio paint brush

When I painted our former house, I bought Romabio’s masonry brush, and it helped tremendously. The bristles are long and soft, so they reach into all the nooks and crannies that brick has. You can also use a sprayer, which I’m tempted to do if we paint the exterior of this house.

You’ll also want a spray bottle of clean water on hand, which I didn’t have that day. Instead, I used a bucket of water and a large sponge we bought for grouting tile. You’ll need to wet your brick before you apply the limewash. It should be damp but not soaking wet. If you’re painting an exterior, you can use your hose to wet the brick.

How to Apply Limewash to Brick

Limewash is a lot runnier than traditional paint. Afterall, you just mixed water into it, so expect more drips than usual. I used a drop cloth beneath me for the interior brick, and if you’re painting your exterior, it’s a good idea to cover your shrubs.

Go ahead and tape off your trim, windows, and baseboards too.

To apply the limewash, simply dip your masonry brush into the bucket of limewash and tap off any excess.

While I’m not sure what Romabio or the professionals do, I apply mine in both a vertical and horizontal swipe because brick – and especially grout – has a lot of crevices. You’re going to work it into the brick.

Left – Drying Right – Newly applied, wet. You can see the color difference once it dries

When I feel like an area is reaching the level of coating I want, I do one last swipe horizontally so that the entire brick is covered in a consistent way.

How to Get the Limewashed Look of Aged Brick

Limewash can be easily removed to achieve a more weathered look. With your spray bottle, you can spray and remove as much of it as you’d like. While I didn’t do that, it’s nice to know that that’s an option – especially if you’re testing colors or having brick painters remorse!

Painting in progress shot. This is what it looks like wet.

I will say, when I was painting this room, I thought I was doing a pretty good job of covering it almost completely. But the next morning when I let it all completely dry, it looked a lot more aged, spotty and “chippy.” I may go back and do a second coat (my old house also took two coats to achieve the look I wanted).

I may look into Romabio’s “Masonry Flat” colors since I’m not really going for a weathered look. But, it’s nice to have the option of going solid or chippy with the limewash.

Ta da! Here’s my after. I may still go back for another coat, but while I wait for another quart to get here, I think I’ll enjoy this more weathered look!

Brick sun porch painted with Romabio limewash

It looks a lot whiter here than it really is

What do you think? Are you debating painting your brick too?

#canyoupaintbrick #romabio #howtopickalimewashcolor #howtolimewashyourhouse #limewash #cristallowhite

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