Brick homes that are both elegant and charming. Brick is the best external material because of its durability and environmental friendliness. It also attracts a large number of potential customers.
Maintaining the appearance of bricked surfaces might be a challenge, but it isn’t nearly as difficult as maintaining the appearance of timber exteriors. To enhance the appearance of bricks, they need to be protected from the weather. But painting bricks is a costly endeavor. Without appropriately cleaning and maintaining the job, dirt and moisture accumulating on bricks can soon destroy the finished product. Fortunately, there are several low-maintenance and natural alternatives to painting brick.
Learn about the benefits, history, and how-to of whitewash bricks in this article.
The History of Whitewashing
The earliest home paint in history was a type of whitewash, but its origins are murky despite its thousands of years of use. We know it originated in ancient Mesopotamia (between 4000 and 3000 B.C. ), as the famed White Temple was named for the whitewash that covered its interior and exterior.
Additionally, archaeologists discovered that whitewash was used to conceal the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (which stands to reason, considering whitewash paint has antibacterial properties). More iconic structures, such as the Greek Acropolis and the Roman Colosseum, have also been whitewashed.
Whitewashing has endured the test of time because of its functional utility and aesthetic appeal. As such, whitewashing has a long and illustrious history. From Greece to England and the United States, whitewash paint has been used for various purposes.
How to Whitewash Brick
Whitewashing your home’s brickwork is a cost-effective alternative to painting bricks. Even the most expensive, high-quality paint will ultimately chip and peel, but whitewash will not. With minimal care, it will provide a warm, rustic charm to your home for up to thirty years. Whitewash can also be colored to any color you like while maintaining its durability. The ease of application of whitewash is maybe the most significant benefit; you can do it yourself. Here’s how you whitewash brick.
On the other hand, whitewashing reduces the brick’s natural color by applying a translucent layer of white paint over it. Bricks’ natural, random differences are preserved because of the method’s unique application and absorption of paint.
The best place to start is with a fireplace or an old brick wall in your home. There is no limit to the brick. You can work with practice, whether it be indoors or outside.
STEP 1: Clean the brick gently and thoroughly
You won’t get the ideal appearance when you whitewash over dirty brick. Therefore you must first clean your brick and grout. Even though brick doesn’t appear to be a sensitive material, it can be damaged by severe cleaning methods. Before moving on to more aggressive cleaning methods, start with the mildest and work your way up until you find one that effectively removes the dirt and soot.
There are various cleaning methods, from the gentlest to the most abrasive, listed below. Rinse thoroughly with warm water after using the cleaning solution according to the package directions.
To make a loose paste, combine one part mild dish soap with one part salt. You can use a sponge or scrub brush to apply the paste to the brick. After 10 minutes, wash your face with soap and water.
Acidic Boric Acid
To make 1 gallon of warm water, add 1 tablespoon of boric acid powder. Wear rubber gloves while using the scrub brush to clean the brick.
For an all-in-one cleaning solution, combine 1 part ammonia with 2 parts mild dish soap and 1 part pumice powder (available in beauty supply or arts-and-crafts stores). Using rubber gloves, apply the mixture to the surface of the block. Afterward, wash your face with water.
Trisodium phosphate (TSP)
Combine a gallon of boiling water, a 1/2 cup of TSP. The solution can be used to scrub the brick. Scrub again with 1 cup TSP per gallon of hot water if spots persist. It’s best to exercise caution when using this solution, as it contains a lot of abrasives.
STEP 2: Remove any remaining paint
There may be paint residues on your brickwork from the previous painting, causing your whitewashing to crackle. If the paint appears to be decades old, it may be dangerous lead paint that requires professional removal. Then prepare a waste bag to gather the old, dried paint you’re about to peel. Clean the brick gently with a putty knife, wire brush, or paint scraper.
STEP 3: Secure the work area
Tape and cover the surrounding surfaces to keep paint off the whitewashed brick. For brick walls, this includes neighboring drywall and flooring—tape kraft paper around the mantel’s borders to protect the mantel, floor, and any objects. Place drop cloths on the flooring and tape to seal the firebox or fireplace insert area. Close any fireplace doors you have. Whitewashing the brickwork inside the fireplace is not advised.
The importance of painter’s tape cannot be overstated. Whitewashing is simple, but it’s always dirty!
STEP 4: The whitewash
White latex paint and water, mixed to a uniform consistency, will be used as your whitewash. Add extra water to dilute the white paint if you want the brick to be less white as you work.
Try using more paint to water if you want a whiter finish. Test a small hidden area with a whitewash of several different paint-to-water ratios to acquire the desired effect. To better understand how the finished whitewash will look, you may want to wait for the test area to dry before moving on.
Methods of Application
Before painting, dip a brush into thinned paint and scrape off excess on a grate. Initially, whitewash the grout lines. Then make your way up to the brick faces. A two-foot-square patch is excellent since you can quickly clean the bricks with a wadded-up paper towel instead of painting them. Instead of wiping the paint, dab or blot it for a more natural look.
To whitewash the brick, use a water spray bottle full of water. Wipe the wet bricks with a paint-wadded cotton towel. If the mortar is far away from the bricks, dry-brushing can help reach all portions of them. After whitewashing all hand-paintable bricks, dry brush them. Brush in any voids. Spray the area with a lot of water. Blot up the water and paint as needed.
Even if you whitewash brick using a different approach, keep in mind that brick is extremely porous and absorbs the wash. To begin, you may dislike the paint’s opaque appearance. Do not be concerned about this. The paint will seep into the bricks and show through during the next few hours.
Benefits of Whitewashed Bricks
Whitewashing is durable
Due to the elements, even the most expensive traditional paint will eventually peel, chip, and fade. Paint demands periodic maintenance to retain its appearance in good condition. This is not a problem when using whitewash. Whitewash resists peeling and chipping and requires little upkeep. Indeed, it has been known to persist for decades without the need for maintenance.
Your home is more protected with whitewashed bricks
You want to protect your property from bad weather and other risks. While a stone or brick home is undeniably durable, it can be damaged. Moisture may seep into the brickwork or stonework. If it freezes, it will cause cracks in the stone, brick, or mortar. Insects can use these fractures to lay eggs or invade your home. In this case, a bug infestation is possible.
Fortunately, whitewashing your stone or brick may preserve it from severe weather and pests alike. Whitewash does not seal in moisture. Thus cracks are rare. Storms will not harm or wash away whitewash. Whitewash also repels insects, preventing egg-laying and infestation.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to whitewash brick?
A whitewashing project might cost anywhere from $110 to $200 per 250 square feet for the paint, rollers, brushes, and ladders needed to complete a whitewashing process. Per square foot, the cost of this project will be between $0.45 and $0.80.
How long does whitewash on brick typically last?
Whitewashing can endure for up to 30 years if applied correctly, with little to no maintenance required.
How are whitewash and limewash different?
By painting the bricks with a solid thin layer of paint, whitewashing softens their natural appearance. Limewashing likewise requires a thin layer of paint but allows you to simply remove it after five days if you are unhappy with the results.
To learn more about whitewashing brick, call an expert
Compared with painting brickwork, whitewashing brickwork is a more cost-effective choice. Even the most expensive, high-quality paint will ultimately chip and peel, but whitewash will not.
To learn more about how this process works or if it’s suitable for your home, call an expert contractor today! We’re here to answer any questions you may have while ensuring that you get the best results possible with our professional services.