Whitewash Techniques for Walls Whitewash Techniques for Walls

Whitewash for walls can be lime or paint-based, and can be applied to brick, concrete and other wall surfaces. Pigment can be changed by adding colors to the mixture. Each change in the mixture should be tested, however, before applied to a whole wall. Pigments change when they become completely dry; if you do not test the area first you may have unexpected and undesirable results. 

Experiment With The Whitewash Recipe

It is a good idea to experiment with different types of washes and pigments.  Different ways that you apply them can create subtle detail that can make a big difference in your project.  When you are choosing pigment, be sure to let the wash completely dry so that you can see the true color. 48 to 72 hours is generally sufficient drying time for most washes and textures. 

Paint Brush or Sponge?

Experiment with other ways to apply the wash. This can be with sponges, stiff bristle brushes and softer bristles. Old rags can be used as well. Each time you use a different application method, you will notice different results. Try them all and pick a wash finish that will compliment your project. A sponge application generally appears splotchy and less smooth than a paint brush application. Paint rollers are also an option. But do be careful: the lime solution will react differently when rolled on versus painted on. Check first to see if you like the results. The preferable technique is paint brush application.


Cleaning the walls first will help to ensure an even finish.  You might need to use more than one type of cleaner if you have grease as well as dirt.  It is very important to clean well or you will have splotchy areas where there is dirt.  If cleaning concrete walls, use a wire cleaning brush for really tough areas but do not chip away the concrete.


    Thoroughly apply whitewash with a paint brush.  The whitewash will apply better to a moist surface, so wet the walls first and allow it to dry partially before you start.  You will find that more than one application is usually needed.  Apply thin even strokes until you have covered the wall evenly.  By the time that you begin the third coat the brush strokes should no longer be visible.  One tip to remember is that each coat needs to dry thoroughly before you start the next one.  Drying time will vary based on how humid your area is.

    Protect Your Skin

    Lime can eat away at your skin, so it is a good idea to wear gloves and protect your hands. If you are prone to splashing and spilling, wear eye protection as well.  Using drop cloths and taping an area to avoid spills and drips is highly recommended.

    Whitewashing your walls is a great way to bring character to your home.  Once you start the project you might even decide to paint another area and liven up your entire home. Just be sure to be conscious of the different bases you chose, and how they may appear different on different surfaces.

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