Hi All! I have a super simple and cheap DIY to share with you! If you go back through my blog posts, about 4 years ago I lime washed the exterior of our brick ranch style house in Colorado. Back when I tackled that project, there was next to no information online about how to do it. I was searching and only finding tutorials on lime washing headstones at ancient graveyards. Then fate intervened! A new lady at church and I got to chatting and she told me how she lime washed her brick house! That’s all I needed. One person who successfully lime washed on brick!
Fast forward many years later, we now live in Tennessee and happen to have a VERY tall brick house! Unlike Colorado, our brick here is gorgeous. It’s super distressed and has many different colors woven together. I’ve been on the fence about lime washing it. While I think brightening it up would look amazing, I wasn’t sure. We happen to have the same exterior brick inside on our fireplace. The other day I saw a lady on Instagram use that fancy lime wash paint to brighten up the grout lines on her fireplace. That’s when ideas started sparking! I didn’t need to cover up the beautiful brick, but that icky brown grout has got to go!
You guys know by now that I’m CHEAP. I lime washed our ENTIRE house in Colorado for about $20. So there’s no way in the world I’m spending over $30 for one quart of pre mix lime wash. And guess what?! You don’t need to spend that much either! All you need is Hydrated Type S Lime and water. If you want to color your lime wash a bit, you can dye your water using coffee grounds or tea leaves prior to mixing in the lime! Ideally, you want to add enough water so it’s the consistency of thin pancake batter. By the way, this bag cost me $6 and I used about 1/2 cup out of it!
Can you believe the difference it makes? Lime wash is such a great alternative to paint. It works on all porous materials and allows the material to breath underneath. It won’t peel or flake off. The one caution is, it turns semi transparent when wet. Once it dries, it will be opaque again.
I used a small brush to paint the lime wash on the grout lines. It only needed one coat. At first it looks like skim milk! Not bright at all. As it dries it turns brighter and brighter. I also used a small stiff bristled brush to distress the bricks in areas where the lime wash got too thick. That’s the other AWESOME thing about lime wash. You can take as much off as you want! On our house in Colorado, I used a wire wheel attached to a drill to almost completely remove the lime wash on bricks as I went. The final look was beautiful!
We are a little unsure if we will lime wash the grout on the outside yet. We really love this look, it made a HUGE impact but our house is also huge. It would be a massive undertaking to lime wash all those grout lines!
The first thing we plan on doing to the exterior is adding wood shutters and a new front door. I also bought big exterior lantern lights last summer which we have never installed. So that will be a quick spruce up. Prior to us living here, this house was neglected for a long time. We have completely renovated the interior, but the exterior hasn’t gotten much love yet.
Once I was done with the grout, I realized that we need to do some work above the mantle area. I’ve convinced Curt to build me a little “tv box” with hinged bifold shutters. We can close it up and will look like a pretty cabinet when we aren’t watching TV.
Let me know if you have any lime washing questions. I would be happy to help however I can!
2 thoughts on “Lime Washing Grout!”
I think this is just what we need to update our fireplace without completely whitewashing the bricks! Did you do something to the bricks themselves though? They appear brighter, almost a different color in the after photos? And if I understand correctly, all you did was make a pancake thin ‘batter’ of lime and water, then painted this on the grout? Did you apply just one coat? Did you wipe anything off (as one does when using a whitewash paint) or did you just paint it on and let dry? You mentioned using a wire brush to remove excess off bricks…was this just in places where you were a little heavy handed in the grout lines? Any additional tips would be appreciated, thank you!!
I didn’t do anything to the bricks! The bricks already had a lot of varied colors in them, with the lighter grout they pop more. The wire brush is to lighten the line wash where it got too thick. It gives more of a distressed look but isn’t necessary if you like the opaque look of the straight limewash. I applied two very thin coats.