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Whitewash Brick: The Pros and Cons painted brick plus the easiest Techniques

Brick decor can be a lovely and natural way to show off your style! With its old-fashioned but timeless presentation, brick can bring a touch of history to your living space. Sometimes brick can seem dated and may need a facelift. Here I’ll share all you need to know about whitewash brick including the pros and cons of painted brick and some of the easiest techniques.

The good news is that there is a way to rejuvenate your space! This is a technique called whitewashing! You cover traditional brick and mortar with a white color scheme.

This doesn’t even have to be a strenuous or expensive process. There’s no need for professionals to perform brick restoration or paint your bricks. All you’ll need is clear mixing glaze and white paint!

If you’ve wanted to try whitewashing bricks yourself, there are a few things you need to know. Before you start the project, there are some tips and techniques that could make steps vary in difficulty.

Certain methods could change depending on your fireplace, mortar, or brick construction. Here is everything you should know about whitewashing bricks and transforming your interior design! 

How Do You Modernize Brick Fireplaces? 

While traditional brick and mortar can bring an old-fashioned flavor to your home, it may not fit with your style. This can be especially true with older fireplaces that clash with modern interior design.

When faced with this common issue, how do you make brick fireplaces modern? 

The answer to this question lies in techniques of whitewashing brick fireplaces Whitewashing will retain the brick while adding a bit of modernization to the room layout.

If you prepare yourself with the proper tools, you can for sure do this by yourself! Before you begin the process, keep track of brick refinishing methods. These are some of the most common ways to modernize your bricks. 

4 Ways to Change Brick Looks 

1. Painted Brick

Whitewashing with paint is one of the simplest ways to add modernization to your bricks. It can be completed by yourself and doesn’t have to be overly expensive. To whitewash with this method, you’ll just need white paint and glaze. 

Pros: Whitewashing with paint is one of the easiest ways to complete the project! 

There are many tutorials available to help you start the project and you don’t need any 

prior experience. It will be inexpensive without the need for a professional. 

Cons: Nobody will be able to tell the difference, but it won’t be a professionally 

completed project. This isn’t to say that it won’t work out, but it definitely won’t be perfect. Even so, If you just want a little extra flavor to your brick design, this will get the job done. 

2. Limewash Brick 

Fun fact: limewash mimics traditional European whitewashing methods before paint was invented. It comes from the mixing of slated lime, tint, and water. This creates a makeshift glaze that will make your bricks look chalky and new. This comes from the minerals that your bricks absorb into the mortar. There are some pros and cons of limewashing brick. 

Pros: This is another whitewashing technique that is easy to do on your own. Some of the materials can be bought at your nearest home improvement store. These can be bought for under $50 and are easy to apply to your brick. 

Cons: Limewash gets more expensive if you need to whitewash a larger area. It works great for fireplaces or kitchens. But, if an entire room is covered in brick, it will requiremore work and money. 

3. Whitewashing Brick 

Whitewash itself is thinned latex paint on parts of a brick’s surface. It’s similar to limewash in the way that the brick absorbs the ingredients. With that said, it doesn’t have the same texture as limewash. 

Pros: It’s very similar to limewash and can be done by yourself. Since it’s just diluted latex paint, you only need the basic supplies. Once you have that, it’s very easy to apply to your brick. Depending on the area, materials can be inexpensive. 

Cons: Whitewash is a little more expensive than some of the other DIY techniques. Since the materials are already prepared, whitewash isn’t cheap when Applying it to a large area. It’s best to use pure whitewash on a singular area like a brick fireplace. 

4. Mortar Wash 

Mortar wash is a similar reference to German Smear (Schmear). It imitates ancient designs of brick and mortar castles and houses in Germany. Combining mortar joints with abnormal stones, the process includes coverage of the brick with watered-down mortar. 

Pros: Mortar wash will make your project look natural and new at the same time. Since it’s designed to resemble traditional castle and cottage structures, it feels especially rustic. 

Cons: Unfortunately, mortar wash is not as easy to complete as a DIY project. Because of the number of materials and experience necessary for the job, it’s best to leave it to a professional. This makes it the most expensive option. If you decide to try it on 

your own, talk to a professional or do a lot of research before starting the project. 

What’s the Difference Between Limewash and Whitewash?

Limewash and whitewash contain different ingredients. Limewash reflects a more traditional style of whitewashing with the ability to make your lime wash mixture. Meanwhile, whitewashing ingredients include diluted latex glue. 

Brick absorbs both of their ingredients, but their designs may differentiate. Since whitewash can cause the brick’s exterior to chip and peel, some might want limewash as a less invasive alternative.

Whitewash can still be a convenient and faster way to whitewash bricks! 

Is Whitewashing bad for a brick?

It’s actually quite the opposite! Whitewashing can protect your brick! It makes the brick durable for bad weather if you want to whitewash your bricks outside.

It also protects it against pests and moisture. This way, you don’t have to worry about your brick’s quality changing overtime or the whitewash wash fading fast. 

Does whitewashing brick last?

Yes! It lasts a very long time – 20-30 years! It requires very little maintenance and you won’t have to worry about the look of your brick for a very long time. You can read more here!

Is whitewashing brick in style?

I’d say yes, it is in style! Whitewashing brick doesn’t take away the entire look of your brick. It mostly dulls the look.

This way it is a bit more muted and can go with the style of your home! The dulled look will also provide more flexibility as styles change throughout time! 

Is whitewashing brick a good idea?

If it is something you are interested in, and it works for your home, I’d say it’s a good idea! It makes it easy for you to style your home, and it even protects the brick and stone for years to come! 

Can you whitewash painted brick?

Yes, you can whitewash painted brick. Just pay extra attention while you are preparing the brick. Clean the brick, and see if there are any damages like cracks or gaps. These can be harder to see if the brick is painted, but important to fix before you get started! 

Can you use this same process when you are whitewashing brick exteriors?

It’s recommended to go with the limewash or painting method if you are going to whitewash exterior bricks! It is possible, and the whitewash will protect the brick from weather conditions! 

How Do You Gray Wash a Brick Fireplace?

Gray washing ( or whitewashing brick with gray paint) can be the perfect chance for your space. To do so, you will first have to whitewash your brick using the painting method. Go through the steps of cleaning, painting, and drying the white paint on your brick. Then, repeat the steps using gray paint!

How To Whitewash Brick With Black Grout

If you have black grout, it may be difficult to get the ideal whitewash look. There is a trick, though. You will have to use the painting method. Before you start whitewashing your brick, paint over the black grout. Get in the divots with a brush so that you can lighten the look of the grout, and it will blend in well with the white-washed brick!

Will Painting Brick Devalue Your Home?

There are a few pros and cons to painting bricks on the outside of your home. The look of painted brick can increase your curb appeal, and white paint can make your house look more modern! However, once you paint the brick, it’s permanent. The paint can chip and it can be harder to clean. Depending on your style, it may be better to whitewash your exterior, so that the originality of the brick can still shine through, it will protect the brick, and it is easy to paint over. 

How to Whitewash a Dated Brick Fireplace

There are a few things you will need to get started on whitewashing your brick. I will show you my favorite method, which is using latex paint! 

  • Latex Paint- White or cream, depending on the look you want 
  • Clear mixing glaze (I recommend Valspar) 
  • 2-inch paintbrush
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Paper towels 
  • Protection for the surrounding area like sheets or a tarp
  • Gloves if you want to protect your hands

Step 1: Figure out the kind of look that you want 

Before you get started, find some inspiration online for what look you want your brick to have (I love Pinterest when I need some inspiration!) Do you want the brick to show through a lot? How white do you want it to be? This will determine the color paint you get, and the type of solution you’ll use. 

Step 2: Prepare your brick 

Dust your brick, and clean it off with a damp cloth. If you are whitewashing exterior brick, you can power wash your brick to get it squeaky clean! This will ensure that your work will stay, and not be compromised by anything left on the brick. 

Step 3: Mix your paint with water

To get the original brick to show through your paint, the trick is to water down your paint. Use a 2:1 of water to paint, until you get a consistency you are satisfied with 

Step 4: Paint the grout

Whether you have black grout or not, painting your grout first will keep a consitsent look throughout your brick! Use a brush to get a full coat on the grout 

Step 5: Paint the brick 

If you are nervous about your paint consistency, do a few tester bricks before you paint all of the brick. Take your brush, and brush the paint onto the brick. Before it dries, take a cloth and blot off the excess paint, so that the brick can shine through. If you like the look of your tested brick, keep up the process until your area is complete

Step 6: Let it dry

And there you have it! You have your white washed brick, let it dry and enjoy your space! 

What is the Best Paint to Whitewash Brick?

If you are using paint to white wash your brick, make sure to use latex paint! Pick a color that works with your space!

How to Remove Whitewash From Brick 

That’s the trick with whitewashing, it’s permanent. If you want to change the look of your brick down the line, you will have to white wash it with a different color, or paint over it! You won’t be able to bring the brick back to its original state, so it’s important to make sure it’s the look that you want! 

Be sure to pin for later!

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Thats it for now!

Let’s chat soon,


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  1. Thank you for this! I’ve been on the fence since we moved to our new (old) home. I’m going to try the limewashing…will let you know!

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