How Is Brick Whitewashed?

To whitewash brick, either a white latex paint and water mixture or lime and salt mixture, a paintbrush and a rag to wipe drips are needed. Complete with painting and dabbing, expect the process to take a bit longer than it would take to paint the same area.

Whitewashing brick is a relatively simple and cheap process. Be sure to apply painter's tape to any exposed areas that are not to be painted, and put down a drop cloth on the floor where the painting takes place, if indoors.

  1. Create the whitewash
  2. Dilute the white paint by adding about one part water to four parts paint into a mixing cup. The texture should be runny, but still thicker than water. If needed, add more water or paint to the mix. If using lime and salt, mix five parts lime to one part salt and add water to make it into a pancake batter consistency.

  3. Prepare the brick
  4. Scrub the brick with a wire brush to remove any dirt or any chipped masonry.

  5. Apply the whitewash to a sample
  6. Apply the whitewash to a few bricks by using quick, rough strokes on the brick faces with a saturated brush. Wipe any drips and dab over the paint to prevent excess spilling. Do not be alarmed if the color appears more opaque than desired. The brick will absorb some of the whitewash.

  7. Allow the sample to dry
  8. Wait for a few hours, or overnight. This will allow time to see whether the whitewash dries to a desired finish. Be sure to tightly wrap the whitewash container with a plastic wrap and a rubber band while waiting.

  9. Modify wash if needed and continue
  10. If the results are good, continue whitewashing. If the results are not as desired, either add water to make the wash thinner or add paint or lime to make it more opaque. If it was too opaque, briefly sand the painted bricks to remove some of the paint. Repeat the last step to make sure the new mixture is correct for the application. When satisfied, paint the rest of the bricks.

An alternative to the watered-down paint and lime methods is using a latex stain. Although this will be watered down as well, the stain will need to be wiped off, unlike the paint.