Lime wash vs Mortar wash (german schmear), experience anyone?

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Lime wash vs Mortar wash (german schmear), experience anyone?

Post by Hulk » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:26 am

Dear wise bogleheads,

We are considering updating our home a bit and a high priority for my wife :annoyed is to "paint the brick." Im not in love with the idea but I can tolerate it since she wants to. Fine. But the more I read, I am learning you should never paint brick because then it is no longer breathable and will trap moisture, and will now need to be repainted every 5 years or so.

But, lime wash vs mortar wash seems reasonable. Does anyone have any experience with this or advice? I would love your stories, both great experiences and horrible ones.


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Re: Lime wash vs Mortar wash (german schmear), experience anyone?

Post by dunkmachine » Sun Sep 02, 2018 3:21 pm

I had the same concern about painting brick. Although I don't have experience with lime washing or German smear (other than what they showed on Fixer Upper), I would add another option: staining. It is tedious and time consuming to be sure. You're staining one brick at a time (i.e. painting). I just completed my one story, ranch style home in July after starting it last spring. I did stop during last fall and through winter after having our first child and because of the cold temperatures.

I bought stain from website. You can buy samples of different stain types and colors. It can be a pain to clean them off the brick, but with a stiff bristle brush and paint stripper it can be done with some effort.

You'll definitely get some attention from passersby. If you don't mind the monotony (I found it to be relaxing), it's a cheap and permanent solution.

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Re: Lime wash vs Mortar wash (german schmear), experience anyone?

Post by Rupert » Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:06 pm

I don't know much about lime wash, but I know two things about mortar wash: (1) a poor brick mason will really screw it up and (2) a good brick mason will charge you a fortune for it. Under no circumstances should you paint the brick. Personally, I would leave the brick alone and spend the money on other aspects of the project -- perhaps on landscaping so your wife doesn't focus on the brick so much?

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