I have a new respect for painters. Over the past three days I’ve put in about 14 hours painting and after every session I’m beat! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that it’s between 90 and 100 degrees out. Whatever, the house exterior is getting painted!
A while ago I posted about trying to make a decision on the color for the house exterior. Well, we didn’t end up going with any of those colors. We decided to use a lime wash instead of latex paint and chose what I call a light ochre color. Lime wash is a mixture of slaked lime, water and pigment. What’s so special about lime wash?? It supposedly produces a unique surface glow due to the refraction of calcite crystals. There is a chemical reaction that occurs with the lime which causes the finish to weather and develop a mottled appearance over time.
When using a lime wash you have to consider the substrate. In fact, we had to have our house sandblasted to take off the old latex paint (lime wash won’t adhere to old paint) and then re-stucco the house. Yes, we are in love with lime wash.
Trying to find the slaked lime wasn’t super easy. I ended up ordering it from an architectural restoration company that uses slaked lime from a supplier called Mike Wye in the U.K. I also ordered the pigment from them. It was a tough decision because I just chose a color off a chart online. I ended up going with the Ochre but I’m using it at half strength which is still pretty bright. It should fade with time though. Whatever, we like it.
So the process went like this. First you open up the slaked lime which is like a putty covered in water. You scoop that into a bucket and mix with equal parts water or until it’s the consistency of whole milk. Then you add the pigment and voila, lime wash!
It needs to be applied with a special lime brush that I was only able to find online. They’re very common in Italy because many of the buildings are painted with lime wash. In Italian it’s called a pennellessa. Not so common in Florida however. When actually applying the lime wash you should use irregular strokes in a v or w shape and overlap the wet edges. This technique is helpful in achieving the mottled effect.
It’s a little scary when you first apply the color because the color is at least three times as intense wet than when it dries.
In fact, Fabio was pretty alarmed when he first saw the color and was about to ditch the effort until I worked out another color. Thankfully it dried to a more subtle shade.
Just to remind you of what we were dealing with initially.
Little coral house (notice the great roof, lol)…